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Salesforce 200x140Customer-relationship management giant Salesforce today announced Lightning Customer Community, describing it as an extension of its Community Cloud service that lets companies better connect with their customers. The offering includes new components that Salesforce said let companies drag and drop a shopping cart into their community-based website and mobile apps, and lets them sync customer data.

Lightning Customer Community also includes new, customizable themes; provides insights into customer purchasing patterns; allows the inclusion of automated recommended articles and answers to questions in response to customer searches; provides the ability to embed videos and images similar to Facebook feeds; and allows customizing content based on a customer’s searches. Lightning Customer Community is generally available at no extra charge with the purchase of a Community Cloud license.

The new features are part of Salesforce’s vision of helping its customers create online communities of buyers or users, linking them to each other and helping to strengthen loyalty to the customer’s brand. But that vision is hardly Salesforce’s alone. Salesforce is currently the third most popular vendor of community-building software, behind Jive and SharePoint, according to the 2016 State of Community Management report. Also active in the space are Lithium, Slack, Yammer, Higher Logic, IBM Connections and Atlassian Confluence, the report said. Other competitors include open-source vendors Drupal and Joomla!

Community Cloud users include GE Aviation, Toyota and spirits vendor Brown-Forman.

A screenshot of Service Wave (via Salesforce)

Salesforce also extended its Wave Analytics line with two new analytics apps aimed at customer-service and IT workers: Service Wave and Event-Monitoring Wave. Service Wave automatically populates with data from Service Cloud, allowing service teams to respond quickly to changing situations, Salesforce said. It tracks performance indicators such as average handling time and provides users with complete data about their customers.

Event-Monitoring Wave, a new part of Salesforce Shield, shows customers how Salesforce apps are being used, including where and when users are accessing information and how they’re using it, Salesforce said. It includes 15 pre-built dashboards and visualizations. Event-Monitoring Wave is included at no extra charge with the purchase of Event Monitoring or Salesforce Shield.

[Editor’s Note: Salesforce is a GeekWire annual sponsor.]

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