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Finger on the Pulse is a series where we explore the major trends shaping business technology. In each post, you’ll learn from our key partners and their perspective on an industry trend through the lens of their unique business. Recently, we explored how businesses can expand into new business models and revenue streams. In this interview, the focus is unlocking digital transformation to meet consumer expectations. 

Growing consumer expectations

Digital transformation is a tall order at the top of every organization’s to-do list. But what’s driving this trend that’s disrupting industries and redefining business models? 

There’s an endless list of initiatives that outline how businesses can act on digital transformation, but the why always leads back to the customer. Are consumer expectations at the center of your digital transformation strategy? A Salesforce report reveals that 73% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. Similarly, 85% of consumers expect consistency across touch points. 

MuleSoft and Salsify built the Salsify Connector to help companies build the rich, cohesive buying journeys that have become table stakes for conversion. The connector enables a single source of truth for product, uniting all the product data and content from upstream systems in a centrally-governed platform. This gives brands the flexibility to seamlessly enrich and distribute product information across the digital shelf, the collection of digital touch points that shoppers encounter on their buying journeys.

Find out how brands are tapping into digital transformation to meet consumer expectations for seamless product experiences in this conversation with John Federman, Chief Corporate Development Officer at Salsify.  

Can you speak about Salsify’s relationship with the Salesforce ecosystem? How did this MuleSoft partnership come to be? 

When we were looking for an iPaaS (integration platform as a service) partner, MuleSoft was a natural fit. Not only did we already have mutual customers using both systems to drive better experiences on the digital shelf, but we also shared a commitment to the success of our partners and customers. It’s clear that the teams at MuleSoft care deeply about the value they bring to digital transformation.

Like Salsify, MuleSoft and the broader Salesforce family embrace a culture of trusting one another to solve problems creatively. As we began working together to bring the Salsify Connector to life, it felt like one unified team rather than separate teams across two different businesses. 

The value we deliver goes even further when customers connect Salsify to their Salesforce ecosystem with the Accelerator for Retail or Accelerator for Consumer Goods. The Accelerator for Retail enriches touch points like sales and service with detailed product information, so teams can offer the personalized buying journeys and post-selling support their consumers expect. With the Accelerator for Consumer Goods, brands can streamline promotional planning to get better results from their trade promotions. 

Tell us about the challenges companies face in terms of creating a digital ecosystem that’s fit for evolving consumer expectations. 

Consumers want a smooth transition across the buying journey, whether they’re interacting with your product on your e-commerce site, social media page, at a brick-and-mortar store, or through your retail partner.

Many of our customers struggle to deliver seamless experiences because they’re managing a network of systems that don’t inform one another. This creates incongruencies in product information at different consumer touchpoints, which manifests as friction in the buying process.

These companies are essentially managing a tangled ball of yarn made up of all the technology that supports the product experience. Some systems are homegrown and only designed for departmental scale, while others are limited to a particular region or currency. So you can imagine how getting them to speak the same language can be a challenge.

For example, we recently worked with a global CPG manufacturer with a fragmented, manual approach to product information management, including 30 different enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms. When they recognized that many of their disconnected business teams were using similar processes and data, they saw an opportunity to untangle the complexity with a centrally-governed tech stack.

By using MuleSoft to automate data transfer from the upstream ecosystem to Salsify, the company lifted those silos between systems and business teams. Now, they have a single source of record that reuses workflows, expedites time-to-market, streamlines collaboration, and ensures that consumers always have the latest validated product information. 

How do Salsify and MuleSoft join forces to help companies overcome the challenges you described?

Salsify and MuleSoft offer a more holistic approach to product information management by uniting all product data in a central system that has true relevance. This gives companies global control of a product’s messaging and presentation across every interaction point, laying the foundation for smooth transitions in the consumer’s journey. 

Suppose you’re on a product page and the image carousel shows a jacket you want to purchase in black. If you find out later that the black version of the jacket is actually out of stock, you’re going to be disappointed. 

That disconnect in availability doesn’t happen when data flows freely between the back-end inventory management system and Salsify. The black jacket wouldn’t even be featured in the product image carousel because Salsify signals that it’s out of stock across all of your distribution channels. 

When you consider the richness of that capability alongside the API-led MuleSoft ecosystem, it’s easy to see how transformative the Salsify Connector can be. It eliminates reliance on older, less secure methods of data transfer. MuleSoft’s first-class security standards and Salsify’s capabilities surrounding data governance, process auditing, and user authorizations give teams the balance of autonomy and peace of mind they need to manage product data with confidence.

Because Salsify and MuleSoft empower brands to deliver accurate, real-time product information across the digital shelf in a secure, scalable way, our mutual customers can deliver product experiences that are both cohesive and dynamic. 

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How does the MuleSoft and Salsify partnership help businesses understand their customers and meet their expectations for seamless experiences?

We worked closely with MuleSoft to launch the Accelerator for Retail. This collection of APIs enables our customers to enrich Customer 360 profiles with detailed product data that adds even more specificity to personalized touchpoints. 

If a company is using these technologies to support its service operation, product information from a customer’s previous purchase can now flow from Salsify into the service platform, arming the service rep with a more complete picture of the situation at hand. 

Because the product information is readily available, the service rep can see the exact model the customer purchased, including its precise features and functionalities, to offer more nuanced service. This level of specificity also opens doors for upselling and cross-selling opportunities. 

Ultimately, the partnership between Salsify and MuleSoft empowers businesses to align digital transformation with a buying journey that keeps customers coming back. Each customer touchpoint on that journey is more impactful than a single moment in time because when an experience is that much better, it paves the way for loyalty and lifetime value. 

Learn more about the Salsify Connector and the MuleSoft Accelerator for Retail on Anypoint Exchange.