Salesforce and Alibaba Cloud Announce Plans for Social Commerce Product
Today, Salesforce and Alibaba Cloud announced they are working toward an agreement to launch Salesforce Social Commerce, a headless commerce product being designed and built in China to help multinational brands grow their business in the region.
Driving the news: As the world’s largest online retail market, doing business in China is critical for many Salesforce customers. However, companies face challenges while operating in the region, including performance, data residency compliance, and difficulty integrating with local Chinese platforms.
What’s the impact: Integration with local platforms is especially difficult given the regional prevalence of social commerce — the use of a social network community to drive e-commerce sales. In 2020, social commerce grew by 44% in China and is expected to grow another 35.5% to reach over $363 billion USD this year.
Salesforce Social Commerce is being built with this trend in mind. It is intended to help businesses unify data across their Chinese storefronts and offer integrations with key local systems.
The Salesforce perspective: “Together with Alibaba Cloud, we plan to offer a new, localized commerce product that will enable companies to manage and unify their first-party commerce experiences, from websites to social applications, to gain a 360 degree view of their customers,” said Ryan Aytay, Chief Business Officer, Salesforce. “We are committed to helping multinational customers succeed in China, and are energized to bring more products to the market together in partnership with Alibaba in the near future.”
The Alibaba Cloud perspective: “This is a planned part of the partnership between two global technology leaders to bring Salesforce’s trusted products to mainland China. Once launched, this localized commerce solution will help brands meet the unique needs of the Chinese market while providing consistency with global Salesforce products,” said Lancelot Guo, VP of Alibaba Group, and President, Ecosystem and Sales Operations, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “The partnership is designed to ensure that customers of Salesforce that have operations in mainland China will have access to a locally-hosted version of Salesforce from Alibaba Cloud, which understands local business and culture.”
Zoom out: Why “Social Commerce”? Chinese consumers have become known for their willingness to adopt new, innovative commerce experiences. From live commerce and shoppable video to social retail and digital wallets, technologies that may be considered cutting edge in the West are already the norm in China.
Social commerce is one of those trends. In China, the line between e-commerce and social platforms is often blurred. Social platforms have robust e-commerce capabilities, while e-commerce marketplaces have games, group buying, live streaming, and content-posting features. As Salesforce Social Commerce develops, users can expect to see social at its core.
Salesforce Social Commerce product details
Scalable & Secure
- Salesforce Social Commerce is intended to be built and hosted in China on Alibaba Cloud, one of the world’s top three cloud providers and the largest in APAC, to help support the level of scalability needed for China’s ever-growing commerce ecosystem and to help customers address local data residency regulations and compliance concerns.
- Salesforce Social Commerce is being built with an API-first methodology which allows the product to scale with a brand’s unique market needs.
Built for China
- At launch, Salesforce Social Commerce will support e-commerce across China-specific channels including social network mini programs and .CN websites and will feature integrations into key digital commerce systems such as customers’ order management system (OMS), product information management system (PIM), shipping providers, and more.
- It will also support local payments systems such as Alipay as standard payment processing.
- As China’s ecommerce market continues to evolve quickly, Salesforce and Alibaba Cloud intend to regularly deliver new features and integrations for Salesforce Social Commerce — arming customers with the tools needed to stay on top of market trends.