When it comes to delivering memorable storefront experiences, merchants along with B2C commerce developers put their best foot forward (or in terms of the solutioning, bring together client and server code) to make this happen. As an eCommerce development agency, we are often asked to develop custom functionalities or seamlessly integrate with third-party systems for a competitive digital experience. And in the case of a leading eCommerce platform like Salesforce Commerce Cloud, this goal is accomplished via SFCC cartridge.
Here, we’ll be discussing Salesforce Commerce Cloud cartridges, its importance, and proper development and implementation procedures.
What is a cartridge?
Think of a cartridge as a container that contains code scripts, templates, controllers, form definitions and more, all of which is required to either extend a functionality or integrate with external applications. Similar to a container, it consists of folders and subfolders ready for deployment to an SFCC store. Remember, every storefront has at least one cartridge, however, mostly, it contains multiple cartridges.
There are two types of cartridges –
- Generic cartridge: It contains generic or usual business functionalities that can be reused and deployed on many sites.
- Application-specific cartridge: These cartridges are specific to a site and consist of merchant or storefront-specific functionalities of an eCommerce store.
What is an SFCC cartridge?
Salesforce Commerce Cloud as a B2C and B2B commerce platform needs no introduction. An offering from world’s #1 CRM, Salesforce, SFCC is known for its highly flexible and customizable architecture and is a digital commerce solution of choice for many leading brands and merchants.
As market trends and consumer demands rapidly evolve, it becomes imperative for merchants to implement new functionalities and features and offer desired digital solutions to their shoppers. Like other eCommerce platforms, Salesforce Commerce Cloud also offers extensions and third-party integrations via SFCC cartridges. A Salesforce B2C Commerce cartridge will improve the overall performance of your SFCC solution, depending on the feature you wish to implement. And since a Salesforce cartridge is deployed along with its structured folders and subfolders, it promises code, efficiency, and smoother organization.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud cartridge development
As said before, an SFCC cartridge is used to invoke a new business functionality or feature or to seamlessly integrate a third-party tool, application, or system to the storefront. Many third-party platforms already have their cartridges developed to integrate their system to the SFCC store. However, every now and then, our Salesforce developers are asked to build custom cartridges specific to their requirement and deploy it to the existing cartridge stack on the storefront.
A cartridge stack is an agreeable order of individual cartridges of a B2C Commerce storefront. The base layer is formed by SFCC cartridges that contain basic functionality followed by Plugin cartridges, LINK cartridges, and then finally the custom cartridges that determine the unique branding of your online store.
Subsequently, B2C Commerce developers also can refer to the LINK Marketplace, a robust and rich Salesforce store (as a part of the Salesforce B2C Commerce LINK Technology Partner Program) consisting of readily available Link cartridges, choose, and deploy them to the storefront.
Developing a new merchant or site-specific functionality involves Salesforce cartridge development and testing as per the Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA) guidelines. Post-development, it has to be uploaded to the server. Moreover, a Salesforce B2C Commerce developer will also configure the cartridge stack for their online site to determine which cartridge runs first after registering the Salesforce cartridges in Business Manager.
Employing SFRA for Salesforce B2C Commerce cartridge development
Earlier, Salesforce Commerce Cloud was known as Demandware and leveraged SiteGenesis as its underlying code architecture. However, as the market progressed and higher importance was placed on customer experiences, merchants witnessed challenges around SiteGenesis’ performance and scalability, Salesforce went ahead with a more modern and composable approach via the Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA).
With SFRA and the cartridge stack, our Salesforce B2C cartridge development team builds custom cartridges with specific features from ground up. The cartridge stack determines which server-side code runs. SFCC cartridges earlier in the path override the functionality of those later in the stack. With SFRA, every storefront has a base set of cartridges over which the custom Salesforce B2C cartridge is stacked.
Getting SFCC cartridges certified and approved by Salesforce
Every Salesforce B2C Commerce cartridge developed has to be first approved and certified by Salesforce. Every Salesforce Partner needs to strictly adhere to the cartridge development guidelines, incorporating the best practices as set forth. Our team has worked along with several clients to get their cartridges approved and certified. Moreover, we are also adept with publishing the cartridge to the Link Marketplace.
Case Study: Developing a custom SFCC cartridge for Pace Payment
Summary: Drawing on Ranosys’ expertise of Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud SFRA cartridge development, Pace Now offers SFCC merchants an easy and seamless way to integrate Pace to their eCommerce stores.
Challenge: A popular payment solution, Pace offers shoppers to pay for their purchases in three installments over a 60-day period. However, the absence of a readymade SFRA plugin for SFCC merchants meant that the latter had to consume APIs to implement Pace payment solutions to their online stores. Therefore, Pace wanted to improve this implementation for merchants with a Pace Payment SFRA cartridge that demanded no coding or development initiatives.
Result: Our certified experts developed an SFCC cartridge for Pace that is easy to integrate with SFCC storefronts without any rigorous coding work and allows shoppers with the flexibility to complete their purchases and pay in installments. Moreover, our team also implemented the plugin in the latest stable SFRA version 6.0.