After the pandemic, cloud-based technologies in particular have changed the way retail businesses reach out to their customers. Suddenly, businesses both online and offline are forced to meet the unprecedented global consumer demand. With cloud technologies, retail businesses can use data-backed decisions to predict buying choices of customers, improve inventory management, and elevate customer experience.
The global e-commerce market is projected to reach 18.89 trillion by 2027 and companies that want a piece of this market need to use an exceptional commerce platform. Salesforce Commerce Cloud is arguably the leader of the B2B and B2C markets, providing game-changing solutions for businesses like Puma, Lacoste, and Adidas.
According to this report by IBM, COVID-19 accelerated the shift to e-commerce by five years. Retail companies need unified customer experience, omni-channel strategies, and automated market analyses to take their businesses to the next level. Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a top choice among retailers because it offers all these tools and more. Apart from helping businesses launch, track, and market their online stores, Salesforce Commerce Cloud gives these very companies a competitive edge by offering tailored solutions to suit their needs. These include:
Implementation of omni-channel strategies: Before the pandemic, omni-channel strategy was a differentiating factor but after the pandemic, with customer behavior changing drastically, omni-channel strategy has become a necessity. With omni-channel retailing, you deliver tailored marketing and customer experiences depending on the customer’s stage in his or her decision journey.
Need for business analytics in supply chain management: With the pandemic completely disrupting logistics and supply chains, the need for inventory optimization, integration services, and contactless delivery has increased significantly. Companies in retail need to use data analytics solutions to optimize their existing infrastructure.
Understand customer data: With customers demanding better service and personalization, retail companies need customer data to prioritize customer retention initiatives.
Manage a complex buying process: The process of purchasing a product or a service has become more complex, with customers engaging with a brand across many channels. Simple marketing methods no longer work, which is why companies need data-backed processes that can analyze buying patterns and implement intelligent marketing strategies.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud and its impact on the retail space
Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers both B2B Commerce and B2C Commerce platforms. B2B Commerce helps businesses of all sizes to scale. It helps companies personalize customer experiences online. Using this platform, you can also service complex shipping functionalities, quick checkouts, and large orders. You can guarantee authenticated sites, shopping carts that can hold hundreds of orders, customer segmentation, and software to track cart abandonment.
B2C Commerce is useful for creating web and mobile sites with customized buying experiences. It also helps retailers create and track multiple customer experiences across many digital channels and devices. You can use powerful tools like Commerce Cloud Einstein to deliver intelligent experiences, connect your customer’s journey, and stay ahead with predictive analytics. You can also use B2C Commerce to implement customer service management and content management solutions.
Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud helps businesses map customer journeys, nurture leads, drive conversions, and mine data to understand customer behavior. Salesforce’s cloud-based technology, omni-channel integrations, predictive intelligence, and innovative design helps companies work with even complex buying processes.
Here are some of the services/features that it offers that can transform businesses in the retail space.
1. Unified customer experience and order management
Salesforce Commerce Cloud has Einstein Artificial Intelligence, which unifies eCommerce sites and helps customers engage with the product through different channels. Salesforce Commerce Cloud can create a unified shopping experience by integrating customer data and experiences across different sales channels, giving retailers a comprehensive picture of leads and conversions. You can also manage different product data sets for various stores, use AI-powered tools to nudge customers towards conversions, and access inventory in real time.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is the only cloud-based platform that lets retailers use a single back-end platform to manage many storefronts across currencies, locations, languages, and processes. Commerce Cloud’s Endless Aisle gives retailers a clear view of individual customer processes including cancellations, order fulfilment, and returns. With many retail companies opting for both online and offline stores, Salesforce Commerce Cloud can integrate these services too.
2. Improved inventory management
Inventory management is a critical part of retail. With Salesforce Commerce Cloud, you can track, forecast, plan, and manage products at every stage of your retail cycle. For inventory management, this platform provides real-time visibility and gives you access to useful demand forecasts. You can use Endless Aisle, a Salesforce B2C Commerce add-on, which helps customers place digital orders for products that are out of stock in a physical location, with a choice to deliver these items to their homes.
Using Einstein, you can increase your average order value by 26% according to Salesforce and you can do this by pushing slow-moving inventory and showcasing new products. Retailers can forecast demand and optimize their supply chain management by buying more of the products that are in demand than slow-moving products. They can integrate third-party tools such as warehouse management systems to get better inventory forecasts and management strategies. You can also use Salesforce to implement product data tracking in your CRM, manage product data sets for various stores, personalize every interaction, and unify data.
Using B2C Commerce APIs, you can add social media platforms and other apps to the platform and improve the efficiency of the eCommerce store. Commerce extensions can help companies reach different customers in new markets.
3. Omni-channel potential and strategies
With Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s omni-channel functionalities, you can use a single platform to manage inventory and run your business across multiple channels. When retailers target customers through different channels, they are tracing these customers’ journeys and nudging them towards conversion, even resulting in brand loyalty and customer lifetime value.
Salesforce Commerce Clouds allows you to use customer data from across multiple channels to create targeted marketing campaigns and recommend products related to what the customer purchased. You can mine this data to cross-sell, up-sell, and personalize the customer journey. With omni-channel functionalities, you can integrate functions such as marketing campaigns, order management, and sales, saving you time and effort. Retailers can create omni-channel fulfilment journeys, assign last-mile carriers immediately, manage all your eCommerce operations in a central hub, achieve SLA compliance, and operate numerous seller accounts in an interconnected way.
4. Better supply chain management
COVID-19 disrupted traditional supply chains, producing smart, digital and interconnected supply networks instead. These supply networks have in-built solutions and layered digital operations, optimized for high demand and better margins. Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud helps you build features like forecasting and advanced algorithms to improve supply chain functions. You can analyze demand using social media, mine historical data, and even forecast demand. Salesforce can also access data from inventory management systems and suggest replenishment options.
Using analytics, you can adjust orders based on a peak in demand, linking manufacturing with demand and supply directly.
5. Superior customer support
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is known for its exceptional, round-the-clock customer support. From upgrading security patches to fixing codes, the backend team solves complaints quickly. Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s customer care and support team also provide real-time problem solving, automatic case creation, and excellent service strategies. Other forms of customer support include a comprehensive quality resource library, advisory services, and adoption programs.
6. State-of-the-art marketing tools
Salesforce Commerce Cloud provides retailers with excellent marketing tools, allowing them to target the right customer for the right product and at an optimal price. You can combine your advertising and email marketing campaigns in one integrated platform. Salesforce allows you to run A/B or split testing, optimize search queries, track social media marketing campaigns, increase average order value, and customize these services to suit multiple currencies and languages.
You can run reports, manage social media profiles, analyze commercial insights, and automate merchandizing tasks to save time. Salesforce’s marketing automation software is powered by Einstein, giving retailers the tools to deliver personalized products at every touchpoint.
7. Customized eCommerce experiences
Marketing experts from all over the world believe in the profitability of taking a truly personalized approach to customer experiences. With Salesforce Commerce Cloud, you can design customer-friendly shopping experiences, single-page checkout processes, single-touch transactions, and personalized online stores. Unlike many other platforms, Salesforce offers seamless integrations. Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s latest cloud architecture, SRFA or Storefront Reference Architecture, enables retailers to provide the best in-site design and an exciting initial entry point for shoppers.
Retailers can customize pricing and set dynamic prices for specific customers and user roles. You can personalize product prices and set different cart discount rules. For example, if a user abandons his or her cart, it can trigger a marketing campaign that will gently nudge the user towards reconsidering the product. Custom pricing is a great way to reach your customers and ensure loyalty.
8. Mobile-rich capabilities
According to this report, 73% of online traffic is generated through mobiles and out of this traffic, 55% of purchases are made over the mobile. Most people today shop on mobile devices, which means that a mobile optimized eCommerce site is necessary to push retail sales.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud helps retailers deliver mobile-first capabilities. It provides optimal shopping experiences to customers who use their mobile phones. In fact, Google has made mobile-first responsiveness a huge ranking factor in terms of search engine optimization. This gives Salesforce Commerce Cloud a definitive edge because it places huge importance on the mobile-first approach. Retailers too enjoy a mobile-first experience and can click and access their inventories through their mobile phones. Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers a mobile optimized platform and its features include innovative conversion experiences, in-store mobile apps, predictive sorting, auto population features, personalized searches, inventory management, social media integrations, and one-touch payment options.
9. Perfect for companies that want to scale
Salesforce Commerce Cloud has an architecture that is perfect for retailers to achieve scale. The platform can grow with the company and help it withstand huge amounts of traffic, capable of handling millions of users every day. The platform does this for you and you need not hire an IT team to scale your website, which means that there is no necessity for a system downtime.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud has tools and scalable APIs that are developer friendly, helping retailers expand their reach to cater to markets worldwide. Companies can upgrade their systems from storefronts, handle mass inventory, work with sudden traffic spikes, and manage high-volume transactions with ease without compromising on customer experience. Salesforce also helps companies reach new segments in the market and meet different customer needs.
10. Strong data analytics
In 2017, The Economist cited data to be the world’s most valuable resource, not oil. Today’s businesses thrive on data in order to use it to extrapolate business strategies and to stay many steps ahead of competition. With Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud, retailers can amass data over time when customers visit their website.
Retailers can then use it to build responses to customer movements and market changes. Salesforce helps you analyze large amounts of data and links data analytics to marketing automation. Salesforce also generates many useful reports including customer, traffic, A/B testing, conversion rate, search, and navigation reports. There is also data to be collected beyond the payment process but this can be done using extensions, which Salesforce supports.
11. Provides predictive intelligence
Salesforce’s embedded Einstein AI offers predictive analytics that can mine data on customer behavior and inform marketing strategies. Einstein is a next-generation artificial intelligence platform that can directly improve your bottomline.
Einstein AI is made up of a set of incredible tools that provide search recommendations and cutting edge commercial insight. Salesforce Einstein AI differs in features depending on the B2C or B2B Commerce plans. With Einstein, the customer gets an autocomplete feature based on his or her past behavior. Einstein AI’s analytics dashboard also helps retailers understand customers and drive data-backed decisions. Einstein’s personalization of products, search results, and recommendations also makes it an outstanding tool to deliver actionable insight and data to time your content marketing activities. Einstein also helps Salesforce CRM users to use all internal data from Salesforce Cloud and use CRM-integrated custom bots that are implemented on digital channels.
There is a reason why Salesforce Commerce Cloud is arguably the world’s best CRM. It boosts eCommerce with its superb AI-based tools, helps you personalize the shopping experience in different ways, and increases conversion rates with highly evolved sales strategies.
Today, the retail industry needs game-changing technologies like Salesforce Commerce Cloud to help companies scale and achieve maximum customer satisfaction in the world’s hyper competitive market. With supply chains disrupted completely, eCommerce software should automate warehouses and retail supply chains to establish robust distribution networks.
Salesforce also offers a secure and reliable cloud-based service, loaded with features such as internationalization, multistage management, price management, and real-time reporting. While it boosts customer experience, Salesforce Commerce Cloud impacts the entire sales process and helps retailers expand their customer base with enhanced decision-making capabilities. Most importantly, Salesforce will help companies transform digitally, and encourage them to innovate continuously, helping them gain a competitive edge in the ever-changing retail industry.