Salesforce and latest retail technology focus at NRF 2018

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CRM major Salesforce has made several announcements — at NRF 2018 — to assist global retail companies to improve customer experience and efficiency.

Digital revenue growth during holiday shopping season in 2017 was 18 percent thanks to the adoption of innovative technologies.

55 percent of shoppers say their retail experiences are disconnected from channel to channel, and 63 percent don’t feel like retailers understand who they are.

“Technology has given consumers incredible power to quickly find whatever they need, but it has become difficult for brands to keep up with those demands, and really understand the needs of consumers on an individual level,” said Shelley Bransten, senior vice president retail industry solutions, Salesforce.

Online shoppers abandon carts prior to checkout as a common part of the buying process, at a rate as high as 75 percent, representing a high-value conversion opportunity for retailers. Less than a third of major U.S. retailers send shopping cart abandonment e-mails, representing an opportunity to connect with consumers and convert sales.

Salesforce said Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud enables connected customer journeys with dynamic triggers from commerce to marketing. If a consumer using a Commerce Cloud site adds items to their shopping cart but does not check out, they could be automatically sent a follow-up email by Marketing Cloud that reminds or even incentivizes them to complete their purchase.

Instagram is essential for retail, with more than 500 million daily active users. Instagram has new integrations for Commerce Cloud Shopping for retailers to connect product catalogs on Instagram, tag products in their posts and create shoppable content for a seamless experience for consumers on their social network.

AI-powered Einstein Vision image recognition on Instagram enables brands to automate the discovery and identification of images, such as brand logos and products, to uncover sales, marketing and service opportunities.

More than a third of millennial shoppers — use instant messaging when requesting customer service from an online retailer.

Retailers can use Salesforce LiveMessage to engage with shoppers via 2-way conversations on their preferred messaging apps, such as SMS or Facebook Messenger. Retailers have a holistic view of a shopper’s history made possible by seamless integration with Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud.

Einstein Bots will assist retailers to automate service communications via web or mobile chat channels to resolve routing issues like tracking order status, resetting a lost password or initiating a return, freeing up agents’ time to deliver a more personalized experience to the consumer.

52 percent of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications to them.

Corporate retail marketers can use Distributed Marketing from Salesforce to pre-build personalized customer journeys with Salesforce Marketing Cloud and deploy them to local stores and resellers. Retail partners can manage and personalize these consumer journeys–such as onboarding consumers to loyalty programs or launching holiday promotions.

For example, the corporate marketing team at a national sporting goods chain can build a brand-approved winter sports campaign in time for the holidays that local stores can then leverage and tailor based on the popular winter activities in their region where consumers have shown interest.

Salesforce Powers the 2017 Holiday Season

Black Friday was the biggest day of the holiday shopping season, comprising 26 percent of Cyber Week’s total revenue in digital commerce.

Commerce Cloud customers delivered 94 million AI-powered product recommendations on Black Friday and over 73 million on Cyber Monday.

Customers sent a total of 17.5 billion emails, mobile, SMS and push notifications during Cyber Week. Marketing Cloud powered more than 3 billion Salesforce Einstein engagement scores during Cyber Week, an indicator used by retailers to determine how likely a subscriber is to open an email, click links and stay subscribed.

Customers viewed more than 55 million customer service cases and received more than 17 million customer service calls on Black Friday. This increased to 98.6 million customer service cases viewed and more than 44 million customer service calls received on Cyber Monday, topping out with more than 400 million service cases viewed and 162 million calls received during Cyber Week.

According to a recent IDC study, the Salesforce ecosystem of customers and partners will create more than 400,000 retail jobs and enable $92 billion in retail revenue creation by 2022.

Commerce Cloud customers sell more than $16 billion worth of merchandise annually through more than 2,750 websites in 50+ countries, and enjoy 40-60 percent higher conversion rates than with legacy platforms.

Salesforce announced that shoe retailers Rack Room Shoes and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse, owned by the German-based shoe retailer The Deichmann Group, grew their revenues with Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

The transition to Marketing Cloud has enabled marketers to deliver intelligent, personalized consumer journeys at scale, resulting in an annual 777 percent return-on-investment (ROI).

With approximately 500 total brick-and-mortar locations across the United States and a strong focus on customer engagement through digital channels, Rack Room Shoes and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse had outgrown its CRM systems.

“With a unified platform and team dedicated to our marketing technology, we have the agility and tools to improve our marketing effectiveness and deliver personalized consumer experiences,” said Scott Baldt, senior director Omni-Channel, Rack Room Shoes.

The shoe retailers used Marketing Cloud to increase store traffic with incentivized in-store rewards programs and added additional digital channels such as SMS messages to their consumer outreach strategies.

For example, the companies can now see which customers have not used their rewards and automatically send reminders suggesting they redeem them online or in-store.

Additionally, the marketing teams have increased productivity by bringing digital marketing in-house, automating campaigns and integrating data and analytics. These changes have helped the companies grow, as Rack Room Shoes reported an online revenue increase of 161 percent for email and 451 percent for SMS, while online revenue for Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse jumped by 44 percent for email and 291 percent for SMS.

“Prior to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Rack Room Shoes and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse had a siloed approach that didn’t allow for the integration of important data and true multi-channel marketing campaigns. Marketing Cloud broke down those silos, and has enabled Rack Room Shoes and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse to integrate marketing efforts across channels to improve ROI,” said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research.

Jon Suarez-Davis, chief strategy officer, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, said that Rack Room Shoes and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse are trailblazers that have invested in a platform for email and SMS marketing and customer journeys that address those needs.

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