Episode 105: B2C Digital Trends with Natalija Pavic | Salesforce Developers Podcast

Natalija Pavic is an Industry Solution Leader for Commerce Cloud. Today I talk with her about the digital trends she is seeing in B2C. We also discuss the Salesforce partners who are implementing these trends.

After being “headhunted” by Salesforce for five years, Natalija finally joined us in 2016. Now, she is part of the go-to marketing team and, as her husband says, works on the stuff that doesn’t exist yet. Tune in to hear more about her experiences in this role and learn about where technology is driving the future of B2C.

Show Highlights:

  • The correlation between high-performing companies and those that are leveraging digital experiences.
  • What contextual commerce is.
  • The solutions that Threekit is useful for.
  • How to balance in-person sales and human interaction with the ease of digital connection.
  • What live shopping is.
  • How virtual storefronts work.
  • Shout-outs to some of the current digital trends.

Links:

Episode Transcript

Natalija Pavic:
I worked at IBM, I worked at Cision, which is a PR company, and finally I ended up at Salesforce and Salesforce had actually been headhunting me for five years. So I finally joined in 2016.

Josh Birk:
That is Natalija Pavic, industry solution leader for commerce cloud. I’m Josh Birk, your host with the Salesforce Developers Podcast and here on the podcast, you’ll hear stories and insights from developers for developers. Today, we sit down and talk with Nat about digital trends that she is seeing in B2C and various Salesforce partners that are implementing them. But we start, as we often do with her early years, following up from that quote about how Salesforce had been headhunting her for five years.

Natalija Pavic:
No, it was for, I would say, less experienced sales position so they were really headhunting me for business development and at the time I was an Accounts Executive and I thought that’s not the position that I want, but I was looking at a way to move from pure sales into something more technical because that’s where I started and I really wanted to be a solution engineer. It was basically five years of them saying, “Would you like to be a BDR?” And I was “No, but can I be a solution engineer?” And they would say “No, you don’t have the experience.” And so I was back and forth, back and forth until I said “Okay, fine, I’ll come in as an account executive.” And then the moment I landed, I was like how do I become an SE? So, I just moved pretty quickly, 10 months in from account executive to solution engineer so I could get in front to build demos and all that jazz.

Josh Birk:
Got it. How would you describe your current job?

Natalija Pavic:
Maybe I’ll describe it how my husband describes it, which is working stuff that doesn’t exist yet. So, I went from being a solution engineer and really working on a lot of things. I always tell people there are only two products that I haven’t demoed, which is MuleSoft and Tableau, but now I have to add Slack to that list and I think more years that go on, I’ll have to add more products to that list, but I’ve spent some time in the marketing cloud team, the retail team, the healthcare team selling platform experience cloud. I spent three years in commerce cloud and at some point just because I know all of our products pretty well, I started working on automotive industry specific solutions and finally I joined the Go to market team and this is a new position.

Natalija Pavic:
So, we’re the only Go to market team at Salesforce that is product focused, all of the other Go to market teams are industry focused and we are headed by our SVP Robert DeSisto, who is actually the Gartner Analyst that puts Salesforce into Quadrant at Gartner for 20 years. So, it’s a very exciting team to be on.

Josh Birk:
All right. Nice. Well, I think today we are talking about things that do exist. You have this presentation about Trends in 2020 and then now 2021, which has been a really interesting time for B2C solutions.

Natalija Pavic:
[Mm-Hmm affirmative 00:03:07].

Josh Birk:
You’re showing this high correlation of high performing companies and those that were leveraging digital experience. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Natalija Pavic:
So, one of the things that I did look into is how much really is possible today. So, not so much having one complete out of the box solution, but what are the partners that we can tap in our current ecosystem to compliment and augment what companies can do today? Not just retailers but really any industry going direct to consumer. We recently released a state of e-commerce report and we found that the pandemic has shifted basically what enterprises are doing, we’re losing that in person experience and we’re wanting to move that online. So, a lot of high performing corporations are moving into VR, AR, social, they’re moving into contextual commerce and I thought how neat when we have partners in our ecosystem that can help our customers achieve that next gen transformation. And so, through my work in automotive I had been in touch with quite a few innovative companies and I thought to put that together. You’d be surprised live shopping is $16 billion industry in China and it’s just starting up here, but that’s capabilities that we have out of the box with our ecosystem and maybe not a lot of people know that.

Josh Birk:
Well, I’m going to say, I’m not even sure right now exactly what live streaming is, but let’s put a pin on that because I want to actually touch on a phrase that you just used and you said there’s a high percentage, like 88% of people who are leveraging what you describe as contextual commerce. What exactly is contextual commerce?

Natalija Pavic:
So when you go from in person to online shopping, you lose a lot of the quote unquote context of what you’re buying and why. You’re moving from a place where you get to experience and discover and be delighted to a grid where all of the objects are the same in a square box. Some of the industries that we’re seeing moving direct to consumer for the first time are more on the complex side. So we’re seeing everything from appliances to furniture, to cars, to manufacture, selling really specialized gear, moving online. And those kinds of things require more information for consumers to make a decision. And so contextual commerce is anything that helps a customer make a decision based on seeing it in VR or having access to a sales associate online. So they can [crosstalk 00:05:42] bridge [crosstalk 00:05:43] the gap. And even conveniences like curbside pickup and pay now or sort of buy now pay later type of scenarios, anything facilitates the purchase.

Josh Birk:
So I think that actually kind of answers my next question slash like something that just came up when I was going through the presentation, because as notable examples, it’s everything from gaming to like curbside pickup but what you’re saying is that the context we’re talking about here is anything that helps replace that lack of an in store in person experience something that can put that back into the user’s hands to successfully do B2C.

Natalija Pavic:
We lost context and now we’re gaining it back. Exactly.

Josh Birk:
Now talking very broad terms. How would you describe the Salesforce ecosystem when it comes to this kind of solutions?

Natalija Pavic:
There’s two types of Salesforce partners. There are partners that build on the platform and then partners that provide cartridges and plugins into our ecosystem. We have a really, really rich set of partners who are very excited to work with us and whom we are delighted to have. And we’re constantly building and adding more partners, more solutions, and really enriching that ecosystem. It’s just really fantastic for our customers to have access to that, especially when it’s so plug and play. You install it. I’ve been working on some of these demos, I’m working with some, we have a team of demo engineers who helps us build it. And some of them have never worked in commerce before, and they literally install these cartridges and stand up the solution in like two days and, and like a single person. So that’s always flabbergasting for me.

Josh Birk:
That almost seems like could make the demo engineer slightly bored.

Natalija Pavic:
You’d think so but I think the fun part for them is whenever I throw something new at them and they finish with the AR and VR. I’m like, great. Now it’s time for you to learn how to install, live shopping. They’re like, thanks, Nats.

Josh Birk:
Nice. Okay. Let’s talk a little bit about AR and VR company being three kit. It looks like that’s 3d model and kit with connectors back to Salesforce. What kind of solutions is that used for?

Natalija Pavic:
And three kit is just one of our partners. You know, we have it, sort of depends on the flavor. I would say three of the big ones that we have is three kit, zero light and unity and I can speak to all three in their differentiation. Three kit is, so think of three kit as you have an item and you can render it in your space, so it has AR functionality. You don’t need goggles or anything. You can just see it on your phone. You can also turn it, they have this fantastic new furniture application that they launch where the app can actually measure your space and tell you the couch has certain dimensions to it. And what’s great is that all goes back into our product catalog or data attribute its connected, and so it can say, this couch is actually 61 inches wide or 86 inches wide, it’s not going to fit in your space. Maybe you want to take a look at the following. And, so they actually have a size that they’ve recently released. They’re also doing a lot of, some of the customers they have are golf customers being able to visualize what that looks like. It’s, it’s really Fascinating.

Josh Birk:
Like being on the golf course itself.

Natalija Pavic:
I don’t think it’s on the golf course, but it’s being able to see the golf club.

Josh Birk:
Oh, oh, gotcha. Gotcha.

Natalija Pavic:
And that kind is all I know about golf.I wouldn’t ask me anymore about that.

Josh Birk:
I went into the instantly video game mode where I’m like, Hey, let me get to play on this golf course. That’d be awesome.

Natalija Pavic:
You still have to buy something Joshua.

Josh Birk:
That is, that is the goal. That is the goal. They have the configurator and the virtual photographer and I was wondering what the differences are like what are those two things?

Natalija Pavic:
The virtual photographer is, I think it’s really kind of apparel driven is what would it look like on you and or with different combinations, so if you want to pair this t-shirt with these pants and you want to mix and match, that would be the ideal for the virtual photographer.

Josh Birk:
Gotcha. And the configurator,

Natalija Pavic:
The configurator, it’s like, you give it parameters. So let’s say you want the chair in red, it’s going to render the color red and you can also see it from all angles, et cetera.

Josh Birk:
I find the furniture one interesting because I always say there’s like three great things about the internet that Josh predicted wrong and one was like YouTube. Cause I didn’t think anybody would ever have the bandwidth to like watch videos all the on the internet.

Natalija Pavic:
How dare you make that mistake? No, gosh. It was so behind.

Josh Birk:
I was very end at the time. That’s all I can say. One was Twitch because I don’t think if you were told 23 year old me that he could have just quit his job and come played video games all day for a couple a million dollars. Not that I don’t think I’d ever be that good, but that sounded crazy. But the third one while I was working for a furniture company, thinking that people would actually buy furniture online was I thought completely insane. And now, we’ve got to. It’s just like, I had actually worked in a furniture store like selling the furniture itself, not on the backend. Like I was when I was making this prediction and building the website to sell the things. And it’s just like, I saw so many people being so picky about sitting on every single piece of furniture and then even then like not buying anything. And I’m like, if they’re that picky, then how are they going to buy something from one webpage though.

Natalija Pavic:
I think a lot of these are, you’re not only buying online. There’s a lot of mixed experiences you might be going in store. Like I’ve been looking at a couch if I can make a confession for about two years and it’s just ridiculous. I’ll go there. I’ll sit on it. I’ll go home. I’ll look at it online. And you go back and forth. So it’s not so much just starting online and finishing online. It’s maybe starting in store and then completing your purchase online when you’re ready to get it.

Josh Birk:
Which is kind of interesting. Cause I almost feel like that’s the reverse of what we’re talking about. What you’re actually doing there is removing the context of a salesperson, you never have to talk to a salesperson. You never have to go check anything out. You just do it all online in a few clicks.

Natalija Pavic:
But some, but you also want to give consumer’s choice. We have a lot of partners. For example, band users is a great one that can really help sales people enter into this digital world, cause something that I hear a lot from customers is especially in automotive, we don’t want everything to be online because then our sales reps don’t have an opportunity to sell to the customer. And the reality is we don’t want to delete the sales reps, there will still be some people who have a lot of questions like me, who do need to talk to somebody and we want to empower the sales reps, and give them the digital tools to interact with customers online. And so what Bambuser is doing is actually creating a two way feed, connecting that to your product, so they can share the session and through commerce, they can order on behalf of the customer, they can walk the customer through the application process. They can suggest products and literally send them skews so that the customer doesn’t have to spend time wondering where that car is, or where that item is or if it’s the right one. So we don’t want to erase humanity for the process. We’re just kind of giving everyone more tools to connect digitally. That’s the reality that we’re in right now. Right?

Josh Birk:
Got it. Now Bambuser also does the livestream shopping live shopping. Walk the old man in me through this. What is this?

Natalija Pavic:
Absolutely. So, think of it’s almost like TikTok where people can join a live show and they can start commenting. The difference is that it’s not dependent on a specific browser. You don’t need zoom. You don’t need to go to webinar. It’s actually insite experience. So it’s all out of the box. So you can turn on, live shopping for your brand, on top of that, it’s connected to commerce. So you can pre prepare the products or share the products. The sales associate can share the products that they’re highlighting during the live stream and people can buy while they’re looking at the live stream. So I’ve gone through this. Just to make sure like a personal confession. As I recently was doing my hair all wrong and I was watching these TikTok like ladies being like, is your hair lifeless? I’m like, yes. Is it dry? Yes. You should be using these products and you actually have wavy hair. I wish I could have just bought those products from them. I wish I could have just been there, bought those products. Instead I had to walk to my local pharmacy and figure it out. And so Bambuser will allow your brand to just complete close the loop, go from discovery to in your call, it’s on your doorstep. Now you have beautiful hair

Josh Birk:
And that’s, what’s already 160 billion dollar industry in check.

Natalija Pavic:
Let me double check that. I’m wondering if I was like, yes, it is 160. I was like, that can’t be right. No. But it is. I was like, is it 1.6? Is it one? Is it 160? It’s actually $161 billion. Wow.

Josh Birk:
Wow. I also think I’m in wrong line of work Right now.

Natalija Pavic:
You got to get your Twitch account. You got to partner up with a video game industry. You got to sell those games online, man.

Josh Birk:
There you go. Well now talking about influencers, there’s also something called Plaza and it kind of allows influencers to sort of utilize their social in order to have been their own storefront. Am I even saying that remotely correct?

Natalija Pavic:
So you are so, And Plaza’s a really exciting company. I think they’re run by 15 people. Some of these partners I’m shocked at how few employees they have. Yes. And they hail from Barcelona or as they’ve corrected me multiple times Barcelona. I actually did ask this and this is how, what they confirmed and, and their logo is fantastic. Little symbol they have in their Pirate, what Italian would call the Pirates, which is what, where the word Plaza comes from, so it means meeting place. And you know, it’s funny because we, I recently did a market research survey. It was like totally a gorilla survey. But what I found was that, I think we did this with the help of one of our interns, but she found that consumers do not find influencers very trustworthy. They’re very wary when somebody recommends a product that they may be sponsored or they might be recommending it because they’re paid to do so. And so what’s interesting with Plaza is that instead of just purely looking at influencers, there’s a fine line between a social influencer who is sponsored to sell a product and an influencer that genuinely loves a product. And, or maybe a specialist or an expert that isn’t an influencer, but is maybe like your hair stylist. Let’s say you were talking to your hair stylist and I don’t know why everything in my life is about my hair, Joshua, but it is. And here we are, you’re talking to your hair stylist and they say, you should really use this shampoo. Okay, cool. Where do I get it? How do I buy it? Do I have to pay you? What’s going on?

Natalija Pavic:
So, or maybe like a natural path, who’s like, you should be taking these vitamins. And it’s like, which ones I forgot. So they, what we provide these specialists experts in trusted influences with is, their own store. They have their own store and then Plaza calculates rev share and commissions. And they can even have their own special pricing. So they’re not just being like, use my coupon code and hopefully you get 20% off. It’s like, no, you land on their site. And it is already 20% off before you buy it. It’s really cool.

Josh Birk:
Okay. So first of all, that study saying that some people don’t trust influencers because they don’t know if they’re being that like, or heartens me, it warms my heart because that’s how I feel about all social media influencers. And I’ve always been confused as to why they have these like multimillion dollar businesses. And so it sounds like influencer might not even be the right word, but like the closer they are to an expert, they can use that trusted expertise to not just recommend products, but also give insight in those products.

Natalija Pavic:
And I think it has the lack of trust, and I think this is a study where we focus really on gen Z. And we always talk about, especially at Salesforce, we always talk about like influencers and affiliate marketing and blah, blah. The reality is the new generation is very aware of these tactics. They are not blind to them. And so I think ultimately it’s almost like you you’d almost trust a sales associate more because they’re clearly a sales associate. They’ve mark themselves. As they’re honest, they’re saying I’m selling you stuff. And so it doesn’t just have to be for an influencer, certainly can be. But then we also want to make it for people who genuinely do want to refer a specific product, do like a specific product. And also people who are just experts at what they do. Right. And, and they’re doing these shows because they know these products very well.

Josh Birk:
Right. Now talking a little bit more about out products in general, there’s things like obsessed, which help create a virtual storefront, what kind of virtual storefront like that look like?

Natalija Pavic:
So, I’ll send you a link to the Ralph Lauren virtual walkthrough, but think of you’re opening up Google maps, since this is a voice medium, I can do a demo, but imagine you’re opening up Google maps and you can walk down the street except you’re in a store and you can walk down the lane way and down the hallway and you can go in between the aisles and all. So you’re walking through the store and you are also then therefore seeing items on the rack. Right. So you’re having that kind of experience of discovery.

Josh Birk:
Okay. Cause I was curious to ask, like, whenever I’ve seen solutions like this, which I’ve tried to recreate the real world to a certain level of detail, I’ve always tried to compare it to the speed of a normal, like product catalog, right? Like just being able to search and then go through search results and go to a product as opposed to actually being able to walk down the hall. So, but it sounds like the advantage to this is you’re literally browsing and you can see multiple products at once and then like kind navigate to the one you wanr.

Natalija Pavic:
And actually people tend to buy more. They spend more money. Because they, and there’s different kinds of buyers. So you might be the type of buyer that you really only go shopping for something when you need it. There’s also buyers that want to be inspired. They want to discover something and they might be walking down the aisle and seeing things that they know are going to fit well on them. And they’ll end up actually buying something that they, that they didn’t plan to buy. And, and also by the way, obsess is one of our newer partners. So they’re still onboarding, but I there’s great promise. They did a demo for me where, you could do a completely immersive experience. They also could do render a sales assistant inside the experience. So it’s like marrying it with a Bambuser functionality. And then on top of that, they can also create any environment. So it doesn’t have to be limited to an existing storefront. Got it. So they have these imagined storefronts that brands have created these immersive experiences.

Josh Birk:
Nice. Nice. Now, one of the ones that fascinated me was Evie, which I don’t know, calling it a conversational AI sounds like it feels like it’s going to be very easy to undersell Evie given.

Natalija Pavic:
oh yes.

Josh Birk:
What I was seeing. So don’t slice, so sell Evie to me properly.

Natalija Pavic:
Okay. So a lot of experience the people have with bots. And I think the Einstein bought in, including if I could compare and contrast this to the Einstein bot. I wouldn’t say Evie isn’t the replacement for Einstein, Evie is more of a way to make Einstein smarter. So Einstein does things like you can go and you can design the prompts, you get suggestions for what the prompts should be and you create more prompts. But the reality is it’s a very click here, click there, et cetera, experience the difference with Evie is that she’s actively training with every response. So she’s actually has built in machine learning. And so this is something that you might want to augment with, and she also has access to external systems. So she will be able to check your calendar against it.

Natalija Pavic:
Let’s say you’re booking an oil change. And you’ve you are a dealer and you’re using Evie so Evie has access to your calendar and booking system. Through APIs, Evie can also access your calendar if you give that permission. So what she can do is she can automatically find the most common time. So the whole booking process, she can solve that. She can split checks at a restaurant, which is, I know, right. She’s a rocket scientist basically. So it’s like, I would say next level, conversational AI, like long form and understanding, and this leads back to contextual commerce. And because she has open APIs, she can collect payment. Right. So she can connect to, to the commerce platform, use your credit card on file. I think that she, something like this is, is, is going to be much more relevant moving forward as people look to move and create this personal concierge experience online.

Josh Birk:
One of the ones in the presentation, I thought that was impressive. Was a mom not being sure if I want to say it was dressed for jacket was right for her daughter. And Evie invited, offered to text a friend of her, daughter’s their opinion to see what they thought, which

Natalija Pavic:
Is the part where you worry about her becoming sentient.

Josh Birk:
A little bit, because that feels like a very human concept to do. And for, for her to kick that off of a natural response of something like, I’m not sure if this is right for my daughter. Like if that’s real, that’s that’s, I won’t say scary Jeff yet, but that’s, that’s, that’s fairly impressive.

Natalija Pavic:
No, Evie’s, Evie’s a great conver and EV’s created by Conversica. I will say it’s a great product now. I, I think they’re built in they’re you can launch them on the Salesforce platform. So it’s really great.

Josh Birk:
Got it. Okay. Well, any current solutions that I am not thinking of right now that you want to give a shout out

Natalija Pavic:
To? I think I just want to mention predicts spring. So predict spring is a POS system and I’ll mention mad mobile as well. So I’ll do two, I’ll do two shadows. So, okay. Predict spring was founded by an next Googler. It’s actually inspired by the Salesforce architecture. So it’s a POS system that can be a design using point and click. Okay. So think of being able to use experience cloud to build your POS look, I feel got it. It’s really cool. And, and that means that you can do all kinds of things like creating financing applications or creating joint configurators, and it’s connected to CRM. So the store associates can have access to CRM. Hmm. And, and they can, and it also takes cash, which is always important. Right. So, and then mad mobile is great because we partnered with them to create a restaurant solution.

Natalija Pavic:
So we are, what we’re doing is you, instead of having a physical menu, there’s a QR code, you scan it. And instead of it taking you to a PDF, it takes you to an application and you can actually go and place your order in the app, submit it to your cart. That’s how the chef staff gets it. And what’s key here is we know post pandemic there, people haven’t really returned to their restaurant jobs. Some of them have maybe moved out of the city. There are fewer, less talent, fewer people it’s difficult to get service. And so we find that there’s going to be a lot. We, we think there’s going to be a lot of innovation in the restaurant space, because there’s a lot of room there for improvement. For sure. Got it.

Josh Birk:
I, I will have to say one of the recent innovations we’ve seen at least here in Chicago, most of my friends at door, it’s the, the QR code on the table that you can just point out and then, and then you just get the menu and every fine, I will point out my wife hates it because she never has her phone on her.

Natalija Pavic:
That’s funny. So,

Josh Birk:
So pie in the sky question for you, is there stuff on the horizon that hasn’t like actually materialized yet that you’re interested in?

Natalija Pavic:
absolutely. So I think one of the things that we’re seeing is this , of convergence towards group shopping, I think this might be a next big idea is there’s a lot of situations in which you want to ask somebody for advice on what you’re buying a car is a great example. You never buy a car on your own. Like I, I never go in on my own for sure. Furniture is another great example. I I have friends who create inspirational boards and ask me for advice about it. I would definitely, even those of us who are artistically inclined I’ve even made the odd decorating fiasco purple curtain, as I recall, created some drama at home. It’d be great. You know, if you think about merging some of these items together, what if I thought of like, what if amalgamating obsessed with three kit and being able to visualize different variations of your layout, if you’re decorating and then being able to invite a decorator to your session and then being able to give you recommendations, share airing the session, being able to add to a wishlist up, voting down voting.

Natalija Pavic:
There’s a lot of interest in that. And I, I think that that’s something that actually we could develop here at Salesforce because I, I think it would be a really good place for slack to play into slack is a open platform. It has APIs. We can create in-app messaging. We can start sharing items like products from commerce. So I think group shopping is going to go the way of gaming. You know, it’s, it’s very, we’re shopping individually, but we’re might be going multiple MMO, right. Multiplayer online.

Josh Birk:
And that’s our show now, before we go, I did ask after Nat’s favorite, not technical hobby and like many of our guests, she had trouble picking.

Natalija Pavic:
That is a hard question. I have so many hobbies as you are aware. Yes. I don’t know where to start. Well, I’m very much into art. My, my parents are both painters, so I do a lot of, I make art. I do a lot of reading. I do some writing. I do a lot of reading. Actually. I like running. the list goes on. I don’t know what my favorite it’s so hard to pick a favorite. Maybe I would say like overall, I, I think what drives me stories, I love consuming and telling stories. And this is why I’m a big bake to film, bake to books. Just anything that has a story that touches me. I love it.

Josh Birk:
I want to thank Nat for the great conversation and information and it’s always, I want, thank you for listening. Now, if you want to learn more about this show, head on over to developer.salesforce.com/podcast, where you can hear old episodes, see the show notes and it links to your favorite podcast. Thanks again, everybody. And I’ll talk to you next week.