Why Salesforce’s global retail VP is optimistic about the future for retailers

Artificial intelligence, chatbots, clienteling and better contextual data application are just some of the big steps forward in driving experience-led retail engagement, Shelley Bransten says

Shelley Bransten
Shelley Bransten


How does the concept of customer loyalty come into play in this modern mix?

The idea you’re going to opt into some loyalty program and earn and burn, versus more real-time engagement, is questionable. You don’t need a loyalty program to know who your customers are and to deliver value at the right moment.

In addition, loyalty is getting redefined. A big piece of it is the customer owning and having transparency around their profile and the data and how it’s being used. Giving customers access to their profile – like email opt-in today – will become a mandate for this industry and brands need to get ahead of it. Loyalty is a big enabler of that universal profile.

Does that mean the loyalty program will go away?

They’re changing. Look at the Starbucks loyalty program: It was fairly simplistic in that 10 stars earns you a free coffee. Now, Starbucks is using that data to personalise. Perhaps on Monday through Friday, you always buy a coffee at 9am, but on the weekends you go to a different Starbucks with your family and buy a muffin. Salesforce is now using that data to trigger new interactions. So next time you come in during the week, staff can be prompted to ask if you want a muffin.

Those are real-time interactions. Again, it doesn’t feel like a loyalty program; it’s about delivering recognition. And it’s going to be through your phone, and has to be integrated into store systems.

As you start to think about how to think across brand, we’ll see more affiliate and alliance partnerships as well. As a consumer it’s about the lifestyle brands I want to be affiliated with and how do I get great value across all of them. I do think you need the mindset of being in co-creation with your consumer around the stories behind your brand.

Voice-activated engagement through devices such as Amazon Alexa is becoming mainstream. How do you see this impacting the retail market short and long term?

It will affect different parts of the market in different ways. I don’t think I’ll buy a black dress from Alexa. I think she’ll help me buy toilet paper and batteries, or tell me if the shirt I want is available in the local store or where I can go in to try it on.

What would you advise retailers then in terms of voice right now?

This is very self-serving, but it’s the reason you need a platform. People say we’re going to be buying from our cars shortly. You can’t predict what the next interface is going to be. You do need to have an open platform and push people like us, Salesforce, to figure out what is the right interface, how it integrates with your ecommerce website or how it can help your physical store.

But meanwhile, get your retail fundamentals right. Have you flawlessly executed abandoned carts? Have you embedded AI for predictive sort? Many customers are still just adopting these. I wouldn’t panic about voice yet – it’s coming – but do the things you know will pay the bills first.

  • Nadia Cameron travelled to Salesforce Connections as a guest of Salesforce.
  •  

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

5 cornerstones of a strong digital culture

Creating a strong company culture may sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. In fact, company culture is created in exactly the same fashion as a religion or democracy. Behaviours created from the organisation’s inception are reinforced over time by leadership, attracting like-minded people and eventually reaching critical mass to become an accepted ‘truth’.

Anthony Stevens

Founder and CEO, Digital Asset Ventures

Should you rebuild your company’s tech stack in blockchain?

The question I get asked most regularly these days is: ‘Do I need to rebuild my company’s systems on Blockchain?’ And the answer, every time, is ‘No, you’re asking the wrong question’.

Michelle O'Keeffe

CEO, Engaging.io

Customer value proposition: Getting the brand promise to your customers right

Throughout my career, I have witnessed a litany of brand names that profess to have a unique customer value proposition (CVP). In reality, however, they’ve had little more than a ‘value proposition’: A simple list of benefits applied to a general audience.

Ric Navarro

Global director of marketing and communications, Norman, Disney & Young

What is your opinion about chatbots serving your customers? My belief is bots are going to be the future of customer service and fulfilme...

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

NAB taps power of AI chatbots for business customer service

Read more

Thanks for writing about chatbots. Definitely bots have the exciting future when it comes to customer engagement, transactional and conve...

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

Deloitte TMT Predictions: AR and mobile crucial for marketing success in 2018

Read more

Hi there! Thanks for this interesting article! I love to read about new technology and software that makes our lives easier. I'm looking ...

Julia Summer

Wartsila overhauls Web platforms to create ‘seamless’ brand experience across all devices

Read more

RE: Sales and marketing SLAs, often the choke point isn't the teams but them getting the data into the tools they want to use with the da...

Ed Fry

Why sales and marketing alignment is more important than ever

Read more

Thank you for the good and very helpful information. It is very interesting. I love all the things you share and see your beautiful creat...

รัตนาวดี ภูมิวรรณ

Former eHarmony marketing chief joins telco startup

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in