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Connections '24 Recap

If you did not attend, didn’t catch it on Salesforce+, or just want to relive the magic, here is a roundup of what our attendees thought was most interesting at this annual two-day event.

Courtney Algeo - VP Marketing

Last week, Saltbox Mgmt attended Salesforce Connections 2024 — an event that has evolved significantly over the years. What began as an ExactTarget event focused solely on marketing automation is now a celebration of innovations in both marketing and commerce, centering the customer at the core.

This year’s event was focused intensely on the role AI plays throughout the buyer’s journey. If you did not attend, didn’t catch it on Salesforce+, or just want to relive the magic, here is a roundup of what our attendees thought was most interesting at this annual two-day event.

Kyle Dreyer, VP of Delivery Operations

Salesforce Connections is always one of my favorite events of the year. It's smaller than Dreamforce, which makes it easier to meet up with customers, colleagues, and friends. Additionally, it provides a unique opportunity to see where Salesforce is taking some of our favorite products that they offer. Specifically, my takeaways from this week:

  • Data Cloud is Imperative to B2B: My impression (fair or not!) is that Data Cloud has really focused on Consumer use cases. My sentiment is that everyone inherently knows that it's important to B2B, but it is mostly talked about in a consumer manner - around customer loyalty, personalization, and understanding brand sentiment. So, I was excited to see sessions around Data Cloud and B2B. I believe the next step is creating the vision around how Data Cloud can help drive personalized experiences within B2B Commerce.
  • The Innovation Never Stops: AI, Copilot, Continual Product Innovation - it's always encouraging to see Salesforce leading the charge in ensuring that the solutions we implement are innovative and best in class. I always leave these conferences energized by the things we are now able to implement for our customers.
  • Customer Success is Energizing: My absolute favorite part of these conferences is seeing my customers - past and present - show the world what they were able to achieve with this technology. I love working with customers who want to push the envelope and deliver incredible experiences for their customers. Even though I only play a very small part in the success of their organization, it nevertheless energizes me to go find the next customer to help change their organization.

Nathan Anderson, VP of Solutions and Consulting

  • The Data Cloud Imperative: The continued focus on AI is evident, but the bigger picture is starting to emerge with a Data Cloud story being the big piece to unlock the AI. Einstein and all its variations is only as good as the private, organizational data you supply it about your company and your customers. Data Cloud provides real pathways to this allowing customers to really build major efficiencies with AI
  • Unlocking the Buying Experience: The Commerce path continues to evolve towards a "Buy Anywhere" future. Even in the B2B space, there are so many channels that buyers want to interact with companies from. The idea of an omni-channel experience is getting broader and broader, and companies that can figure out that it's not just the social or other app experiences, but ensuring that you're able to meet your customers where they are beginning from the very first interaction all the way through to fulfillment and delivery of products. New options in Commerce/Composable and even Revenue Lifecycle Management are going to make this possible for every brand.

Jordan Kozer, Account Executive

  • Data is the Key: Data Cloud is the major push right now to power data from various sources across all clouds, from Marketing to Commerce.
  • The Power of AI: AI is making shopping experiences way more seamless for customers. Lots of examples of where customers can buy through AI-powered chat without even entering a credit card. There was a great example of buying more mileage on your car lease through Apple CarPlay in your vehicle by simply clicking a button. Seems like a cool idea, but it could be a problem for people with kids clicking buttons...
  • Lowering the Barrier to Entry: Commerce Cloud is updating their pricing to be easier for customers to buy, ensuring more companies can benefit from this powerful tool. 

Alex Rudow, Account Executive

Overall lots of great insights from the show and data points that really excited me.

Shoppers have been resilient during the recent downturn:

  • 37% using credit cards more than last year
  • 32% are using buy now pay later services more often
  • 43% carrying more monthly Debt
  • 40% buying less now (Compared to last year)
  • 85% are swapping to lower priced goods (Compared to last year)

Top 5 predictions for Holiday 2024

  • Chinese Shopping apps will continue to take market share 
  • Middle Mile Shipping puts strain on margins
  • Shoppers embrace AI to search for the perfect gift
  • Black Friday becomes Cyber Friday
  • Loyal shoppers combat high digital marketing costs - and get smarter about marketing to target audiences

Overall, the sentiment is: Consumers are uneasy and gravitating to value — "They're trading down, they're buying less and saving more, and they're waiting for the best value.” This opens a great opportunity for businesses to surface deals on their Commerce Cloud storefronts, which is something our Throttle package offers.

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