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Composable commerce, AI featured at commercetools Elevate

Commercetools GmbH’s inaugural conference, commercetools Elevatewas an opportunity to look at how cutting-edge technologiesspecifically artificial intelligence and machine learning, are impacting commerce.

The event highlighted how the company — which saw a 65% growth in the Americas region last year — and its partners remain committed to simplifying and customizing the user experience through composable commerce and careful use of AI.

“That’s what every end user wants … a more seamless path to purchase. That’s what brands want, as well,” said Shelly Kramer (pictured, left), principal analyst for theCUBE Research, during an analysis of the conference’s keynote presentations. “They want to be able to deliver more quickly, to sell more, to make customers happy, all that sort of thing. So you can’t really lose.”

TheCUBE prepares for exclusive coverage of commercetools Elevate 2024.

As theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, interviewed executives and partners of commercetools, keeping the customer experience at the forefront emerged as the core of the company’s philosophy. (* Disclosure below.)

“What is so clear about commercetools is that it has a way of working that is customer-centric,” said Rebecca Knight (left), theCUBE co-host. “They innovate with the customer in mind. They are looking for partners who feel the same and who do the same thing. That is EPAM and … PayPal.”

Here is theCUBE’s complete keynote analysis:

Here are three insights you might have missed from the event:

1. A new generation requires a different kind of customer experience.

Commerce software companies experienced a lot of growth during the pandemic. Coming out of that seismic shift in how society consumes, they are still figuring out how to best serve a tech-native generation of users, according to Kramer.

“It comes down to two words: speed and simplicity,” she said of Generation Z consumers. “This generation … (doesn’t) have to be inconvenienced in any way.  They know how it should be, and so if we’re not serving up those experiences, maximizing how we can best leverage technology to do that, they’re out.”

Behind the scenes with theCUBE at commercetools Elevate 2024.

Behind the scenes with theCUBE at commercetools Elevate 2024

A seamless user experience across all devices is part of that, believes Dirk Hoerigfounder and chief executive officer of commercetools. The company made further steps toward what he calls “unified commerce” by partnering with PayPal Holdings Inc. to integrate a new feature called Fastlane by PayPalwhich will speed up and simplify the checkout process for customers.

Trust was also a major theme during the keynotes, according to Knight. Despite wanting a more seamless user experience, customers are also looking to safeguard their information.

“What we’ve recognized is that consumers trust PayPal,” said Frank Kellerexecutive vice president and general manager of the Large Enterprise & Merchant Platforms Group at PayPal, in an exclusive interview with theCUBE. “They trust PayPal with that data. We’ve been around for a long time. We’re one of the most trusted brands.”

Many individuals have probably had the experience of wondering, with a little trepidation, how a website knows so much about their preferences. PayPal is trying to walk the tightrope between giving customers the customization they want without unnerving them.

“If we think about in the age of AI, consumers actually want personalization, consumers want that smartness, but they don’t want to get scared,” Keller said. “This is where we are pivoting to how do we transform the PayPal trusted brand, where people trusted us with their financial information, now into the age of data and AI where people trust us with their data.”

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Frank Keller:

2. The commerce industry is shifting focus from B2C to B2B.

Last week, commercetools announced Foundrywhich provides a set of resources for implementing a commerce platform for business-to-customer, and soon, business-to-business customers.

“(Foundry) helps you to gain all the benefits that we and our partner ecosystem are providing around scalability and flexibility but in a very simple and fast way,” said Hoerig, during an interview with theCUBE. “It’s about a preconfigured solution around it that we brought to market, and it makes enterprise commerce that had been complex for more than the last 20 years significantly more simple.”

The company also has a new offering called Blueprint for B2B Manufacturingwhich uses composable commerce to streamline the implementation process for manufacturers setting up commerce platforms.

“Customers are used to certain things in B2C experiences. Now they expect those same things in their B2B experiences,” Kramer said. “We often make the mistake of thinking that B2B is tremendously different from B2C. But the reality of it is, people consume in a lot the same ways, and we have a lot of the same expectations … bringing in a focus on the B2B market really opens the door for the opportunity that is ahead for commercetools.”

The market is evolving quickly as AI tools and advanced customization become a part of digital commerce, but commercetools is ready to meet that challenge.

“Now, we don’t know anymore what’s going on or what to expect within the next six to 12 months. Everything is just spinning faster and faster and faster. But, as a company, it means you need to adapt,” Hoerig said.

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Dirk Hoerig:

3. Composability and customization are providing maximum flexibility.

The baseline approach for commercetool’s new offerings, including Fastlane by PayPal, Foundry and Blueprint for B2B Manufacturing, is composable commerce, which involves interchangeable software components.

“Think of (composable commerce) as little Lego blocks that you can slide in. I don’t need to rip and replace everything that I’ve got right now. I don’t need to redo everything … it meets customers where they are,” said Kramer, during theCUBE’s final event insights segment.

Partners of commercetools range from PayPal, an online payment system, to Ulta Beauty Inc. to PetSmart Inc., all of which require the flexibility that commercetools offers. Both Ulta and PetSmart offer in-store services, such as grooming that are tailored to each customer.

“Being able to put it in a piece-by-piece process … allows us to drive down risk,” said Greg Fancherexecutive vice president and chief information technology Officer at PetSmart, in an interview with theCUBE. “It allows us to ease into making sure that not only does commercetools work, but it works within the context of our environment.”

Modernizing e-commerce operations by making incremental improvements is a key part of commercetools’ appeal, according to Kelly Goeschchief strategy officer of commercetools.

“An all-in-one solution just doesn’t work anymore. It’s very much a best-of-need solution at this point,” he said.

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Greg Fancher:

To watch more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE Research’s coverage of commercetools Elevatehere’s our complete video playlist:

(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the Elevate event. Neither commercetools GmbH, the sponsor of theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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