How Salesforce Improves Your Shopper Engagement Through a Cloud-Based CRM, Integrated Retail Tools, & Predictive Intelligence
11.26.16 Software

How Salesforce Improves Your Shopper Engagement Through a Cloud-Based CRM, Integrated Retail Tools, & Predictive Intelligence

By: Jon McDonald

The Crunch: Salesforce enables a retailer to engage more effectively with its customers through a scalable cloud CRM platform. Marketing and sales tools help to surprise and delight shoppers, while robust data tools can help associates provide enhanced customer service. Salesforce uses the cloud to deliver all of its products, which provides businesses with the flexibility to adapt instantly to customer trends. And with its new Einstein AI platform, Salesforce provides every company with data science to find new customers and convert those already in the pipeline.

From its founding in a dorm room in Amsterdam in 2000, SuitSupply has always known how to make an impeccable ensemble. As the company grew, it also proved that it could compete with the industry’s biggest names in quality men’s suits while coming in at a fraction of the price.

In a 2011 blind test, experts at The Wall Street Journal rated their $614 suit as equal in quality to a $3,625 Giorgio Armani suit. This was the first of many honors SuitSupply garnered for its product quality.

But, behind the scenes, the company was trying to establish a customer relationship strategy to match the quality of its tailored suits. SuitSupply realized that the only way to do that was to go all-in with a digital technology platform.

“Digital is not only a channel, it is really a shift in behavior,” said SuitSupply Marketing Technology Manager Nick Botter. “As a retailer, we had our stores and we had SuitSupply.com. But it is not just offline and online; it should tie together.”

To shift that behavior and digitally tie their channels together, the company enlisted Salesforce and its robust Cloud CRM platform. The results of this partnership have made SuitSupply a perfect example of the growth and customer experience enhancement that Salesforce’s platform can provide.

Illustration of SuitSupply and Salesforce

Salesforce and its CRM platform made it possible for suit retailer SuitSupply to expand its business footprint in America.

Salesforce wants to drive customer engagement by making their interactions with retailers faster, more helpful, and generally more pleasing. It makes these things possible through sales, service, marketing, and analytics products that constantly learn about what the customer wants and even employ predictive intelligence to find new customers and boost conversions.

This connectivity and digital marketing precision have made it possible for companies like SuitSupply to flourish, scale up, and quickly implement strategies based on customer trends.

Products Built to Surprise and Delight Along the Customer Journey

Photo of Salesforce's Dwight Moore

Dwight Moore spoke to us about how Salesforce helps retailers anticipate consumers’ needs.

Salesforce’s mission is to allow businesses to go beyond the transaction and create a unique relationship with each customer. Salesforce helps make each experience unique by giving actionable information about each customer interaction to the brand.

“Retailers need to be where their shoppers are at today, which is mobile, social, and in the cloud,” said Dwight Moore, a Senior Director on Salesforce’s Retail Industry Team. “Leveraging the latest data science, we use artificial intelligence to think ahead of that shopper to surprise and delight them.”

Obviously, knowing what the consumer likes allows a business to more effectively market to that consumer, but Salesforce takes that a step further. The “Customer Success Platform” can foster those relationships and readies companies to meet the expectations of today’s connected consumer.

Marketing Tools Help Cultivate More Meaningful Shopper Experiences

Salesforce wants every interaction to be productive for both the consumer and the retailer. The Sales Cloud is a great tool for closing deals, acquiring leads, and making decisions, and, paired with the other tools on Salesforce’s CRM, it helps a business build a winning customer engagement strategy.

Companies are aware that more precise marketing leads to more conversions, but Salesforce is able to extend that reach to interact with consumers in the spaces between a retailer’s website and its physical stores.

Salesforce accomplishes this with a Marketing Cloud that includes a social studio that allows a business to boost engagement and expand its reach.

Preview of Salesforce's Social Media Studio

With Salesforce’s Social Studio, a business can interact, engage, and market to customers on social media.

“Our technology extends to where the shoppers are, so brands can reach out to them, not just via email or text message or push notification, but now also on social media,” Dwight said. “That can help find unknown customers and bring them into the brand through socially targeted ads.”

The Marketing Cloud also allows businesses to more effectively employ traditional email and mobile engagement strategies. Retailers also have access to predictive intelligence, which takes customer data — even from social media — and makes recommendations about what the customer may want.

This enables businesses to personally market to customers based on their own shopping and browsing patterns.

Empowering Associates With Data Leads to Enhanced Customer Service

When sales associates at a SuitSupply brick-and-mortar store know that a customer has purchased suits in three different shades of blue, it seems only natural to show that customer a suit in another tone of blue.

Salesforce Service Cloud tools allow associates to analyze the customer’s profile in real time so that each experience is customized. Whether it is on a tablet, mobile device or at a Point of Sale terminal, many questions and complications can be taken out of the equation by empowering the associate with customer-specific knowledge.

Consumers’ desire to get better in-store service was one of the insights gleaned from Salesforce’s Connected Shoppers Report, which showed that 67% of shoppers doubt the trustworthiness of associates. Salesforce wants its clients to create a connection between associate and consumer to build that trust back.

“If you think about the shopper’s expectations when they come into the store, it’s, first, know who I am,” Dwight told us. “Then, remember me when I return to the store, make the transaction easy for me, and, in fact, make my life better.”

Unify Commerce By Linking In-Store and Online Transactions in the Cloud

Another way Salesforce is helping businesses transition to a more consumer-centric approach is by linking all of the touchpoints.

Salesforce sees a future where all commerce is unified and all transactions are treated equally whether they took place on a computer, mobile device, or in a store. With Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud, a business can easily track all three and continue to serve the customer through any touchpoint, not just the one they made the purchase from.

“The idea is to deliver a compelling unified commerce experience on the web and on mobile, and extend that into the store,” Dwight said. “We are in an era where a transaction is a transaction and shouldn’t really be differentiated between online and in-store.”

Born in the Cloud, Salesforce was Made to be Adaptive & Responsive

Salesforce was founded in San Francisco in 1999 during the early days of cloud computing. Starting the company in the cloud allowed Salesforce to respond more quickly to the needs of the businesses they worked with. Over the years, that response time has only gotten faster.

Because Salesforce delivers all of a retailer’s data in the cloud, businesses can keep up with the speed of commerce. Today’s consumer does not want to wait, not even for an extra second on a mobile site. It was with that speed of business in mind that Salesforce1 was created.

Salesforce 1 is an application that makes it possible to monitor and run an entire business from a phone. It includes updated information on every facet of a company and has dashboards that can be used with its sales, marketing, community engagement, and service channels. The app even allows an associate to call up customer information that may be useful during a transaction.

Salesforce1 mobile app illustration

With the Salesforce1 application, an entire business (sales and marketing included) can be run from a mobile phone.

“We were born in the cloud; we’re mobile first,” Dwight explained. “That is important because it gives retailers the speed and agility they need to keep pace with what we call ‘the speed of the shopper.’ ”

Today’s tech-savvy consumer has access to an incredible amount of information and technology, but many businesses are weighed down by legacy technology, according to Dwight. Since it is in the cloud, Salesforce is able to layer agility and scalability into its platform to keep up with what the future holds.

Einstein AI Helps Deliver the Right Message at the Right Time

Salesforce Einstein was introduced at the company’s 2016 Dreamforce convention and adds a layer of artificial intelligence and automation to all of its platforms.

With it, retailers can gain insights, predict outcomes, show recommended next steps, and even automate tasks to anticipate sales. Companies that may not be able to justify hiring a dedicated data scientist have access to many of the same insights with Einstein.

Einstein is built into the Salesforce platform, so a company can integrate its recommendations and analysis directly into current dashboards. Einstein’s AI analyzes data from your CRM, calendar, email, and even social media accounts to provide smarter strategies and even predict who to contact to make a sale.

At a developer level, the Einstein AI can be configured to run on applications that are unique to a business, so data science is applied to the most specific retail features at an individual company level. And its actionable insights enable even the smallest businesses to be nimble as trends shift.

Greater Flexibility Allows for Faster Adjustment to Consumer Trends

Capitalizing on retail trends in real time is a necessity for businesses in today’s retail world. When SuitSupply wanted to launch its own in-home shopping service, called Box Office, it was able to leverage Salesforce’s platform to quickly take it from idea to reality.

“It took them just eight weeks from concept to launch because of the flexibility that our tools provided them,” Dwight said.

With Salesforce’s CRM platform, SuitSupply successfully transferred its company focus from the transaction itself to the consumer’s needs. And now, SuitSupply uses the data it generates within Salesforce to determine which cities can support a brick-and-mortar store.

Thanks to Salesforce’s comprehensive list of retail tools, the SuitSupply strategy could be applied to any company. Or a company could chart its own path to success using Salesforce’s CRM. The true value of Salesforce’s CRM lies in its flexibility.

The nature of a business is its continual adaptation to customer trends. Salesforce is constantly helping companies look to — and in some cases predict — the future of business.