HomeBlogCommerceCommerce Cloud vs. Experience Cloud: Choosing the Right Platform for Your Business

Commerce Cloud vs. Experience Cloud: Choosing the Right Platform for Your Business

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You’ve likely stumbled upon this article while pondering the differences between Commerce Cloud and Experience Cloud. Perhaps, you’re also grappling with which platform to choose for your digital project.

In my decade-long journey as a consultant, I’ve witnessed the rise of giants in the realm of website building, customer self-service tools, and commerce platforms, including WordPress, Magento, OpenCart, and WooCommerce. However, in one significant aspect, Salesforce has outshone them all – connectivity. But first, let’s deep dive into each product separately.

What is Salesforce Experience Cloud?

Experience Cloud, formerly Community Cloud, is a Salesforce-based platform used to create portals for customers and partners, enhancing community engagement. Its drag-and-drop functionality makes it swift to launch a self-service portal, aided by an array of prebuilt templates.

The uniqueness of the Experience Cloud site builder lies in its direct access to Salesforce data. Experience cloud features customers to conveniently download invoices, check orders, payments, and more from your website, serving as the best solution for these functions.


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The significance of this feature becomes apparent when considering company operations without a customer portal. Normally, each customer inquiry necessitates a manual search for information. Experience Cloud simplifies this by making such information readily accessible to customers, securely and privately. Each customer can only view their information, ensuring data protection.

From the customer’s perspective, the ease of accessing information online is invaluable. Instead of calling, emailing, or other traditional methods (postal pigeons?), logging into a portal to quickly retrieve necessary documents or information significantly impacts the Customer Experience Optimization. Educational institution might consider using this platform to manage services, apply for grants, etc.

What is Salesforce Commerce Cloud?

Picture it as an amped-up version of Experience Cloud. It not only enables you to display information from your Salesforce system but also facilitates e-commerce strategy and activities like placing and managing orders, browsing product catalogs, and more.

This platform significantly enhances your existing Salesforce instance with a suite of functionalities. It manages intricate details like shopping cart information, billing and shipping addresses, orders, payments, and more, streamlining the online shopping experience. It can be helpful for Education teams for page and form creation or management.

Interestingly, Commerce Cloud branches into two distinct variants:

  • B2B Commerce Cloud

  • B2C Commerce Cloud

Though they differ by only one letter in their names, these two versions harness entirely different Salesforce engines. This distinction tailors each version to effectively address the unique needs of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) markets. However, marketing campaigns can run on both.

Here’s a Salesforce Cloud Comparison Table:

Feature/FunctionalityExperience CloudCommerce Cloud
PurposeCreate customer and partner portals, streamline information access, and enhance customer experienceDisplay information from Salesforce system, facilitate e-commerce activities (placing and managing orders, browsing product catalogs), and manage orders and payments
VariantsNoneB2B Commerce Cloud, B2C Commerce Cloud
Salesforce IntegrationsDirect access to Salesforce data for customer-focused activitiesIntegration with Salesforce for managing orders, payments, and other e-commerce activities
Order Management Systems (OMS)Not includedIncluded as a significant part of the platform
Out-of-the-box functionalityLimited templates and features, mainly focused on engagement and collaborationComprehensive suite of functionalities for e-commerce activities, including shopping cart information, billing and shipping addresses, orders, payments, etc.

B2C Commerce

The B2C (Business-to-Consumer) Commerce Cloud, originally known as CloudCraze, has an interesting backstory. It’s somewhat of an in-joke among consultants that developing on this platform can be a bit crazy, and I tend to agree.

B2C Commerce Cloud is specifically tailored for consumer-focused businesses. It is better suited for marketing compared to B2B; however, if you’re looking solely for a marketing cloud for online sales process, then you can explore Salesforce Marketing cloud. If you’re unfamiliar with B2C platforms, then B2C Commerce might not be the best fit for you. Salesforce acquired and integrated this third-party product, rebranding it as B2C Commerce Cloud.

B2B Commerce

Conversely, the B2B (Business-to-Business) Commerce Cloud is designed to help in B2B Marketing Automation that caters to the needs of businesses serving other businesses. It bears many similarities to Salesforce Experience Cloud, sharing the same website builder and templates but boasting additional standard components and features such as catalog and pricing personalization in B2B Commerce.

Previously named DemandWare, this platform was also acquired by Salesforce and has been seamlessly integrated into its ecosystem. From my experience, this integration has been notably successful for B2B sales enablement compared to B2C Commerce Cloud. The Sales Cloud is a CRM platform designed to support sales. CRM for B2B is AI-enabled.

Salesforce B2B Solutions is better at handling complex business processes, such as managing complex pricing structures, handling large volumes of orders, and managing complex supply chains. Salesforce for B2B Businesses can help track customer issues, manage service cases, provide self-service options, and maintain a knowledge base for critical informational fields like frequently asked questions.

Some other B2B Commerce Platforms include SAP, Oracle, Bigcommerce, and OroCommerce.

Order Management System

An integral part of Commerce Cloud is the Order Management System (OMS). This system is a significant draw for many companies considering the Salesforce commerce suite.

OMS offers a comprehensive solution to manage all your orders, not limited to those processed through Salesforce-built websites. It’s designed to unify all your sales channels, including both online storefronts and manual order processing, into one cohesive platform.

OMS’s primary goal is to centralize the management of orders, simplifying the processing and fulfillment processes. It’s a substantial platform in its own right, meriting a detailed discussion. When choosing a platform for your business, the capabilities of OMS are a crucial factor to consider.

Salesforce Product Ecosystem

To fully comprehend the distinction between Salesforce Experience Cloud and Commerce Cloud, it’s beneficial to dive into the Salesforce ecosystem.


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Originally, Salesforce began as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform. Over time, it has evolved beyond basic sales performance and tracking tools into a more expansive suite of services.

I categorize the Salesforce ecosystem into several key areas:

  • Core Products

  • Domain Products

  • Industry-Specific Products

This classification, which I personally use to clarify the structure to my clients, offers a high-level overview of Salesforce’s architectural ecosystem.

Within this framework, Commerce and Experience Cloud emerge as distinct entities, each belonging to different domains within Salesforce. This distinction is crucial in understanding their unique functionalities and applications.

Experience Cloud is part of Salesforce Core Products while Commerce Cloud is part of Salesforce Domain products.

In other words – Salesforce Experience Cloud is considered a universal product “for everyone” which means it’s very useful in creating online communities. While Commerce Cloud is more specialized for E-commerce domain, it includes Salesforce products for B2C and B2B commerce as well as sophisticated management functionality. Not forgetting that Salesforce plays a major role in the B2C and B2B Digital Transformation.

Some other Salesforce products include:

  • Salesforce Sales Cloud

  • Salesforce Service Cloud

  • Salesforce Revenue Cloud

  • Salesforce Analytics Cloud

Difference in Features

Now let’s take a look at how these two Salesforce Product Comparisons. To make things easier, I’ve drawn a table for you.

Feature/FunctionalityB2B Commerce CloudB2C Commerce Cloud
Target AudienceBusinesses serving other businesses       Consumer-focused businesses
PlatformBased on Experience Cloud, featuring B2B pricing, catalog, checkout experience, and APIsFormerly known as Demandware, tailored for enterprise B2C stores
Salesforce IntegrationsShares the same website builder and templates as Experience Cloud, with additional standard components and featuresProvides all the required customization, analytics, performance, user management, and security tools
Licensing ModelsDifferent licensing modelsDifferent licensing models
Storefront CapabilitiesShares the same website builder and templates as Experience Cloud, with additional standard components and featuresProvides all the required customization, analytics, performance, user management, and security tools

Things to consider when choosing between products

Lastly, here are a few things you might consider if you are in the position of deciding between two products.

Experience Cloud is NOT upgradeable

Salesforce often markets its products as a unified, interchangeable platform, suggesting the ease of upgrading later. This is technically true regarding license purchases – you can always buy more licenses and advanced features. Upgrading an Experience Cloud user license allows access to more data within the site.

However, it’s crucial to understand that heavy investment in Salesforce Experience Cloud doesn’t translate to an easy switch to Commerce. Essentially, transitioning from Experience Cloud to Commerce, requires rebuilding what you’ve already established in Experience Cloud.

Out of the box functionality is limited

Beware of the allure of “out of the box” solutions. Salesforce’s out-of-the-box offerings predominantly consist of templates, which may not always meet your specific needs.

While I won’t delve into technicalities, it’s important to note that these templates can be quite dated. If you’re building your company’s IT infrastructure from scratch, it might be wiser to invest in Salesforce’s newer, more flexible templates, despite the higher initial development cost.

It’s important to know about these factors before making a Salesforce platform selection.

Furthermore, if you want to dive into implementing Salesforce solution successfully, you should know about Salesforce Implementation Insights.

B2C and B2B Commerce are not the same

As previously mentioned, B2B and B2C Commerce products are fundamentally different, operating on distinct platforms. Despite their similar names and shared product management functionality, they require separate front-end (storefront) management teams. This distinction is essential to keep in mind especially for different digital experiences, as the simplicity of their naming might misleadingly suggest otherwise.

Closing points

I hope this article has successfully clarified the differences between Experience and Commerce Cloud, and made you aware of the Salesforce integration benefits. If you find yourself needing assistance or seeking an expert opinion on your specific needs, feel free to reach out.



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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is commerce experience cloud?

Commerce Cloud and Experience cloud are two different platforms you can choose for your digital experience for products. Commerce is focused on e-commerce activities, while Experience cloud is designed to create environments focused on engagement and collaboration.

What is the difference between commerce cloud and service cloud?

While Commerce Cloud deals with e-commerce activities, Salesforce Service Cloud is a customer service platform that helps businesses manage and resolve customer inquiries and issues. Service cloud provides tools for case management, knowledge base, omni-channel support, automation, etc.

What is the difference between community cloud and experience cloud?

There’s no difference, both are the same thing. Salesforce Experience cloud was previously called Salesforce Community Cloud.

What is a commerce cloud?

It is a cloud-based platform offering tools and features to enhance productivity in online businesses.

System Thinker, Technology Evangelist, and Humanist, Jeff, brings a unique blend of experience, insight, and humanity to every piece. With eight years in the trenches as a sales representative and later transitioning into a consultant role, Jeff has mastered the art of distilling complex concepts into digestible, compelling narratives. Journeying across the globe, he continues to curate an eclectic tapestry of knowledge, piecing together insights from diverse cultures, industries, and fields. His writings are a testament to his continuous pursuit of learning and understanding—bridging the gap between technology, systems thinking, and our shared human experience.

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