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B2B Commerce + Content Cloud FAQ

Frequently asked questions about integrating Optimizely's B2B Commerce and Content Cloud solutions.

Optimizely is excited to announce the upcoming release of a new product-to-product integration between the Commerce Cloud business-to-business e-commerce solution (B2B) and the Content Cloud content management system (CMS). Many clients, partners, and even members of other Optimizely product teams have questions about this forthcoming integration. This article, which we continue to update, will provide you with answers to many of the questions you may have.

Why B2B/CMS integration?

From its beginning, Commerce Cloud B2B (including customers of the legacy Insite software) has focused on the main concerns of business-to-business customers like manufacturers and wholesale sellers: catalog management, warehousing, order fulfillment, billing, and shipping. Much less emphasis was placed on developing content-rich storefronts, which was accomplished with the built-in Spire CMS system. For some customers, Spire was adequate to provide the basic web storefront their businesses required. For many customers, however, Spire's limited ability to deliver a content-rich storefront experience to customers was a major drawback.

Optimizely's Content Cloud CMS is an industry-leading content management system with nearly twenty-years of experience delivering content rich sites for clients across industries. By connecting our leading CMS to the B2B e-commerce solution, we can deliver customers the robustness of a mature and reliable e-commerce solution for managing product catalogs, inventories, and order handling, and expose that capability through a powerful, extensible and customizable website management platform.

Who needs B2B/CMS integration?

This integration provides an enhanced experience for two types of customers. The first type would be existing or prospective B2B customers who want to to deliver product content in a richer, more extensible way than the built-in Spire CMS will allow. For example, a manufacturer might want to integrate their storefront with product blogs, industry case study articles, and customer forums, all while leveraging visitor intelligence (VI) to provide dynamic product recommendations to the storefront, or to deliver custom web content recommendations based on a visitor's order history.

Another, less common use case would be customers in manufacturing or wholesale who already use CMS to manage and deliver their web content, but would like to begin selling products via their site. These customers would be able to build-in the e-commerce capabilities to their existing content model.

When will it be ready?

The Optimizely Commerce Cloud team is conducting final testing and refinement of the integration packages and deployment process. Barring unexpected delays, the integration will be ready for delivery during Q3 2022.

What can I do with it?

The integration allows the Content Cloud CMS to call the Commerce Cloud B2B API in order to pull product into Content Cloud pages as a type of content block. This product detail content block allows CMS administrators and editors to create pages that show product information and browse the catalog contained in the B2B Commerce Cloud.

Does data in Commerce Cloud get pulled into Content Cloud?

In short, no. Content Cloud simply requests data out of the B2B Commerce Cloud when it serves a page. It does not "pull" or "migrate" data into its own data storage out of the box.

For some partners, this will be a new behavior. Optimizely's business-to-customer e-commerce product (B2C Commerce Cloud) has integrated with CMS for some time, and in that integration, data actually does migrate from the Commerce solution into CMS, where it is transformed into CMS-native objects. This is, however, not how the B2B-CMS integration works.

Does the B2B catalogue index content into Optimizely's Find?

No. The integration assumes the user is leveraging B2B as the product catalog, and so it uses B2B's native search indexing and faceting. Optimizely's Find does, however, index other (non-product) content. So, from a technical perspective, there are two separate search indices and mechanisms. However, from a site visitor's perspective, there is a single search experience: the integration provides a search box that queries both search engines and aggregates the results returned by both!

Is this considered a "headless" use of B2B?

Yes! Since B2B is natively “headless”, Content Cloud is simply one of many possible heads a customer can use. This integration is essentially just a C# native SDK for working with the B2B APIs from within the .NET 5 environment of Content Cloud. There are other aspects of the integration package such as changes to CMS that are included in the starter kit, such as the CMS search box behavior, but these are a minor part of the kit. It is also worth noting that this same C# API SDK serves as the basis for our forthcoming B2B Mobile App SDK, which leverages the cross-platform Xamarin framework to enable e-commerce clients to develop custom mobile apps as a front-end to the headless B2B Commerce Cloud solution.

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