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Salesforce Looks To Extend Commerce Cloud To Businesses With CloudCraze Acquisition

Partners say its technology will bulk up a consumer e-commerce solution obtained from the acquisition of Demandware.

Salesforce's agreement to acquire CloudCraze sets the stage for the CRM leader to become a powerhouse in e-commerce by adding a vital business-to-business component to the emerging Commerce Cloud, partners told CRN Tuesday after learning of the deal.

The Deerfield, Ill.-headquartered e-commerce vendor, founded in 2009, served as an early example of the success ISVs could find developing on Salesforce platforms and selling into that ecosystem. CloudCraze's solution, built on the Salesforce1 mobile platform, won notable customers such as Coca-Cola, Land O' Lakes, Cummins and Ecolab.

The platform enables those companies to deploy B2B or B2C storefronts that share data and processes with their CRM systems. It offers a configurable user interface, merchandising, pricing, promotion, and catalog content management functionality, and integration to shipping, inventory and tax solutions.

[Related: Salesforce Preps Partners For The Fourth Industrial Revolution]

Those attributes will now be used to bulk up Commerce Cloud, a Salesforce product stemming from the 2016 acquisition of Demandware.

In an interview with CRN soon after Salesforce purchased Demandware, CloudCraze's CEO, Chris Dalton, said he welcomed the introduction of that technology into the Salesforce portfolio because it would create more of an emphasis on commerce throughout the ecosystem.

With more customers exploring Salesforce as a commerce option, Dalton predicted, "Demandware will benefit, CloudCraze will benefit."

Dalton said he didn't expect the new Commerce Cloud to compete in the B2B market his company carved out for Salesforce. Customers understood the nuanced differences between consumer and business solutions.

"It would be more logical to integrate CloudCraze than to transform Demandware into a B2B solution," Dalton said back in 2016.

The acquisition is the latest move in Salesforce's drive to conquer new markets since it first achieved leadership in the CRM market years ago, said Andi Giri, managing director of the Salesforce practice at Silver Spring, Md.-based SoftSquare.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff first set his sights on digital marketing with the acquisitions of Buddy Media, Pardot, and ExactTarget, and their integration into Marketing Cloud.

After that came the Demandware deal to thrust the cloud computing giant into e-commerce.

Now "the acquisition of CloudCraze adds B2B value to Salesforce's e-commerce suite," Giri told CRN. "This would enhance Salesforce's product line with an eye on digital commerce."

The acquisition might even impact Salesforce partners without e-commerce practices.

Kai Hsiung, chief growth officer at Silverline, said while his company doesn't work in that space, CloudCraze integration could lead the New York City-based Salesforce partner to consider "whether or not we’d want to invest in building a retail practice."

CloudCraze president Ray Grady posted a statement Tuesday that said the addition of CloudCraze to Commerce Cloud will empower Salesforce customers to "take advantage of this shift to digital commerce, enabling business buyers to browse and purchase online as easily as consumers shop today."

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