This is the ‘golden age of shopping’ where customer experience is replaced by personalized customer experience. It is the age of connected retail experience, customer loyalty, unification of commerce, and an age where retailers are required to deliver a complete and immersive experience that consumers love.
The retail industry is going through a massive transformation, and Salesforce, with its ingenious retail solutions, have worked as linchpins for several modern retail companies.
This article showcases how Salesforce is helping retail businesses to innovate, keep customers’ needs on top of their minds, and swiftly achieve online goals. We have divided this article into two sections. The first section looks at some of the inventive features of Salesforce through the eyes of two world-renowned brands, Adidas and Rituals Cosmetics; while the second section lists out four innovative Salesforce retail tools designed to reshape modern retail businesses.
Let’s get started.
Salesforce helps Adidas to stay ahead of the game
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Adidas has come out as a trailblazer in implementing the most advanced, up-to-date, and bespoke retail solutions to stay a step ahead of their competitors. By adopting Salesforce retail solutions into their business model they were able put their customers/shoppers right at the centre of their business.
“Today’s customers prefer to start their journey digitally”
More than their physical stores, Adidas’s website, coupled with the Salesforce solutions, works as an important axle in delivering a truly digital and immersive experience to its customers.
By investing in a set of useful Salesforce suites such as Commerce Cloud and Service Cloud, Adidas was able to upscale their customer service experience and understand their consumers better.
With Salesforce Service Cloud, Adidas is able to equip its massive 1,100 care agents to deliver faster and smarter service in any format their consumers prefer (email, phone, web and social) – all under a single application. As a result, Adidas is able to deliver efficient customer service that is more personalized and convenient.
The shift from traditional brick-and-mortar platform to the digital commerce using Salesforce solution had enormous implications for Adidas in keeping up with the fast-changing preferences of today’s customers. During the recent holiday season, in US alone, Adidas was able to see a significant share of revenue from the millennial shoppers, almost everyone of whom prefer to shop online. For Adidas, the Salesforce solution was not a mere addition, it proved to be an investment with tremendous edge for growth.
In an industry like retail, establishing quick customer relationships is not so easy as it is said. But with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adidas is able to rapidly form business relationship with shoppers from any corner of the world. Commerce Cloud allows them to collect valuable insights like, who are their existing customers? Where they are from? What they are interested in? And so on. Using these individual insights of customers, Adidas can create, customize and deliver relevant products remarkably faster.
When Adidas says ‘putting consumers at the centre of its business’, it really means it. By allowing consumers to build custom products with the help of Salesforce solutions, Adidas became a true trailblazer in turning their customers into ‘co-creators’ of their brand products.
The best part is that the commerce, service and marketing solutions of Salesforce can be seamlessly interconnected to provide a powerful and complete digital interface.
By 2016, a time of unrelenting competition among retailers, Adidas, powered by Salesforce, reported that it was able to achieve a 59% increase in ecommerce sale globally.
Rituals Cosmetics was able to deliver pure digital experiences and combine content with commerce effectively using Salesforce
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Right from the moment Rituals Cosmetics was born, somewhere in Amsterdam in year 2000, it seems it had a pretty clear idea about what it was going to be – not just to sell products, but to sell experiences, unique and personalized customer experiences. Salesforces retail solutions are actually crafted to give consumers exactly that kind of experience.
When it comes to offering personalized experiences (online and offline), Rituals Cosmetics has taken full advantage of Salesforce retail solutions.
“In my job, there are two things that are important – People and technology. With Salesforce, we can enrich both functional and emotional elements of the shopper experience. It helps us to deliver those ‘wow’ moments on our digital channels” – Martijn van der Zee, Digital Director.
Cherry-pick features and seamlessly integrate
Salesforce retail solutions are highly flexible where it allows its customers to cherry-pick features and seamlessly integrate them with other systems. Rituals has proved this feasibility by integrating Salesforce with Google Analytics 360 and Google Cloud Platform to gain a holistic view of every customer across all channels.
Using Salesforce Success Cloud, Rituals was able to redesign its website, optimize the checkout process and simplify the inventory management.
International expansion made easy
Retail businesses always aim for worldwide expansion, and their need for imprinting their online presence in various countries is highly crucial. Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a reliable platform, which allows retail businesses to develop and launch new websites in different countries with local features. And this can done alongside your existing platform until you are ready to switch to the new design – a process that will take just a few minutes. With this functionality you can go on an international expansion mode just when you wanted.
Lightning Platform is another Salesforce platform where you can quickly create and deploy next-generation cloud apps – without any need for servers and software.
Leveraging the power of AI and Salesforce DMP (Data Management Platform)
Stunning websites are just one aspect of attracting new customers, however, Salesforce goes much beyond in offering a wide range of impactful features to influence your target audience. Salesforce DMP is one such brilliant feature, which employs data science to help reach out to your yet-to-discover individuals. And then you can seek out to new market prospects with profiles similar to your existing customers and introduce your best range of products to them.
Or you can take advantage of Einstein, an advanced AI tool, to make product recommendations to your online buyers to help people discover new products and services. The Salesforce DMP and Einstein both helps in building powerful brand experiences and to escalate customer engagement to a whole new level.
By harnessing these innovative Salesforce features Ritual Cosmetics was able to launch new functionality in a matter of just weeks (as opposed to months) and was able to gain the much-needed agility, achieve scalability, and stay competitive.
Four innovative Salesforce Retail Tools
It is clear that ‘Personalized experiences’ are instrumental for today’s retail businesses in strengthening customer retention and fueling overall business growth. In the early 2018, Salesforce announced four new tools to aid retailers in delivering a more connected and personalized shopping experiences across various channels like commerce, marketing and customer service.
To that effect, here are the four inventive Salesforce retail tools for today’s connected retailers.
- Digital commerce and email marketing integration
Consider this scenario: Where a customer using a Commerce Cloud, for some reason, had abandoned his cart. With Salesforce commerce and marketing integration in the fold, a follow-up email could be automatically sent to the customer by the marketing cloud team encouraging or incentivising him/her to complete the transaction.
Salesforce believes that by building a bridge between Commerce Cloud and the Marketing Cloud retailers can provide their consumers a better customer journey using dynamic triggers from commerce to marketing.
- Using Instagram as a commerce platform
Social media platforms are changing the rules of modern marketing, all for the good. Among other social platforms, Instagram is rising to become one of the most powerful mediums for showcasing products and for carrying new marketing strategies.
With this new tool Salesforce aims to turn Instagram into a commerce platform where retailers can connect product catalogues, create shoppable content, and tag products in their posts to deliver a complete and unique digital experience for their customers. To take the game a few notches high, the Einstein Vision, an AI-powered image recognition facility on Instagram, can automatically discover and identify elements like products and brand logos along with sales, marketing and service opportunities.
- Intelligent messaging and bots
This new feature will enable retailers to provide intelligent customer service through messaging and bots, in the form of Salesforce LiveMessage. The LiveMessage will allow retailers to have a two-way interaction (via messaging) with shoppers through both, SMS and Facebook Messenger.
Also, the Einstein bots can enable retailers to automate service communication in web or mobile chat services to address customer issues like returns, password resets, order tracking etc.
- Bridging corporate and local-store customer engagement using distributed marketing
Salesforce’s Distributed Marketing feature is designed to allow corporate retail marketers to pre- build personalized customer journeys with Salesforce Marketing, and deploy them to resellers and local stores. After which, partners can manage and personalize those journeys further.