Salesforce.com Inc. is taking things up a notch in its strategy of offering digital commerce technology integrated with CRM and other business software.
The cloud-based software company has agreed to purchase Mobify, a company focused on providing “headless commerce” technology that relies heavily on application programming interfaces (APIs) to design and deploy customized ecommerce sites and apps.
Salesforce is paying $60 million for Mobify, according to Crunchbase. Salesforce declined to comment directly on the deal, and a spokesman referred a reporter to the blog announcing the planned acquisition and posted by Mobify CEO Igor Faletski.
Faletski, who serves on the Salesforce Partner Advisory Board for Commerce, says in his blog: “Mobify will provide Salesforce Commerce Cloud with a modern storefront solution that will allow brands to customize their commerce experiences faster and more frequently, deliver an enhanced shopping experience across any channel, and further increase conversion and revenue to drive success in the digital-first economy.”
Going headless to reach customers
Headless commerce technology separates the customer-facing interface from the ecommerce engine and back-end business operations software, supporting the development of highly customized ways of interacting with customers through multiple venues, including websites, mobile apps and internet display ads.
Industry experts note that the progressive web app technology—which helps to make websites operate with the ease of mobile apps—built into Mobify’s platform will play an important role in customizing ecommerce sites for both B2B companies and retailers.
“Mobify gives Salesforce Commerce Cloud another arrow in the quiver for delivering differentiated buying experiences in a headless environment via tools like progressive web apps,” says Andy Hoar, CEO of consulting firm Paradigm B2B.
Paul do Forno, managing director for digital commerce at consultants Deloitte Digital, adds: “I think it’s a great addition of technology that will give more options to merchants for their front ends. Given Mobify’s long experience in mobile and retail, their progressive app front end is only a super positive step especially for business-to-consumer commerce.”
Analysts also note that custom projects can still require extensive technology integration work, for which Salesforce.com’s Mulesoft integration software will play an important role. “If you really want to build customized, great-looking ecommerce sites, it can require a lot of wiring between the back-end and customer-facing front end,” says Jordan Jewell, research director for digital commerce at research and analysis firm IDC. “Mulesoft comes into play here.”
Responding to today’s market pressures
In his blog, Faletski asserts that current market pressures are making it more important than ever for companies to be able to transition to new modes of selling through flexible and scalable digital commerce environments.
“According to Salesforce’s Q2 Shopping Index, global digital commerce revenue in Q2 grew by an unprecedented 71% compared to the previous year,” he writes. “Finding success in the digital-first economy takes more than just setting up a simple online storefront. That storefront needs to have the speed, intelligence, flexibility and scalability required to help companies quickly grow and evolve to stay relevant with customers across channels.”
Mobify’s client base includes such companies as apparel brand Under Armour, cosmetics brand Lancôme and Debenhams, a multichannel retailer based in the United Kingdom. Mobify doesn’t release revenue figures. Founded in 2007, it has raised some $27.7 million before the Salesforce deal, according to Crunchbase.
Subscription and support services revenue from the Salesforce’s Marketing and Commerce Cloud software—which includes its B2B and retail ecommerce software—increased by 1.1% year over year in the fiscal second quarter ended July 31 to $746 million, and by 24.0% to $1.36 billion in the fiscal first half.
Total revenue at Salesforce increased by 29% year over year to $5.15 billion for the fiscal second quarter ended July 31, following a 29% year-over-year increase to $17.1 billion for its fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2020.
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