Salesforce.com has launched Salesforce1 for Retail, a platform designed to give businesses the tools to create more personal relationships with customers through mobile technology.
On Thursday, the US cloud provider said Salesforce1 for Retail will deliver innovative solutions for retails to harness mobile technology and the Internet to improve both customer relationships and overall profit margins. As retail becomes more competitive, brand loyalty is necessary to stay ahead of the game — and allowing customers to feel more connected and valued by a firm is key.
Salesforce.com says that the retail industry is at a "crossroads" between physical outlets and purchase opportunities found online. The new platform is the result of this shift in the industry, and while retailers try to create "1:1 digital experiences" between company and client, many struggle with connecting different channels — such as social media and Web campaigns — to the physical experience of purchasing.
"Technology has created more informed, more connected customers who are empowered with information," the company says. "They can access competitive pricing in an instant, easily buy products from around the world and read in-depth reviews from other customers on a mobile device. To drive brand loyalty, retailers today need to connect with customers wherever they are, and deliver a consistent experience at every touchpoint."
One of the main aspects of the retail platform is Mobile Clienteling. This system can be used by companies to access data including customer location, purchase history, shopping preferences, social profile and personal information such as anniversary dates and birthdays.
An iPad-wielding sales assistant can access a customer's browsing history and past purchases, so they can, for example, "recommend the perfect tie to complement a recently purchased suit." In addition, social profiles can be accessed to make product recommendations "based on what shoppers are pinning and tweeting about."
In other words, if a customer uses an app developed by a business and holds an account with them, GPS — if enabled — can be used to find out when a customer is in-store, and their data can be pulled up as a result.
While this may be seen as intrusive for customers, Salesforce.com says that the technology will allow retailers "to create 1:1 relationships with their customers and deliver an amazing shopping experience across every channel."
Mobile Clienteling also includes community features for customers, partner systems for merchants, distributors and suppliers to access inventory data, marketing teams can share campaign best practices across varying locations, and sales associates will be able to collaborate with one another and access training documents and handbooks through the platform.
In addition, Capgemini and PwC have joined the Salesforce1 for Retail ecosystem to develop new retail solutions on the platform.
"Today's retailers are in a challenging position as the expectations of shoppers are rising with the adoption of mobile and social technology,” said Vikrant Karnik, senior vice president and head of enterprise cloud services for Application Services One at Capgemini. "As part of the Salesforce1 for Retail ecosystem, we are helping retailers to re-envision the shopping experience across every channel to drive new levels of customer engagement and loyalty."
The announcement comes at the same time as the reveal of a health-related platform developed by Salesforce and Dutch electronics giant Philips. The platform collects data from dedicated apps where patients log information, and is also compatible with sensor-equipped wearable devices. The information is then fed into the Salesforce1 Platform, which analyzes and sends the data on to patients and doctors to guide treatment.