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4 Key Takeaways from Salesforce Connections

By: Annie Fudenberg
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Last week, a few members of our team headed to Chicago for Connections ’19. The show was packed with breakout sessions, networking, training, and keynote speakers from leading companies across multiple industries. They explored the latest trends and strategies in marketing, commerce and customer service, and reinforced the idea that putting customers at the center of everything you do is crucial to the success of today’s brands.

We caught up with our attendees and asked them about their main takeaways from the conference. Here’s what stood out to them:

1) Best-of-breed solutions and strategic partnerships are shaking up the ecommerce industry

Kathleen Phillips, partnership director at Digital River, shared her insights about how best-in-class companies are banding together to bring market-breaking solutions to life. The trusted community of partners brought together by Salesforce strengthen and highly complement these new solutions.

In today’s ever-evolving market, customers are demanding superior excellence in each slice of the technology stack. Full-stack solutions are no longer the answer – instead, ecommerce innovators are driving a fundamental shift to nimble, best-of-breed technologies made possible by the strategic partnerships put on display at Connections. Companies and consumers alike can benefit from these flexible solutions and the unified experiences they provide.

2) Seamless customer experiences will differentiate brands and set them up for success

Nick Wassenberg, director of marketing at Digital River, spoke to us about the continuously rising customer expectations in the modern ecommerce space. Integrated, next-generation experiences are the new gold standard, and a must for brands that want to attract and retain today’s empowered and demanding consumers.

Nick pointed out that ecommerce brands who get the experience right – from the shopping cart to payments, order orchestration, all the way to customer engagement and personalization – will be the ones who emerge as winners. Brands at the show such as Frito-Lay, Red Wing Shoes and Spaulding stood out to him as differentiating themselves by offering superior customer experiences to foster brand loyalty.

3) B2B ecommerce expectations are mirroring B2C standards

Jason Nyhus, senior vice president of demand generation, sales, and partnerships at Digital River, touched on the convergence of B2C and B2B worlds. We know consumer expectations are higher than ever, and now business buyers are following suit. While the complexities of B2B commerce can make this trend sound daunting, it presents an opportunity to compete on experience and also opens up new revenue opportunities. B2B franchisors, channel sellers, and traditional B2B high-touch sales & marketing groups are leveraging technology to make B2B experiences just as exceptional as their B2C counterparts.

According to a Salesforce report, 69% of business buyers expect an Amazon-like business buying experience. However, only 27% of business buyers say companies generally excel at meeting their standards for an overall experience, signaling plenty of room for improvement. The Salesforce announcement about growing their B2B commerce offering with new AppExchange partner apps is a huge milestone in their commitment to improving B2B experiences via strategic partnerships.

4) Salesforce sets the standard for what it means to be a customer and a partner

Mike French, senior director of partnerships at Digital River, mentioned that his biggest takeaway from the show is that Salesforce legitimately puts their customers and their partners (collectively called “Trailblazers”) first. They make it clear that community is everything and that these groups are the real heroes of the Salesforce story. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this story as visionary partners are making rapid innovations in everything from artificial intelligence to advanced payment methods to immersive shopping experiences for today’s ever-connected consumers.

Here at Digital River, we couldn’t be more excited to officially be Trailblazers.

Digital River now integrates with Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud to offer the industry’s most powerful ecommerce solution for B2B brands. Contact us to learn more about our best-in-class offering for creating seamless online buying experiences and solving the most challenging B2B complexities.