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10 Tips for Managing a B2B Commerce Storefront

Managing a B2B Commerce storefront requires careful planning and a true understanding of the platform's key features. If you’re just getting started with Salesforce B2B Commerce, you might feel a bit overwhelmed with getting it firing on all cylinders. But, we’re here to help.

Nathan Anderson - VP Solutions and Consulting

Salesforce B2B Commerce is a powerful platform that enables companies to transform their traditional sales processes into digital experiences. Built on the Salesforce platform, B2B Commerce utilizes the core data model and Experience Cloud to create engaging and efficient buying experiences for business customers, more akin to the B2C experiences buyers across the board expect. 

However, managing a B2B Commerce storefront requires careful planning and a true understanding of the platform's key features. If you’re just getting started with Salesforce B2B Commerce, you might feel a bit overwhelmed with getting it firing on all cylinders. But, we’re here to help.

In this article, I'll share 10 essential tips gathered from my years of experience working with B2B Commerce. These insights will help you optimize your storefront, streamline processes, and provide an exceptional customer experience. Hopefully, you’ll also walk away feeling more confident and ready for the next big challenge. 

Optimize Your Product Onboarding

Efficiently onboarding products is crucial for a smooth B2B Commerce experience. Salesforce provides a built-in product importer that allows you to quickly add new products to your storefront. It's essential to understand when and how to use this tool effectively. For large catalogs or complex product data, consider utilizing automation to streamline the process. 

Salesforce's built-in product importer

Especially when integrating Products in from an ERP or another system, new Products may be quite complex to get prepared for publishing. The ERP data may not have everything needed, or you may just want to review it all before it goes live. Automating some of this process with Flows can help you create products, set up attributes, and associate them with the appropriate categories and price books, and even trigger an approval process prior to publishing. By optimizing your product onboarding process, you'll save time and ensure that your storefront always has accurate and up-to-date product information.

Use the Product Readiness Tool 

Salesforce B2B Commerce offers a handy Product Readiness Tool that helps you ensure your products are fully set up and ready for the storefront. Once enabled, the Product Readiness Tool will display a checklist next to each product, indicating whether it has been properly configured with all necessary information, such as pricing, entitlements, and catalog associations. This tool can save time and provide you visibility to pieces that may have been missed in the setup. It can be a lifesaver when troubleshooting why products aren’t appearing in your storefront, and keep you from frustrating your customers and degrading their experience when products aren’t available. 

Salesforce's handy Product Readiness Tool

Update Search and Filter Settings

A well-organized and user-friendly storefront is essential for a positive customer experience. One way to enhance the browsing experience is by refining the filter results on your product list pages. Salesforce B2B Commerce allows you to add facets, or filters, to help customers narrow down their search results based on relevant criteria. By providing intuitive filters, you enable customers to quickly find the products they need, increasing the likelihood of successful conversions and customer satisfaction.

To make this even easier, Salesforce provides an option to automatically include the 10 most relevant facets for B2B Commerce Search.

Manage the Search Index

Salesforce B2B Commerce relies on a search index to provide fast and accurate product search results. This index is used across all components and experiences to quickly retrieve product information. To ensure optimal performance, it's crucial to manually refresh the search index, especially after making significant changes to your product catalog. 

Keep in mind that refreshing the index can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the size of your catalog. Plan your index refreshes accordingly to minimize disruption to your storefront. This can be automated via code, and should be performed regularly (bi-weekly or so) even in the absence of product changes. When debugging visibility of products, when in doubt…refresh your index!

Configure SEO Settings

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical aspect of driving traffic and revenue to your B2B Commerce storefront. When loading product data, it's essential to plan for SEO from the start. Salesforce B2B Commerce allows you to create SEO-friendly URLs for your products by defining custom content slugs. 

These slugs help create more readable and search engine-friendly URLs compared to the default product IDs. Additionally, ensure that you populate alt text for product images and include relevant metadata for each product. By optimizing your storefront's SEO settings, you improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results and attracting more qualified traffic.

Want to dive deeper on this topic? Listen to the Salesforce Commerce Cloud Innovations episode on SEO for Commerce Cloud.

Streamline Buyer Onboarding 

Buyer user onboarding is a critical aspect of managing your B2B Commerce storefront. Salesforce offers several options for setting up new external users, including manual creation, automated processes, and delegated administration.

The best approach depends on the anticipated number and frequency of new users, as well as the level of scrutiny needed for each new user on any given account. For a large or rapidly growing user base, consider implementing an automated or delegated solution to streamline the onboarding process and reduce the administrative burden on your team. Even something simple like a screen flow for Sales Reps or Admins to use when adding new Buyer users can be hugely beneficial to ensure all data is entered efficiently and accurately.

Handle Product Variations

An overwhelming number of product variations are a common challenge in B2B Commerce storefronts. Variations allow you to offer a single product with multiple options, such as size or color and can make things complex. In Salesforce B2B Commerce, variations are managed using a parent-child product relationship. The parent product represents the base product, while the child products represent the specific variations. 

To efficiently manage variations, create the parent product first and assign it to an attribute set. Define the possible attribute values, then create the child products and associate them with the appropriate attribute values. There are multiple ways to organize and display variation products in the storefront, and optimizing these for your business will ensure a seamless and intuitive browsing experience for your buyers.

Manage and View Orders 

Efficient order management is essential for a successful B2B Commerce storefront. Salesforce provides built-in tools for reviewing, managing, and modifying orders. You can create custom list views to organize orders based on specific criteria and set up approval processes if needed. 

For more advanced order management capabilities, consider implementing Salesforce Order Management as an add-on. This powerful tool enables you to handle post-order modifications, such as cancellations, returns, and exchanges, all within the Salesforce platform.

Optimize Product Images 

High-quality product images are crucial for engaging customers and driving sales. When it comes to hosting images for your B2B Commerce storefront, you have two options: hosting them in Salesforce CMS or an external hosting solution. Especially at scale, and whenever there are images that may periodically need to change, hosting images externally and using the Salesforce CMS to hold the links instead of the full images is generally recommended. The Product Importer allows you to specify these image URLs when loading products, and is by far the easiest way to get Product Media into the system.

This approach simplifies image management and reduces the storage burden on your Salesforce org. Ensure that your product images are optimized for web display to provide the best user experience.

Use Troubleshooting Tools

Salesforce B2B Commerce offers powerful troubleshooting tools to help you identify and resolve issues quickly. The platform includes a tool that allows you to troubleshoot product visibility issues for specific users. By entering a user's information and the product in question, you can determine why the user may not be seeing the product or the expected price.

Additionally, Salesforce B2B Commerce can utilize the Process Exception object to log and manage integration errors. This object captures the details of any errors that occur during integrations, such as failed orders or data syncs. When associated with Order Summaries, it results in a visible flag on the list views and an alert banner on the record views. This can be extremely helpful to service reps who may be monitoring incoming orders for issues.  By monitoring and addressing these exceptions, you can ensure the smooth operation of your storefront. 

Managing a Salesforce B2B Commerce storefront requires careful planning and a genuine understanding of the platform's features. Here at Saltbox, we can help ensure that you are well-equipped to optimize your storefront, streamline processes, and provide an exceptional customer experience to your audience.

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