In the ongoing discussion of technologies shaping the commerce space like AI and AR at Dreamforce 2017, attendees were excited to take a deeper dive into how these technologies are actually transforming the way customers shop and retailers sell.
During the Dreamforce 2017 Commerce Cloud Keynote, “Transforming Shopping in the Age of AI and Mobility,” Salesforce CEO for Commerce Cloud Jeff Barnett kicked off the discussion around the evolution of the shopper experience by sharing an overview of the current landscape and how it’s changed over the years. Specifically, he touched on changing priorities with regards to customer interaction.
“Now there’s a variety of touchpoints where we as consumers want to engage. To find the brands that support our lifestyle and our passions in the world,” Barnett explained. “What do we want as consumers? Well, we simply want it to be easy. We want it to be easy for us to explore, to be inspired by the brands that we love that support our passions, and to be able to connect with them.”
He continued explaining the blended, diverse approach retailers must take to rise above, citing “Trailblazers” like Coach, Lacoste, and Ugg, all of whom utilize some combination of commerce strategies across social channels, leading in-store technology, and optimized mobile access. He urged attendees to think about how their company can connect the dots between the physical and digital worlds for their customers.
Retailers and commerce professionals today know that tactics like these need to be in motion to stand out among competitors, but seem to have trouble in the implementation process. Results from a poll taken on-site at Dreamforce 2017 revealed the following sentiments about current commerce technologies:
- 62 percent of attendees stated that they had mobile offerings, but knew they could be better. Only 14 percent think they’ve mastered mobile and 25 percent aren’t sure how to get the ball rolling.
- 74 percent of attendees want to be significantly more involved with AI and only 3 percent feel like they’ve mastered it in their company. 23 percent want to improve what they are currently doing.
- With regards to omnichannel retailing, only 9 percent feel like they have it down pat, 45 percent say they are trying but executing it is challenging, and 46 percent say it’s not a tactic they currently employ, but they would like to.
The Salesforce team then welcomed LVMH’s CIO of Digital and Omnichannel Stephane Cuvelette to discuss the company’s approach to a more mobile, digital-savvy customer base, which can be tricky when looking at a luxury brand. Cuvelette stressed the importance of consistency here, as their customers have developed a certain level of expectations over the years with their brands.
“Mobile is a fantastic opportunity for us to engage, to reach, and eventually to propose different ways of shopping to our consumer. Of course, and this is where Salesforce is helping us, it’s in a consistent way,” stated Cuvelette. “It’s very important that we are not proposing a different experience to our consumer depending on the different touchpoint they are [using]. We are selling products but we are also selling an experience.”
While an omnichannel presence is crucial for any retailer worth their salt, inconsistencies across channels can worsen brand perception and ultimately result in customer churn.
Also included in the discussion was Vincent Queru, CIO of Berluti, who brought about the important point that companies that are drenched in tradition are faced with a unique challenge of mixing in tradition and familiarity with new experiences that customers today expect. He expanded saying, “We’re not doing technology for the sake of doing technology. It’s always integrated in our overall customer experience. So it’s very important for us to always be consistent.”
The conversation then swiveled to enriching the customer journey through technological updates and creating a seamless experience end-to-end with Beth McCormick, VP of Commerce and Customer Engagement Technology at Petsmart. McCormick explained that Petsmart wants to be engaged in every step of the pet parent journey and by embracing platforms for mobile devices, that’s truly possible.
“When I think about unified commerce, it’s really about the customer experience and at Petsmart, we try to stay ahead of our customers’ desires so we can engage with them how, when, and where they want,” stated McCormick. “So we’re constantly looking for innovative, omnichannel capabilities and solutions that we can add to our roadmap to make sure that we’re engaging with them first, fast, and most effectively.”
If you’d like to listen to the whole session from Dreamforce 2017, you can find it in the Salesforce archives here. To stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices in retail technology, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter.