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Commerce took center stage at Dreamforce 2018. It was a central theme across some of the biggest product innovations and customer success stories showcased throughout the week, including Brunello Cucinelli and Metallica. We recently sat down with Commerce Cloud CEO Mike Micucci to get his thoughts on the future of commerce, and how Salesforce partners with commerce leaders across every industry — empowering them to transform their brands and their careers.

 

Q: You just recently joined the Commerce Cloud. What was your path to this role?

A: I joined Salesforce 9 years ago, when the startup I co-founded was acquired by Salesforce. We were building an enterprise collaboration product, which then merged with a similar project underway at Salesforce. This culminated in the creation of Chatter, and I'm extremely proud to have been on the founding team that delivered Chatter to our customers. After that, I led the product development team that built and delivered Community Cloud. And now I'm so thrilled to be leading our amazing Commerce Cloud team.

 

Q: What drew you to commerce?

A: Commerce is at the tip of the spear in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With the convergence of connected devices and artificial intelligence, the bar for amazing commerce experiences is getting higher, faster. Consider the upcoming holiday season. For the first time ever, more purchases and ecommerce visits will be made with mobile phones than any other devices. And AI-based product recommendations will drive 35 percent of all holiday season revenue. Both represent incredible shifts in customer expectation.

This is the new normal for commerce; a very exciting and disruptive time in this space. But most companies don't have an army of data scientists and IT experts to bring these experiences together, and that's where we come in.

 

Q: What are the keys to commerce success amidst all of this disruption?

A: There are four critical elements to driving commerce success that I share with customers. First, commerce experiences have to be smart. Today, artificial intelligence is imperative for merchandising products and services, and making them discoverable, in the most personalized of ways.

Second, companies must be able to manage the commerce experience with speed and agility. That requires a complete commerce platform across both B2B and B2C, as well as tools that empower commerce leaders to dynamically create and update commerce experiences in real-time with clicks, not code.

Third, commerce must be connected to other touchpoints the customer has with your brand. We can all relate to all-too-common scenarios where a service agent doesn't know your order history, or getting an email marketing offer for something you've just purchased. Companies must build a single view of the customer.

And finally, companies must have a well-defined path to commerce success, which combines personal empowerment for commerce leaders and a strong ecosystem of partners for guidance on how to deploy and optimize commerce experiences.

 

Q: What are some of the latest commerce advancements in AI?

A: Our Einstein AI capabilities are a core part of our platform, which has been instrumental in helping our customers drive growth. Our strategy has been to use AI to delight the shopper with personalized experiences and make merchandising teams more productive. And we have two powerful new Einstein features we've just introduced this year — Einstein Visual Search and the Einstein Commerce API.

With Visual Search, you can now shop with pictures not words. You only have to look to the millions of daily users of Instagram to know we are living in a visual, mobile world. If a shopper sees an item but doesn’t know how to describe it, she can now “snap and search” using a picture of the product from her phone, and Einstein will do the rest: automatically finding the most relevant matches based on visual attributes of the item, such as color, size, texture or pattern.

With our new Einstein API, companies can take those revenue-driving product recommendations and embed them into any context, such as Instagram or our Service Cloud agent console. And when you combine the Einstein API capabilities with our new Inventory Availability service, which provides real-time inventory locations for millions of products across hundreds of thousands of stores, these infused product recommendations can also be location-based. That is powerful stuff.

 

Q: You've just expanded into B2B Commerce. Why is this so important?

A: There is a new generation of B2B buyers entering the workforce that expect a consumer-like purchasing experience. Their B2C shopping experiences are informing their B2B expectations.

This is exactly what we're delivering with B2B Commerce, an engaging digital buying experience, accessible on any device and powered by AI. Our solution meets the complex needs of the business buyer, with features like custom catalogs, entitled products, split shipments, multiple payment options and custom pricing. Unlike B2C shoppers, B2B buyers want to move faster, with greater flexibility. It’s all about ease and efficiency. So we also recently introduced two-click re-ordering and recommendations to help those buyers streamline the purchasing process.

B2B Commerce is also built natively on the Salesforce CRM Platform, which delivers a seamless experience with sales, service and marketing. This gives businesses one view of their customer without needing to spend time and money integrating disparate systems. So the customer, their account team, and customer service department can all be engaged with the same data and processes.

 

Q: Commerce experiences appeared to be on display everywhere at Dreamforce.

A: Absolutely. Look no further than the main Dreamforce keynote, where we introduced two amazing product innovations and three customer stories, all of which showcased the future of commerce.

First, we launched Customer 360. This will make it easier to create unified, cross-channel experiences across commerce, service and marketing. For example, companies will be able to bring order history and shopping cart activity directly into the Service Cloud, so service agents can deliver a more personalized service experience from directly within the service console. Similarly, companies will be able to automatically trigger a marketing journey based on an event in Commerce Cloud, such as a purchase or an abandoned cart.

We also announced Einstein Voice, which opens up amazing possibilities across both B2B and B2C Commerce. Companies will be able to build their own voice bots on the Einstein Bot Platform that are connected to commerce and CRM data and integrated with smart speakers. This will usher in an entirely new era of voice-enabled commerce for every brand.

And the customer stories were inspirational. Metallica completely re-imagined how they connect with their fans with a new highly curated commerce experience. Brunello Cucinelli showcased what it truly means to deliver a white-glove customer experience that brings together commerce and customer service. And Unilever gave us a glimpse into the smart, connected B2B Commerce experience they deliver for Ben & Jerry's franchisees.

 

Q: Where can we learn more about Salesforce's vision for commerce?

A: The team just wrapped up an amazing product keynote that really brings our commerce vision to life for our customers, and showcases all of this innovation, and more, through their lens. You'll see real use cases, drill down with live demos, and meet customer Trailblazers from Univar, Madewell, e.l.f. Cosmetics and Lacoste. Each of them has an amazing commerce journey and we're absolutely delighted to be a part of their success. It also includes a cameo from my daughters, Bella and Katie, who represent our shoppers of the future. Please check it out and, as always, we'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback.