On March 12th Salesforce entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Chicago-based CloudCraze. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with events in the enterprise eCommerce space over the past several years. Indeed, as early as June of 2016, when Salesforce announced its acquisition of Demandware, Avatria’s Anando Naqui suggested that one next logical step for Salesforce would be acquiring CloudCraze – “currently the only B2B Commerce platform built natively on Salesforce”. So now that the acquisition has officially closed, what does this all mean for Salesforce, CloudCraze and commerce in general?
At the time of the Demandware acquisition, industry observers noted the challenges Salesforce would face integrating the solution with their B2B focused, CRM-centric offerings. In the two years since, little has changed. Commerce Cloud (Demandware) is still very much geared toward B2C commerce, and technical changes to the platform to tighten alignment with Salesforce cloud services are difficult to discern.
By contrast, the CloudCraze focus on B2B solutions, along with its architectural foundation in Salesforce Cloud services, makes this most recent acquisition a much more seamless and logical marriage. Extending the benefits of Salesforce roadmap initiatives to existing CloudCraze customers is baked into the cake. Ongoing refinement of capabilities for integration (Integration Cloud née MuleSoft), artificial intelligence (Einstein), and process automation (Lightning Flow), all occurring within the core Salesforce ecosystem, will continue to provide immediately accessible benefits for CloudCraze customers. Just as important, direct alignment with Salesforce assures current and potential CloudCraze customers that their B2B Commerce and CRM solutions avoid unexpected divergence in the development roadmap, thus ensuring immediate benefits from developments in advanced platform features (AI, automation, etc.).
While benefits of this acquisition for CloudCraze may be obvious, the advantages are not entirely one-sided. Existing Salesforce CRM customers now have access to a full-featured B2B commerce solution, directly supported by a vendor with whom they already have an established relationship. CloudCraze offers Salesforce access to B2B commerce prospects as a complement to B2C services already offered through Commerce Cloud. The distinct advantage for those B2B prospects is the extent to which the CloudCraze offering merges commerce and CRM capabilities into a common architecture. The resulting reduction in typically complex data migration efforts offers a compelling value proposition to existing Salesforce CRM customers evaluating their commerce options.
While the impact of this move on the position of Salesforce within the B2B commerce space remains to be seen, the logic of the decision was clear as far back as, well, two years ago.