Your Guide to Commerce in the Cloud


How to Evaluate Cloud Commerce Solutions to Build Seamless, Personalized Shopping Experiences


Without a doubt, cloud adoption is increasing dramatically.”


Cloud is the new normal.

Retailers of all sizes are rapidly deploying cloud-based technology to transform their commerce solutions, close the innovation gap, and keep up with rising consumer expectations.

Today, the question for retailers has shifted from “should we adopt the cloud?” to “what type of cloud is best for our business?” While straightforward on the surface, the marketplace is full of technology providers who refer to their solution as cloud-based.

However, with many types of solutions available, and some vendors offering immature SaaS offerings that cannot scale for growth, the cloud commerce landscape can be difficult to navigate.

For retailers of all sizes, choosing the right cloud model is essential to effectively deliver personalized, intelligent, and engaging digital shopping experiences. In this guide, we’ll discuss the key business drivers for deploying cloud-based solutions and highlight why only a multi-tenant cloud platform for innovation provides retailers with a scalable, trusted infrastructure that is always on, always secure, and always fast — while delivering a steady stream of improvements necessary to stay competitive and grow.


Key business drivers for deploying cloud solutions.

Brands look to ecommerce teams to create, orchestrate, and deliver digital experiences across web, mobile, social, and even in-store. These experiences must exceed consumer expectations and crush sales targets. To drive their organizations forward, retail CIOs and ecommerce leaders need solutions that satisfy key business drivers:




Growth is the primary goal for brands. It is impossible to grow without an infrastructure that can handle high traffic, increases in transaction volumes, large product assortments, and flash sales. The scalability that retailers need today will not be the same as what is needed next year or five years from now. As brands grow, cloud platforms need to keep up.

Branded Innovation

Consumers today compare every shopping experience with top ecommerce sites and marketplace vendors. To keep pace and meet shopper expectations, retailers must bring to market differentiated brand experiences, both organically and by tapping into partners. Successful brands are constantly evolving to stay ahead of the pack, pushing boundaries and testing limits. When building unique online shopping experiences, these retail trailblazers require a cloud that promotes, rather than stifles, innovation.

Time to Value

Every delay in the launch of a new site, project, or feature equates to a potential loss in revenue and customer satisfaction. Retail brands simply don’t have the time to wait to get to market. Also, as we live in a borderless world, brands have tremendous opportunities beyond traditional borders. A cloud solution that can accelerate time to value across all unified, global commerce channels is critical to a brand’s success.

Site Speed

Speed is essential to providing a great shopping experience, especially on mobile. Consumers use mobile devices more than ever, but if pages don’t load quickly, shopper will bounce. Additionally, search engines factor load speed into ranking, pushing lower speed sites further down the page. The end result – if page speed is slow, brands may jeopardize potential sales.

Unified Shopping Experiences

Shoppers expect a seamless experience across the entire shopping journey, including marketing, commerce, and service. As shoppers engage with brands in many different ways, in many cases, the technology supporting the different channels of online, mobile, order management, and in store operate in silos. The result? Multiple systems with inflexible and brittle back-end integrations that retailers can’t customize, or worse, multiple sources of truth. Retailers must look for a cloud provider that delivers a shared view of customers, orders, products, and behaviors to provide a single view of the customer

Get buy-in on a cloud-based solution.

Check out these eight tips to talk to your CIO about implementing could-based solutions at your company. 

All clouds are not created equal

Choosing the right cloud architecture can be complex and confusing. Brands need to understand how to evaluate the merits and drawbacks of many different types of cloud solutions to ensure they invest in a model that can support business objectives and goals for growth and innovation.



Single-Tenant Licensed Cloud

In a single-tenant cloud model, an application is deployed across a number of customers on a subscription basis. These licensed cloud solutions typically limit customization; thus, retailers end up delivering cookie-cutter experiences. Since customers merely host their architecture in the cloud, scalability is non-existent and the single-tenant model becomes a shell game of buying more capacity, which can quickly become expensive. In addition, single-tenant architectures require each customer to maintain a unique software code base that results not only in higher support costs but makes implementation and upgrades difficult and expensive to deploy.

Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Running licensed commerce software with a managed service provider (MSP) introduces many of the same challenges of a single-tenant licensed cloud. Releases are limited to what version is currently supported and solving for scalability concerns is done by throwing more hardware and bandwidth at the problem. With the MSP model, customers still have their own instance, but are relieved from setting-up, and managing the environment themselves. Of all cloud models, MSPs are the most expensive due to the high cost of services and customization.

Homegrown/DIY Cloud

Retailers without a comprehensive cloud strategy across their entire business often struggle with a cluster of different applications that don’t work together — a monster called “FrankenCloud.” On the surface, bringing in a diverse set of cloud solutions appears to offer more control, but as companies look to innovate and scale the platform, a homegrown cloud solution becomes difficult to extend and expensive to maintain. These homegrown solutions are so layered with customization and bolted-on solutions that it begins to feel more like supporting a house of cards.

Multi-Tenant Cloud Platform

In a multi-tenant cloud platform for innovation, all users share a centrally maintained, scalable, and reliable infrastructure with a single code base. And because each customer is on the same version of the infrastructure, benefits include more stable software, fewer bug fixes, and less disruption to service operations. Designed specifically for growth, scale is at the heart of this model. Continuous innovation, in the form of new features delivered seamlessly and predictably throughout the year, enables retailers to accelerate growth, take advantage of industry leading commerce capabilities, and keep-up with the pace of change in the retail environment.

Here are key differences between types of cloud solutions.


Commerce Cloud is a mult-tenant cloud platform for innovation.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a multi-tenant cloud platform for innovation, comprised of a set of capabilities that help brands drive core business needs such as growth, branded innovation, time to value, speed, and a unified shopping experience. 



Trusted Platform

Imagine how much your business could grow on a platform that is always on, always secure, and always fast. The Commerce Cloud infrastructure is built with a grid computing architecture, designed by retail experts, and comprised of best-in-class network, storage, security, and management components. The platform provides scalable database and memory allocation, caching, computing power, network bandwidth, and load-balancing uniquely designed for the scalability and performance requirements of an ecommerce business.

Commerce Cloud automatically scales and provides resources for retailers to grow based on shopper demand, not platform limitations or volume fluctuations. Gone are the days of having to estimate peak traffic and worrying about exceeding it. Brands are empowered to build pages that load with lightning speed, sites that withstand surges in traffic, and checkout experiences that are safe and secure with every transaction.

Maintaining a trusted platform also comes down to protecting the security and privacy of customer and cardholder data. Commerce Cloud complies with the most challenging industry and regulatory standards and applies security best practices at all levels of the organization — including people, technology, and operations. With trust as priority number one, Commerce Cloud is continuously implementing robust security controls to ensure that commerce operations remain reliable, compliant, and secure.




Commerce Cloud continues to deliver proven reliability since 2005 as it expands in size, variety, and geography.


The scalability of Commerce Cloud multi-tenant cloud platform is never more evident than during the holiday shopping season. In 2017 the Commerce Cloud platform saw a 40% increase in traffic on Black Friday compared to the previous year. Additionally the platform saw a 50% increase in total orders and 60% increase in total requests across 540 million unique site visitors. This has led to impressive customer accomplishments with leading merchants seeing metrics of 4,000 page views per second, and 580,000 orders per day.

A Leader in Security and Compliance

Brands can protect their business, and increase peace of mind by taking advantage of the Commerce

Cloud leadership in secure commerce operations. Commerce Cloud satisfies the security and compliance requirements of the world’s most complex retail organizations, and all customers take advantage of these robust security controls:

  • Industry and regulatory compliance across PCI-DSS, SOC2, ISO 27001, CSA STAR, TRUSTe.

  • Certified Privacy, and participation in the Safe Harbor framework.

  • 46 points of delivery in Salesforce data centers or with top-tier co-locations all with redundant power, network, HVAC systems, and 24x7 physical security.

  • Security protection and intrusion detection fortifies access with a redundant firewall and a security team continuously monitors for unauthorized access or faults that could lead to downtime. Logs are monitored and reviewed on a regular basis and an embedded CDN thwarts attacks like Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS).

  • Comprehensive monitoring across all sites makes it easier to determine anomalies in advance and quickly intervene.

  • A dedicated technical operations team provides 24/7 coverage, ensures security of the platform, and performs frequent tests including periodic vulnerability scans and penetration tests.


Our old system used to fold over all the time, and we’d have to go to a development house. When our UK site was down, we’d lose £10,000 a day. There’s such a joy of having the platform stable with Salesforce Commerce Cloud.”


Enabler of Innovation

Deeply invested in the success and growth of each brand, Commerce Cloud sits at the intersection of innovation and customer success. At the foundation is the multi-tenant cloud platform for innovation; enabling a continuous delivery of new features and enhancements six to ten times a year. This model means all retailers operate a shared application infrastructure and can take advantage of new features and benefits as soon as they become available.

  • Access to leading capabilities like artificial intelligence (AI), mobile design best practices, Apple Pay, reporting tools, and more.

  • Non-disruptive releases on a shared infrastructure on the same version of code with no impact to uptime service or current implementations.

  • A storefront reference architecture that serves as an out-of-the-box blueprint for building “pixel perfect” sites and unique shopper experiences.

Custom Brand Experiences

Commerce Cloud open architecture not only provides a stream of innovation, it also allows retailers to customize all aspects of their site to create custom brand experiences. A full set of open commerce APIs allow external web applications to interface with the Commerce Cloud core commerce functionality making unique customizations and integrations easy. Additionally, an industry-standard development environment empowers technical teams to build personalized shopping experiences, launch new websites, and expand into new geographies — all without compromising the cloud innovation path.
Unique to the Commerce Cloud innovation model is the ability to leverage certified integrations into best-of-breed third-party solutions. The Commerce Cloud LINK technology partner program allows merchants to choose from hundreds of pre-built products and innovations such as virtual fitting rooms, payment gateways, rating programs, email marketing, tax, and more that can integrate into the platform without relying on IT resources.

Organizations reported a 20% lift in attributable revenue with their deployment of predictive intelligence and recommendations through Einstein.”

Commerce Cloud TEI Report, Forrester Consulting, June 2017

AI-Powered Commerce Built In

Shoppers today expect personalized experiences. And for merchants, using data to build unique 1-to-1 experiences is no longer a “nice to have” – it’s a “must have.” As the only commerce solution with machine learning embedded into the very fabric of the platform, Commerce Cloud makes personalization easy.

Retailers take advantage of Einstein AI capabilities through the Commerce Cloud multi-tenant cloud platform for innovation. Commerce Cloud uses a shared view of order history, product catalog, and storefront activity to gather real-time behavioral data and understand customers’ needs. With only a few clicks to set up, Einstein automatically builds data models to more accurately predict and recommend the items shoppers are most likely to buy. Merchandisers are also empowered with Einstein intelligence to automate the manual tasks they encounter every day.

Unique to Commerce Cloud is our community of over 500 retailers operating more than 2,750 ecommerce sites and reaching over 440 million individual monthly shoppers. Commerce Cloud customers are part of a large, vibrant, and interconnected community that is a constant source of ideas, insights, and inspiration. The aggregated, anonymized pool of data from this base continuously makes Commerce Cloud Einstein smarter and powers native functionality such as:

  • Product Recommendations that eliminate guesswork with automated merchandising and provide data-driven product recommendations to all shoppers.

  • Commerce Insights that interpret how customers are buying products and provide merchandisers with powerful shopping basket metrics to develop meaningful marketing strategies around customer shopping habits.

  • Predictive Sort that connects customers to products by automatically personalizing search/category pages with tailored product sorting.

  • Search Dictionaries identifies popular search terms and automatically pairs missing terms with an appropriate synonym list to guarantee relevant, robust search results.

With Product Recommendations by Commerce Cloud Einstein, Black Diamond saw a 9.6% increase in conversion rate, and a 15.5% increase in revenue per visitor.


We were very happy with the results. Clearly, the defining metric of the test was the revenue lift.”

Commerce Cloud empowers retailers with a platform to satisfy key retail business drivers. This stack starts with a fully customizable storefront environment where shoppers interact with brands across mobile, social, store, or distributed commerce interaction points; AI-powered commerce embedded into the fabric of the platform to drive personalized shopping experiences; innovation layer providing continuous delivery of new features, industry standard tools and languages, and open commerce APIs; and a trusted platform that provides security, compliance, availability, and scalability.

Build for growth and innovation with Commerce Cloud

When evaluating cloud solutions, it’s not just about the technology. You want the right partner with the right technology model and business model to ensure success. With more than 15 years serving leading global retailers, Commerce Cloud is the world’s #1 enterprise cloud commerce platform with the trusted experience of deploying innovative, secure, scalable, intelligent, and extensible commerce solutions.

The Commerce Cloud business model is based on shared success. When retailers succeed, by growing revenue, orders, and other measures, Commerce Cloud succeeds. This creates economic alignment and an incredibly motivating incentive between Commerce Cloud and its customers – ensuring the growth and success of all customers.

To transform your commerce solution and close the innovation gap, only the Commerce Cloud provides retailers with the platform and tools necessary to stay competitive and grow.

Evaluate cloud-based solutions with this checklist

When evaluating a cloud-based solution, use this checklist to determine whether it provides the services, security, and innovation your business needs

  • One view of the customer throughout their shopping journey: Commerce Cloud gives you the power to deliver unified, intelligence-driven experiences across all channels, on any device. Watch how.

  • Seamless upgrades: Commerce Cloud features seamless, behind-the-scenes updates (up to ten times per year) so you’re always up-to-date.

  • Pre-built integrations: With Commerce Cloud, you have access to more than 200 certified add-ons via our LINK partner network

  • Predictive Intelligence: Commerce Cloud Einstein has has AI built into the platform at no additional cost to deliver personalized shopper experiences and automate merchant tasks

  • Technical support during implementation and beyond. Our cloud-based model means there’s no outdated hardware to fix, freeing your IT teams to focus on projects that move the needle.

  • International expansion capabilities: Quickly expand your business into new regions and markets. Learn how.

  • Time to value: Forrester shows how organizations can launch new sites 33% faster with Commerce Cloud. See more.

  • Scalability toward targeted growth paths: Grow without limits. Commerce Cloud can handle everything from a one-day traffic spike to the addition of multiple locations with ease.

  • Focused on your long-term success: Because of our business model, everything we invest in and do is aligned to our clients’ success.

  • Licensing, hosting, or expansion included in the total cost of ownership: Our pricing model includes everything you need to grow your business into a full-fledged omni-channel operation of any size.

  • Operational and business assistance: Our Customer Success and Retail Practice teams are here to help — today, tomorrow, and beyond.

Start seeing results with Commerce Cloud.

Download this full guide to share with your team, and get started on the path engaging digital shoppers.

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