Salesforce's $2.8B Demandware acquisition will add digital commerce capabilities

The purchase will allow Salesforce to offer Commerce Cloud and get into e-commerce

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A logo on the front of the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Credit: Martyn Williams is moving beyond CRM and into e-commerce with the acquisition of cloud service provider Demandware.

It will use the purchase to kick-start a new field of business, the Salesforce Commerce Cloud, it said Wednesday.

The company already has its Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Analytics Cloud.

By rebranding Demandware's Commerce Cloud as its own, Salesforce will be able to combine e-commerce, order management, point-of-sale, store operations and predictive intelligence into its own platform.

Commerce Cloud will allow Salesforce customers to connect with their own clients in new ways, the company said, while Demandware customers will gain access to sales, marketing and analytics functions from Salesforce. Demandware customers include L’Oreal and U.K. retail chain Marks & Spencer.

"There are so many ways it accelerates our mission to transform retail," Demandware CEO Tom Ebling said in a conference call to discuss the deal.

Being part of Salesforce will add to Demandware's credibility when approaching large accounts, he said.

It will also help the company expand to new countries. "We've just got started in places like Japan and Italy but there are many other untapped geographies for us," he said.

A third area where it will benefit is omnichannel marketing, helping retailers engage customers everywhere. "The combination of CRM capabilities, knowledge of the customer, with the commerce engine will be a way to accelerate that capability," Ebling said.

Salesforce chief product officer Alex Dayon said the deal will increase its customers' insight into their business.

"Our customers' information systems are going to be powered by data. You need a complete view of your customers. Having commerce as part of the CRM platform is important," he said during the same conference call.

He hammered home the need for more data in response to a question about Salesforce's ad targeting capabilities.

"For us it's all about the data, whether you use your own data, your own targeting, or whether you connect to companies like Google or Facebook," he said.

The companies expect to close the deal, worth around $2.8 billion net of cash acquired, before August, subject to customary closing conditions.

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