Up Next In Commerce podcast

Up Next In Commerce

Mission

Welcome to the #1 podcast for commerce teams, executives, and entrepreneurs. Join host Stephanie Postles as she sits down with commerce leaders on the front lines of digital innovation. With guests from established enterprise companies to D2C start-ups barely out of infancy to everyone in between - you’ll get the inside scoop on what’s Up Next in Commerce. New episodes come out every Tuesday and Thursday. Up Next in Commerce is created by Mission.org and brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

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  • Up Next In Commerce podcast

    How Walmart Brought the Superstore into a Super App, with Cynthia Kleinbaum Milner, VP of Marketing for Walmart Plus, Online Grocery and Mobile App

    41:39

    Throughout the years, Walmart has brought the idea of the superstore to life. Its name is ubiquitous, most Americans live within eight miles of a Walmart, and within the store, you can find everything from groceries to automotive services to custom paint production. Seriously, there is very little that you won’t find within a Walmart. And, on this episode of Up Next in Commerce, Cynthia Kleinbaum Milner told me about how that competitive edge is something that Walmart wanted to lean into as it evolved into the digital era. Cynthia is the VP of marketing for Walmart Plus, Online Grocery and Mobile App, and part of what she does is help Walmart use the power of its retail presence to engage with customers in an omnichannel way, this includes on mobile, which we touched on a lot in the interview. We also dove into Walmart Plus, and how Cynthia positioned Walmart Plus different from the competition, by getting the deepest understanding of what customers want and why. Plus we got into Cynthia’s own journey and how she has developed her skills as a marketer to land at one of the biggest global companies ever. This was such a fun episode, I hope you enjoy it!Main Takeaways:Going Backward To Move Forward: The world changes so rapidly that oftentimes the skills you are using now as the main part of your job will be peripheral or inapplicable in just a few years. Rather than continuing on one path doing only what you know, it might be a better long-term strategy to step back and learn in other emerging areas to make yourself more well-rounded. Even if you have to make a lateral or backward move right now, in the long run you will be a much better and a more skilled worker.The Full Experience, Online and Off: Walmart is more than just a grocery store for those who go to physical locations. Naturally, the online experience had to be more than just one kind of shopping experience as well. Creating an app that makes the entire experience of shopping better, has to be the goal. Whether that means bringing in scan and go features to use in-store, or an endless aisle to shop from online, or building in additional services like financial help and delivery, there has to be more to your app so that you are providing customers with the ideal experience.Making Membership Worth It: Too often, brands have membership programs that have one or two benefits that customers use every once in a while at best. But if you’re going to have a membership model, you want to make it worthwhile for customers and the business. There should be services that you can’t access otherwise, you should be adding value to your customers’ lives, and you should always be striving to add features and services that save time and money for your customers, which will make them want to use your app and come to your store even more.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here.
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    Baby Talk: How Lalo is Changing the Buying Experience for New Parents, with Michael Wieder, Co-Founder of Lalo

    42:10

    How new parents shop for their babies is unlike how anyone shops for anything else. I know, I’ve been there. You’re anxious, you’re thinking about all the things your baby will need, but you’re also thinking in stages of what you’ll need three months from now when your baby is in a completely different stage of development. It’s overwhelming and the brands in the baby market are mostly just selling products, and not selling how to have a better experience as a parent. Lalo is one of the unique brands that is putting the parent’s experience first, and that strategy has helped the company quickly grow into a favorite brand among moms and dads everywhere.On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, I chatted with Michael Wieder, the co-founder of Lalo, about what it was like to create a new kind of shopping experience for parents, and how a little bit of light stalking went a long way to help Lalo figure out exactly what parents want and need. We talked about what it takes to bring a product to market with organic and authentic connections with influencers and consumers alike, and we got deep in the weeds of what strategies Lalo used to communicate with current and potential customers in order to improve not just the products, but the entire experience of buying products for your kids. Plus, we talked a bit about how Lalo has approached fundraising, which is a little bit controversial these days. Enjoy the episode!Main Takeaways:Influencers Are People, Not A Marketing Channel: You have to tap into an influencer’s psychology and why they would actually love a brand, rather than paying them to market your product just because they are popular. Reach out to people who you know you can connect with, and ship them product to help them fall in love with the product first, then partner with you later. Not only does that form more authentic relationships, it saves you from wasting product and time on potential influencer relationships that won’t work.Keep it 100: How you communicate with customers should be all about keeping it real. Think about how you would want to be communicated with, and treat your customers in that same way. And in order to deliver the right messages that also lead to actual sales, you have to focus on a few key pillars: technical, functional and emotional benefit.Get on My Level: Hiring the right people is the biggest challenge to growth. Not everyone will care as much as a founder, but you need to find people who do truly care and buy into the mission of the company and will fight to help it become better. You can also tap into the people who love your brand most to bring them on as advisors. For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript here: https://bit.ly/3zTMJOt---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here.
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    Seeing and Hearing the Future, with Harrison Gross, Co-founder & CEO of Lucyd

    40:46

    What do eyeglasses, blockchain, and social media all have in common? If you answered nothing, then obviously you haven’t heard of Lucyd. On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, I sat down with Harrison Gross, the Co-founder and CEO of Lucyd, a smart eyewear company that is bringing hardware and software together in pretty incredible ways. Harrison told me all about how the company was built on IP from research universities — an underutilized trove of crazy cool ideas — and how Lucyd’s crowdfunding backers became the perfect beta testers for the Lucyd Lyte glasses, which are glasses fitted with bluetooth technology that allow users to talk on the phone, listen to music, engage with Siri, and more, all without ever taking your phone out of your pocket. Smart glasses are not a new concept, so you may be wondering what makes Lucyd different. Harrison is developing an app to pair with the glasses that uses blockchain to create a social community where people can utilize tokens, buy and sell NFTS, and engage with people and brands -- all from their eyewear. It’s a whole new kind of commerce, and I’m excited to bring you today’s conversation with Harrison Gross!Main Takeaways:The Will of the People: Crowdfunding is not just a way to raise capital, it’s a proven method to build a community of people who are willing to help your company succeed. Backers from a crowdfunding campaign can become a pool of beta testers and product development focus groups that can help a company get to a MVP much sooner than otherwise possible.Meet the Market: Although the market might not be in place to adopt your original idea, you can always pivot to deliver something that people need right now. But don’t let the original idea die — find a new way to introduce that idea that is suitable to how people live and operate right now, the same way Lucyd is doing with blockchain technology, which you can tune in to hear more about!Make it Easy: If you have a product that will solve a problem or make someone’s life easier, you might think it will sell itself, but it won’t. You have to fully explain how the product works and where they will see improvement in their life through using the product. You also have to train those who sell the product to build education into their sales speak, and every piece of content you create should illustrate how you are making life better, because when the consumer sees that, you make their purchase decision easy.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here.
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    Printful’s Road To a $1 Billion Valuation, with Head of Marketing Raitis Purins

    31:26

    There is no shortage of ecommerce companies popping up everywhere you look, especially in the U.S, where the culture of having a side hustle is making more and more people into entrepreneurs. Most of those companies sell products, and a lot of them also create or sell merch. That’s where Printful comes into the picture. Printful offers on-demand printing and dropshipping so that companies of all shapes and sizes can design and deliver customized products all over the world. But, according to Raitis Purins, the Head of Marketing of Printful, that’s not the main aspect of the company that has allowed it to grow to a $1 billion valuation.On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, Raitis explains that when it comes to serving burgeoning ecommerce brands, you have to do more than deliver products to them, you have to help educate them. Printful is only successful if the companies it serves survive and thrive, and so when 9 out of 10 new ecommerce businesses fail, that could spell trouble. Raitis explained that a lot of what Printful does is create content that not only helps the company rank on Google and bring in new customers, but also helps those customers figure out their footing in this crazy world of business. Enjoy this episode!Main Takeaways:Side Hustles As Printful’s Main Hustle: Thanks to the culture of side hustles in the United States, there are more creators and entrepreneurs than ever before who all need merchandise. This audience is a fruitful place for companies like Printful and other personalization brands to lean into and deliver new products for.Encouraging Success: It is extremely difficult to create an ecommerce shop that stands the test of time. Success is hard to come by, and so if you serve those young brands, it benefits you to try to help them succeed. When they thrive, so do you, so if you have tips, best practices, or other lessons that you can share with those who come work with you, sharing what you know will create a mutually beneficial, and therefore loyal, relationship.Content, Content, Content: No one knows exactly what it takes to rank on Google, but there is consensus that content is king, and developing content around key themes, key words, and key phrases is one method that has worked before. In order to stay relevant and ranking, constantly be pushing out content around the keywords you identify as important, and build out that content in as many ways and languages as possible.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here.
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    Scaling 101: How Leslie Kuster, CEO of Back from Bali, Intentionally Scaled Her Business From 5 to 7 Figures on Amazon

    37:09

    I want to make money. Yep, I said it, and you should too, especially if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner. It seems obvious, but, as my guest today will explain, that idea and saying those words out loud is what holds so many people back.Leslie Kuster is the founder and CEO of Back from Bali, an ecommerce fashion brand that she scaled from 50k to multiple millions in just a few years. She achieved most of that growth on Amazon, a platform that is always challenging but can work wonders for your business if you know the ins and outs. She does and she shared them with us, including how Amazon has been changing its terms of service around images, what kind of SEO strategies will work well, and what it takes to connect with customers even when facing certain restrictions. Plus, Leslie has a ton of advice for all kinds of entrepreneurs, and women in particular, about what it takes to turn something that was more of a hobby into a business worth millions. Enjoy this episode!Main Takeaways:But Why?: Success in business comes down to having a vision and a “why” behind what you are doing as an entrepreneur. There are so many ups and downs, that if you don’t have a vision that will fuel you and motivate you through all of the hardships, then you will not make it through them.Expanding In A Limited Way: When you think about expanding your business, you typically think about how to create a more broad product portfolio. Rather than bringing multiple new products to market, look at the product or products you have that are working already and expand those in creative ways.The Toughest Question of All: Trying to figure out where to invest your dollars is the biggest challenge for an entrepreneur. And when you are selling successfully on Amazon or on your website, you have to ask yourself is it worth it to try to drive traffic elsewhere? It’s expensive to be competitive in different markets, particularly fashion, where there is already overcrowding. So rather than throw money at a channel or website that is competing against a sea of other challengers, shift your focus to an area where you can create a niche or where you are already having success.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here. 
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    The Dog-Eat-Dog World of DTC Pet Food with Jinx CEO, Terri Rockovich

    40:38

    If you’ve heard of Casper, the mattress-in-a-box brand, you unknowingly have heard of Terri Rockovich. Terri was one of the early employees at Casper and helped the company launch into the stratosphere. Today, she’s trying to do the same thing with her new company, Jinx, a DTC dog food brand committed to helping our furry friends live their best lives. So maybe it should actually be DTD? Direct to dog?Anyway, as Terri told me, it’s hard to make magic happen twice, especially when you’re launching a brand in the middle of one of the biggest market shakeups in history. On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, Terri told me all about how Jinx had to pivot when its retail strategy fell to pieces when stores shut their doors in 2020, and she described how directing all of the company’s focus to digital fulfillment and creative partnerships with brands like Petco, Rover and Target landed Jinx in front of a national audience faster than they imagined. Plus, Terri and I got into how disruptive brands can build a moat against their major CPG competitors. And be sure to take note of when and where you might be seeing (and maybe smelling) some doggie billboards coming soon! Enjoy this episode!Main Takeaways:A Moat With Many Alligators: Young disruptive brands often come to market to take on larger, established CPG companies. As a brand trying to grab market share, you might think you’d want to push out others just like you. Instead, it might be more effective for similar disruptive brands to all go after the one or two market players in order to open up even more opportunities. The disruptive brands, by definition, will be doing something different than the CPG companies, and that insulates them from being overtaken so easily, especially if they band together.Ditching Customization: Creating a custom experience seems to be all the rage, but by creating a product that meets the needs of many, scaling becomes much easier. With a widely accessible product, you can much more easily sell, produce and ship product with speed.Pick Your Path: If you want to compete online or in retail, you need to be sure that you show up in a way that allows you to stand out. Whether that’s through price, uniqueness of product, the consumers you’re targeting or in your marketing and packaging, there has to be something that makes people stop, look and give your brand a chance.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here. 
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    Making A Taboo Product a Mainstream Success, with the Co-founders of P.S. Condoms

    40:28

    When you’re building a business, the stakes are always high. Now think about building a company based on a product that absolutely has to work 100% of the time and the other competitors in your category have been around for a century and own about 70% of the market. That might seem like a lot of pressure, and you maybe would assume that having to succeed under those circumstances would mean working in a pretty intense environment. But that’s not necessarily the case for P.S. Condoms. The young DTC brand launched its first product in early 2020 and has been steadily building a base of loyal customers ever since. And the co-founders. Rob Seo and Raja Agnani, have made sure to bring some fun and humor to the company along the way.On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, I talked to Rob and Raja about what it’s been like to build P.S. Condoms and why creating a welcoming, open, and fun brand has been critical to the company’s success. Enjoy this episode!Main Takeaways:Bringing Sexy Back: For too long, the idea of what is “sexy” has been co-opted by a few major brands. By creating a company that messages to everyone and encourages them to embrace their individuality, P.S. Condoms has opened up the opportunity to reach more potential customers.Let’s Meet IRL: Most things are better in person or when tried first-hand. When bringing customers into the funnel — especially as a new brand — online channels will only get you so far. Meeting with potential customers at in-person events and giving them samples to use in their everyday lives is the most effective way to get people further into the sales funnel.Keep It Clean But Still Creative: To advertise on the traditional channels, you have to follow certain rules. But those restrictions shouldn’t limit your creativity, they should enhance it. Use the rules placed on you as a creative challenge to find new and more interesting ways to connect with people.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here. 
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    Carpets, Catalogs, and Cutting Edge Tactics with James Pope of FLOR

    47:36

    Catalogs and carpeting are two things that most people think went out of style in the 1990s. But those people are wrong, and FLOR is here to prove it. James Pope is the General Manager at FLOR, and on this episode of Up Next in Commerce, he took me through all the ways that the company is making carpet cool again through their unique, easy-to-install, and beautiful carpet tiles. But, the first question? How to find new customers when your parent company has focused on B2B customers in the past such as office spaces or hotels. Well, as they say, what’s old is new again, and FLOR’s top-performing marketing programs and main entry point for customers is… a catalog. That catalog represents 70% of their consumer demand. Wild. James really dug into the details around how they think about designing their catalogs from front to back, to tracking offline to online attributions, why holdout testing is key, and why the 80/20 rule holds true for almost everything. Plus, stay tuned to hear about FLOR’s second-most successful marketing campaign which might just surprise you... Enjoy!Main Takeaways:Don’t Overcomplicate: Even if you have a unique product or methodology, more often than not, consumers tend to make decisions based on what they know and already like. Try not to get too cute or complicated with how you present your product and instead, just make it easy for consumers to see the value in your product regardless of the way they buy or use it.An Old-School Starting Line: Despite the fact that many companies are digital-first, oftentimes a customer’s starting point with a brand comes from a paper catalog they get in the mail. Brands are missing an opportunity when they ignore the more traditional means of marketing, especially now with over-saturated email inboxes and more consumers working directly from home. Digital marketing is easy to ignore, but everyone checks their mail every day, so you have a much better chance of having an impact there.What’s In A Name?: Turns out a lot. In the search field, customers at FLOR tend to search for the branded product name rather than using generic terms. This means that not only should the website be optimized to accommodate those searches, but that it’s important to pay attention to the names you give products.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here. 
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    The Circular Economy: How Avery Dennison is Closing the Gap Between The Physical and Digital World with Max Winograd, VP of Connected Products

    45:43

    Efficiency, transparency, trust. These are all things that both businesses and consumers crave, but don’t always achieve. Especially not all with one solution. But thanks to digital identities, and the technology that’s coming out of Avery Dennison, that’s about to change. Avery Dennison, a Fortune 500 global materials science company, is taking digital identities past the point of simple QR codes and RFID tags, and into a place where brands and consumers will be able to do more with individual products than ever before. We’re talking about a world where you can track the tiniest details of a product in shipment, like its exact origins to its temperature. And brands will have the ability to create more sustainable, reusable products that can learn from consumers each time they use and scan the digital identifiers, making it possible to adapt to changing consumer behavior in real time. To learn more about this new circular economy, I invited Max Winograd to the show, who serves as the VP of Connected Products at Avery Dennison and one of the founders of atma.io. On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, Max and I talked about all the ways that digital identities are already being used today, and what the future holds in terms of the connected experience that digital identities provide for brands and consumers. There are so many possibilities and upsides to the technology that Max and his team are creating at Avery Dennison, so keep your ears perked up for this awesome conversation! Main Takeaways:Individual Focus: Investments in innovative technology is helping make possible a future that will see consumers more in control of and informed about individual product journeys. Rather than simply tracking an item from the manufacturer to its final destination, consumers can get all the microdetails of a product. So whether you are expecting a shipment of produce or medical supplies and vaccines, Bluetooth, RFID, and other digital identity technology will make it possible to keep an eye on all of the minuscule details, like the temperature of the truck the product is being shipped in.So Long, Single-Use: How we package products is likely to undergo a fundamental change over the next few years. Rather than single-use anything, consumers will be encouraged and ultimately rewarded by having reusable individual containers that have unique digital IDs. So, rather than going to the store to buy a gallon of milk, so can have your own container, scan its QR code or other identifier at your local market, and the backend system will know who you are, what kind of milk you like (skim, oat, almond, etc.) and the exact amount, and will dispense that into your container.A Circle Is Round, It Has No End: Consumers are much more interested in taking part in a circular economy. There is more activity in re-commerce than ever before as customers turn to the resale marketplace. The need for product-level identification becomes crucial here because you can not only trace a product's origins, you can also pass along all of its information in the resale market, including selling it to be recycled and then have the recycled materials continue to be traced all along their journey.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here. 
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    Seeing Clearly: How KITS Co-founder Roger Hardy has found repeated success in the DTC Eyewear Space through a customer-first approach

    42:01

    Imagine this… it’s 1999, and you and your sibling decide to start an ecommerce company with just a phone line, a 14k modem, a ping pong table, and a credit card. You build a website, find a product that has unnecessary margins, and decide to just.. do it better yourself. Feeling bullish on this ending? Well we are. Because that’s exactly what Roger Hardy did when building his first company called Coastal Contacts, which grew to be the world’s largest omni channel eyewear retailer. The success couldn’t be ignored, and soon after, Coastal was acquired. But one part of that sibling duo, Roger Hardy, couldn’t stay away from the eyewear game forever. He re-entered the space in 2019 with his new company, Kits.com, and by the end of 2021 the business will have already eclipsed $100 million in revenue.On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, Roger and I got to chat about some of his secrets to success in the D2C world of eyewear. We dove into the importance of vertical integration, what the link is between a company’s NPS and its valuation, and how to think about hiring if you want to go from 1 to 25 to 100 to 300 and beyond. Enjoy this episode!   Main Takeaways:Who’s In Control?: Vertical integration has been a hallmark of many successful DTC eCommerce companies. When you control all the levers of production, you not only can cut costs and offer customers prices they will love, you also no longer have to worry about delays or logistics problems that otherwise would be out of your control and set you back for untold periods of time.Blend It Together: While you might have an idea of what you want to sell, if you focus only on offering your own premium products, you leave out an entire customer base that might be looking for something a bit different. By offering all kinds of products, you open the door to other customers who might not have found you otherwise. Then, once they are in the funnel, you can blow them away with a quality experience so they keep coming back for more, which is when you can present them with your product options.Beyond Basic: As you begin to scale, there comes a point when you have to think bigger than just hiring to fill roles. Even if the person is smart and a cultural fit, the aim needs to shift to attracting and hiring people who are the best in the world in every department.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here.  

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