News Analysis: Salesforce Commerce Cloud Intends To Acquire Mobify for Progressive Web Apps

Published on September 6, 2020 by R "Ray" Wang

Modern Progressive Web Apps Much Needed

Vancouver, British Columbia, based Mobify was approached by Salesforce.com for an estimated $60M acquisition on September 4th, 2020.  Mobify, founded in 2007 by two Simon Fraser University students, Igor Faletski and John Boxall, began as an SMS text messaging app that sent bus times to mobile users. Their expertise in developing mobile apps and mastering the mobile web led them to creating progressive web apps for store fronts.  The team raised $15 million in funding from BDC Ventures, Acton Capital, and other investors

Progressive web apps play a key role in bridging the barriers between web and native experiences.  The move to headless commerce where the presentation layer is separate from the rest of the application enables more flexibility for complex commerce orchestration and allows customers to bypass or upgrade legacy platforms.  In July 2020, Salesforce expanded its headless commerce capabilities via the launch of its B2C Commerce APIs.  Mobify was a member of this beta program.

Customers like Mobify’s modern storefront solution because it enables easy, manageable customization, and more engaging commerce experiences. This push to headless commerce is used by leading brands such as Cosnova, Shisheido, and Under Armour.  Customers and prospects were impressed by the Mobify SDK which included a rich component library to build their storefront in React, a strong set of analytics integrations for instrumenting analytical events, and a scalable managed runtime that offloads the stress of handling peak holiday traffic and enhanced security.

Matrix Commerce Moves To Headless

Matrix Commerce analyzes the disruptive pressures influencing the commerce paradigm. Commerce faces rapidly changing business models and new payment options that are often misunderstood and poorly integrated.

Matrix commerce (TM) means the fusing of demand signals and supply chains in an increasingly complex world where buyers seek frictionless buying experiences. Friction in this new world originates from new regulatory requirements such as sustainability, taxation, and privacy.

As commerce continues to evolve around buyer preferences, channels, demand signals, supply chains, payment options, enablers, and big data will converge to create Matrix Commerce. Matrix Commerce spans across disciplines as people, process, and technologies continue to transform today’s commerce models.

Constellation has seen significant push for direct to customer, contactless commerce, buy online pick up curbside, digitization of channels, subscription and services ready, and automation and AI enablement.  Conversations with matrix commerce business and technology leaders have led to 12 key trends in the post pandemic world:

  1. Diversify supply chains.  The norm was a global supply chain with outsourced operations and heavy concentration in regions such as China. International relations and security concerns have shifted priorities to diversifying production and distribution.  Business continuity risk management has many organizations moving to a near shore model and also ensuring domestic availability.
  2. Double down on demand planning.  Sales and operations planning (S&OP) have never been hotter.  Demand planning is a business process that forecasts demand for a product or service.  The result is a more efficient production and delivery to stake holders.
  3. Focus on top 20% of SKU’s.  Leaders have identified their highest volume SKU’s as well as their most profitable SKU’s to determine which products to double down on.  Prioritization and focus have enabled organizations to ensure supply meets demand while some operations are furloughed or shut down.
  4. Digitize channels.  The shift to mobile , voice assistant enabled, and online ordering has never been more important.  Digitization enables contactless commerce and frees up FTE’s to focus on core operations.
  5. Build subscription business models.  Organizations with subscription business models have fared the best with minimal cancellations. Identify where a product, service, experience, or outcome can be brought down to bite size chunks in a subscription model.
  6. Move to direct to consumer.  From B2B organizations to organizations that have never sold direct, the shift to D2C is very real.  Shifting from selling bulk to smaller packaging sizes will be the toughest challenge for B2B organizations used to high volume, large quantity orders.
  7. Optimize pricing.  Now’s the time to invest in pricing optimization solutions.  Understand the factors to pricing elasticity and understand how to optimize pricing models by channel, region, industry, economic trend, and supply.
  8. Drive up automation.  Decentralized work environments have sped up the need for automation.  With scarce labor on hand and the need to make more rapid decisions, investments in both AI and automation have increased.
  9. Build dynamic feedback loops for personalization.  Learn how to use attribution, context, dynamic choices, A/B testing to identify long term patterns to create digital feedback loops.  Determine how to apply AI to improve personalization.
  10. Move to event driven architectures/ micro services. Upgrade your architecture to support the latest approach. EDAs promote the creation, production, detection, consumption of, and reaction to events.  These events can be mined for improved AI and orchestration of personalized journeys
  11. Accelerate payments.  Improve your payments infrastructure to support contactless commerce.  Upgrade your security systems with better payment gateways and advanced billing capabilities. Invest in billing platforms that enable subscription capabilities and accurate revenue recognition.
  12. Deliver contactless commerce.  From buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) to buy online pickup at curb (BOPAC), to other means for prepayment and delivery, the rush to contactless commerce has never been so great.  Buyers expect zero tampering and contamination of their products during delivery. Organizations must support contactless commerce variants as conditions change.
 

The Bottom Line: Mobify Acquisition Shows An Urgency To Modernize Monolithic Demandware Platform

The hottest commerce apps are no longer the large end to end platforms but the commerce solutions who can deliver headless experiences and rich orchestration via microservices.  The recent moves by Salesforce Commerce Cloud and other vendors to both API and microservices enable their platforms bodes well for prospects and customers who require more flexibility and agility.  Rob Desisto, SVP and GM of B2C Commerce is making some smart moves. 

Consequently, existing customers and prospects should consider the following prior to the merger:

  1. Review existing contracts.  Constellation recommends securing existing contracts at current rates and placing provision for expanded rates for future usage, as well as reduce rates in the event of a divestiture or lower consumption models. 
  2. Seek clarity on roadmap. As with all acquisitions, gain an understanding of the future roadmap.  Clarify investment time frames for the component library components and the Mobify Cloud REST APIs.  Understand how these commitments align with the overall Salesforce Commerce Cloud Investment
  3. Address the go forward SAP hybris support.  Gain understanding if the Hybris Connector will receive continued support.  Check with SAP Commerce Cloud management on their go forward plans to support Mobify integrations
  4. Continue to consider Mobify offering in shortlists for storefront progressive web apps.  Mobify was a top contender for many B2C brands for its flexiblity and agility.  Moreover, the modern microservices architecture gave Mobify a leg up over offerings from Saleforce or SAP hybris. 

Your POV

Have you prepared for the headless future?  Do you use micro services based approaches today in commerce?  Let me know, we can help! Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationR (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org.

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