Salesforce moves forward with controversial NFT Cloud pilot

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Salesforce will move forward with NFT Cloud, a new non-fungible token marketplace, despite employee protests earlier this year.

Salesforce NFT Cloud will be a no-code platform that will allow users to create, manage and sell NFTs, said Adam Caplan, senior vice president of emerging technologies at Salesforce. NFT Cloud is currently in a closed pilot, and Salesforce plans to release it in October.

NFTs are controversial for many reasons, including security concerns, the unregulated nature of NFTs as financial assets, and the impact they have on the environment when paired with the Ethereum blockchain, said John Hughes, NFT technology consultant and CEO of NearMintNFT, a developing marketplace for comic book artists to sell original digital artwork.

These three concerns were raised in a protest letter signed by 400 Salesforce employees last February when Salesforce first went public with its plans for NFT Cloud, Reuters reported. Salesforce did not provide comment to SearchCustomerExperience about its employees’ concerns.

Salesforce NFT Cloud will only support power-efficient blockchain transactions, such as proof-of-stake; it will not support more power-intensive proof-of-work blockchains, the company said. This is in line with longstanding Salesforce claims to support sustainability. While company spokespersons didn’t name which blockchains will be supported when the closed pilot ends, they also said Salesforce has no plans to build its own blockchain.

NFTs come with risks and rewards

The Salesforce NFT employee kerfuffle is a microcosm of what can happen to any company that gets into NFT, Hughes said. Salesforce users who may use NFT Cloud should be prepared to respond to negative accusations associated with NFTs. They will inevitably come.

“I heard them all, [but] if you have legitimate answers to allay fears, people respond,” Hughes said. for the environment.'”

Once a company proves they are an ethical NFT broker that takes security and sustainability into consideration – and makes it a team effort in conjunction with marketing staff – it is possible to be successful with an NFT program, Hughes said. The blockchain platforms that Salesforce chooses to integrate with NFT Cloud will be key in influencing skeptical users, he added. The Solana blockchain, for example, uses about as much energy as two Google searches to create an NFT.

To use NFTs more effectively, Hughes said, Salesforce users should think of NFTs less as collectibles or art assets, and more as the next generation of loyalty programs for their best customers. Built on the blockchain and supported by smart contracts, NFTs can be changed on the fly to change terms – and unlock physical and digital rewards – as customers further engage with a business. Some apparel companies, including Gap and PacSun, have had marketing success with NFTs that pair digital items with real-world apparel.

Businesses and individuals who sell NFTs as assets, such as artists, can also use smart contracts to control resale terms, including the original creator’s share of future resales – a common arrangement. for ownership of NFT.

NFTs will produce more and better data for marketers than apps, sites and loyalty cards, Hughes predicted. Moreover, they offer companies a gateway to the digital worlds where consumers – especially young audiences – are spending more and more time. NFTs become possessions in the digital world.

“It’s real. It sounds like a crazy thing that people want to buy digital art that lives on their phone,” Hughes said. “Anyone under 30 lives on their device.”

Commerce Cloud Updates

News of the upcoming Salesforce NFT Cloud came with several other marketing and e-commerce features in conjunction with Salesforce Connections, a user conference for Salesforce admins and others who manage Salesforce cloud applications in their company. Salesforce collectively calls them “Trailblazers”.

In a pilot project starting this month with a planned release in September, Commerce Cloud users will be able to sell on TikTok by enabling the site as its own sales channel within Commerce Cloud’s social media channels; Salesforce plans to add it to the console alongside other social media apps, such as Snapchat and Instagram. Users will be able to automate catalog product feeds in the TikTok app, as well as measure ad performance and segment audiences for ad retargeting with Pixel TikTok.

“We make it much easier for merchants to engage across all social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. [and create] relevant offers for their customers through automated feeds and curation,” said Scot Gillespie, executive vice president and general manager of Salesforce Commerce Cloud. “Payments, speed and flexibility continue to be essential for our customers.

Salesforce also launched Commerce for Customer Service, a feature set that gives agents a customer’s order history across all channels and enables returns, exchanges, promotions, or complete orders from the sales console. the agent. It is available now. Commerce Marketplace, which allows Salesforce users to create their own marketplaces to sell their own items alongside other companies’ products, will be released in September.

Don Fluckinger covers enterprise content management, CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce, customer service, and enabling technologies for TechTarget.

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