Salesforce is rolling out updates to its Commerce Cloud that aim to expand the footprint of the platform. Launched in September 2016, Commerce Cloud is the result of Salesforce's acquisition of Demandware and aims to target the core retailers that made up Demandware's customer base.
The company bought Demandware in June 2016 for $2.8 billion. As noted at the time, Salesforce's plan was to court retailers and expand as e-commerce reached more industries. Flash forward to today and Salesforce says more than 680 million unique shoppers touched Commerce Cloud over holidays, with roughly $16 billion worth of merchandise sold through the platform annually.
With the new features, Salesforce is boosting Commerce Cloud's AI-powered personalization capabilities and adding new tools for developers building on the platform.
Among the key updates is the new Einstein Visual Search, an out-of-the-box image search capability that lets shoppers "snap and search" for products using images, not text. Similarly, there's a new Einstein Recommendations API that lets retailers integrate Einstein-powered product recommendations beyond their e-commerce site.
Salesforce is also overhauling its inventory availability service, allowing retailers to activate inventory in real time across stores and distribution centers. The service, which now functions as an actual platform service and can be combined with other services, is also closely aligned with the revamped recommendation engine.
For instance, with AI powered recommendations in apps, a shopper's click path and preferences will surface products that are in stock nearby, on location-aware apps like Instagram and Uber. Retailers using Commerce Cloud can implement the features with little technical support, according to Commerce Cloud CEO Mike Micucci.
"Our customers don't have an army of data scientists and now they can use services they never had access to before," Micucci said. "And they can scale them to thousands of stores."
On the developer front, Salesforce is rolling out on-demand sandboxes, from which developers can call up references of their commerce site and all APIs and then prototype examples. There's also a new Commerce Cloud Developer Trailhead and Commerce API Explorer portal.
In terms of availability, the Commerce Cloud Einstein Visual Search feature is currently in pilot and will be generally available in the second half of 2019. On-demand Developer Sandboxes are currently in beta and will be GA in the first half of 2019. Commerce Cloud Einstein Recommendations API is also in beta, with no GA details just yet. The High-Scale Inventory Availability Service will be in Pilot in Q1 2019, and the Open Commerce API Explorer portal is generally available today.