With so many businesses being forced to shift to online ordering and curbside pickup as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Salesforce has unveiled a new line of pre-built website packages aimed at helping businesses speed up the process. By using site templates that can be filled in with product descriptions and prices, companies can quicken their transitions to online sales and curbside pickups compared to starting such efforts from scratch.

That’s the idea of the new Salesforce commerce cloud product line, which includes website templates and services to build sites where customers can go to safely buy a wide range of goods and then pick them up at a store’s curb in the age of the coronavirus.

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The new commerce-in-a-box cloud offerings are available in versions for the sale of essential goods to consumers, curbside and store pickup services, business-to-business sales (B2B), and restaurant and grocery store operations. The sites are scalable for businesses as their online operations grow and evolve as the pandemic situation changes over time, according to Salesforce. The websites include desktop and mobile versions so customers can reach businesses using any devices.

Image: Salesforce

The packages start at $99,000 per year for B2B sites, $125,000 per year for sites for buying online and curbside pickup, $195,000 for essential goods sales sites, and $390,000 for grocery store and restaurant curbside pickup sites. They are designed to be used by businesses with any level of tech experience, from beginners to experts.

As the pandemic continues to unfold, online sales are helping many companies stay in business, while providing needed services and goods to consumers, many of whom are still under stay-at-home orders as storefronts remain closed. That shift in online shopping traffic was seen clearly in Salesforce’s Q1 Shopping Index, which found online shopping growth of 45% year over year in April 2020. That increase was driven by a 51% spike in mobile activity and a 50% increase in desktop traffic, according to the study.
Websites offering consumers and businesses the ability to buy online and then pick up their items in a store (BOPIS) or via curbside or drive-through saw digital revenue growth of 27% year over year for Q1, according to the data. That compares with 13% Q1 revenue growth for companies that don’t presently offer BOPIS.

Those prices, however, may leave out many small businesses that could really use such services but can’t afford them right now after struggling for two months due to closures and massively reduced sales due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“These products were built in reaction to this crisis, but we adapted our existing commerce cloud platform, integrations, and service offerings to package them into an easy-to-deploy format,” said Mike Micucci, the CEO of commerce cloud and community cloud at Salesforce. “We launched our first solution in just three weeks after businesses started shutting down in early March, and will be creating more solutions as business needs continue to change as we enter the reopening and back-to-work phase of the crisis.”

The new offerings are designed for all kinds of businesses, regardless of their size, industry, and where they are in their roadmaps to becoming digital businesses, Micucci said. “We had the different phases of the COVID-19 crisis in mind when creating them, including the reopening phase, recovery phase and the ‘next normal’ so the solutions aren’t just for one moment in time compared to other technologies out there. They’re built to grow and scale with your business into the future.”

Image: Salesforce

The new products will help with these tasks, he said. “Getting online quickly is an important first step … but just setting up a digital storefront isn’t enough for a business to survive into the future. You need the speed, flexibility, scalability, and connection to CRM and marketing to grow in this digital-first economy while providing a seamless digital experience.”

The Salesforce commerce cloud products include everything needed to get the sites going, from creation using pre-built storefront templates to site deployment, web hosting, and assistance from Salesforce through managed services as part of the packages. The sites are built up using a combination of no-code clicking to select a wide range of pre-configured options or manual coding by developers to add custom coding as desired, Micucci said. Merchandising and page designing tools are also included. Businesses can use their own branding and logos and customize their sites to meet their needs and goals.

The website and ecommerce packages also come with a wide range of other Salesforce tools, including its suite of mobile-first capabilities like data-driven mobile UX, one-touch payment and responsive design which allows web pages to automatically adapt to screens across any device. In addition, commerce cloud is integrated with Salesforce service cloud and marketing cloud services, which give businesses additional ways to engage with customers in new and emerging channels.

Using the new Salesforce templates, websites for B2B or for essential goods retailers can be built in about two weeks, while websites for curbside and store pickup retailers can be built in about three weeks, according to Salesforce. The grocery store and restaurant sites can be built in about 10 weeks. The pre-built packages include a wide range of needed functions, including order picking and management, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered product recommendations, payment collection and billing, tax collection, shipping services, and more.

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