The ingredients of a great magic trick are those that are not tasted but felt. The mechanics of a mind-bending show tick away under the covers of darkness, while the magician and their antics provide the facade.
Well, order management systems operate like the hidden mechanics of a magic show, while the face of the show acts through the storefront and aisles (whether that be the brick-and-mortar store or the digital store) – where you find the sparkle, the character, the image.
Order management systems are separate to ecommerce platforms, but they must talk to each other in order to form a healthy relationship. Some ecommerce platforms actually have their own order management system, such as Shopify and Magento.
Other ecommerce platforms don’t, yet provide extensions or cartridges to enable third-party solutions. Take Salesforce Commerce Cloud, for example. Salesforce did have their own in-house order management system but it wasn’t integrated with Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Rather, customers were given, instead, the option to integrate or choose from a broad range of third-party solutions (Salesforce cartridges) to use with their Commerce Cloud operations.
That is… until recently.
Last year Salesforce started to promote their very own order management system that packaged together integrations that were previously missing, while also competing with other ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento that had this feature – however in reality, baking an OMS into the same platform has the effect of constraining the platform in what it can do. Particularly when it’s a small platform. This is precisely the reason why Salesforce separated the product, so that each platform has the space to scale and growth.
But there’s something broader at play here, as to why Salesforce decided to buy and manage their own order management system. And to understand the reasons why, we need to rewind to the beginning.
Think of the relationship between a physical store and the warehouse. The store is the showpiece that demonstrates the products to consumers; the warehouse manages the whole stock of products that you have – separate entities that need to communicate with one another.
An order management system handles orders in the back-end, in the fulfilment systems of a company, particularly when a company needs to run a more complex process. If you operate a small shop based out of your home selling on Facebook Shops, and sell 20 products a week, then carrying out order shipments are quite simple: the customer tells you their address, you package the product, and send them out.
When you’re an international brand that sells 100 different products in 50 countries, you’re going to need a complex system to manage orders, which can allow you to differentiate between shipment providers, for example, or allow customers better visibility as to the status of their order. In the past, this translated into bigger cost and less control for Salesforce, because it used to send everything to another system, a third-party solution available as cartridges (Salesforce-speak for integrations) or apps.
(Logistically, it makes sense to separate an order management system from an ecommerce platform. As a company grows, so does your customer base, so does your complexity, and so does your solutions. So you then begin to separate out particular blocks of the business in terms of their function.)
To recuperate this loss of control and extra expense, and extend their personalization capabilities, Salesforce is now competing in the OMS space by providing its very own solution. So that customers of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, whether it be Salesforce B2C Commerce or B2B Commerce, can now choose an in-house solution.
Foundations of the Salesforce order management system
The Salesforce order management system is actually based on a previous order management system called Mainstreet Commerce, which was acquired by Salesforce (or as it was called back then, Demandware) back in 2014.
Speaking at the time, the then CEO of Demandware, Tom Ebling stated: “This acquisition further extends our leadership in delivering omnichannel consumer experiences that retailers and consumers demand… Fulfill anywhere capabilities are critical for managing the entire order lifecycle and delivering an omni-channel consumer experience. By combining our two solutions, retailers will be able to get these capabilities from a single vendor in the cloud.”
Interesting fact: years ago we worked on projects for clients that were based on Mainstreet Commerce, and we know that it’s a platform that many of our customers already understand the ins and outs of it already.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud and the order management system
Hosting your ecommerce shop on SFCC means that you have everything in the same place. There is no need to go cloud hopping or jump screens to get a unified view of customers, to manage orders, and track the general development of your brand’s digital environment. Everything is in the same place. It saves time. Is more centralized. And more efficient.
Making use of the in-house order management system has another advantage when it comes to development. With your experienced Salesforce developers already knowing the platform intimately, it gives them greater control and creativity to customize and tailor the order management system to your brand’s image and ideals.
And how exactly do Salesforce Commerce Cloud customers start using the Salesforce order management system? There is an automated integration between the commerce platform and the order management system – it’s simply a question of requesting the integration and the Salesforce support team carries it out for you.
This itself is a major advantage. The reason being that with other integrations, your team has to carry out their own integration manually between the order management system and the ecommerce platforms.
Right now is a particularly good time to get on board with Salesforce’s order management system because they’re seeming to present the product as an introductory offer.
The price for an order management system that offers a unified view of customers, API enabled, pre-integrated into Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud, and pre-build order workflows is currently set at 50 cents per order.
If you already have a presence in the Salesforce environment then merging the different Salesforce clouds that operate separately and independently will provide you with a holistic, centralized vision of your customers, as well as ease of customization across multiple platforms, including the mechanics of the order management system.
PS: UV is one of the world’s leading Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud (Demandware) development & strategy teams. Contact us to see how we can work together.