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The Future of Retailing: Smarter and Completely Connected

The Future of Retailing: Smarter and Completely Connected

In the new future of retailing, both the customer and retailer win when they use a combination of the Salesforce Customer 360 platform, Einstein, and IBM AI-powered Watson Supply Chain solutions.

Shoppers today are like kids in a candy store, enjoying all the enticements that the digital revolution has to offer — from next day shipping to deep discounts to real-time order tracking to easy returns. Today’s shopping experience has evolved rapidly with the ever-expanding role of mobile devices and the Amazon effect of an endless array of products with attractive pricing and same or next day delivery.

So the question is, how do retailers participate in this “fourth industrial revolution”? What will it take to create a level playing field where both the retailer and the shopper can reap the benefits of this digital revolution?

Enter ‘smarter retailing’

Today’s tech-native customers demand an easy, consistent, and highly personalized buying and service experience across every channel, whether it’s online, on the phone, or at a traditional brick-and-mortar store.

But meeting these rising expectations can be a tall order for most retailers, which must figure out how to:

  • Unify and personalize experiences across the entire customer journey (commerce, marketing, service)
  • Deliver and support a seamless, uninterrupted commerce experience across the entire customer journey

  • Deliver on order management and fulfillment in a way that meets the customer’s expectations 

These customer requirements are now “table stakes” for retailers, and together Salesforce and IBM intend to address the “success gap” that exists between the shopper and the retailer.

Welcome to the new, cognitive era of retail, powered by Salesforce and IBM. 

This is where AI Now™ for Connected Commerce comes in. The solution combines Salesforce’s Customer 360 platform with IBM’s industry-leading enterprise supply chain solutions, giving more visibility and access to customer data, insights, and order management – and delivering on the promise of the right product, at the right place, the right time, and the right price. AI Now for Connected Commerce leverages the power of AI from IBM Watson® and Salesforce Einstein to provide an informed customer experience across all channels, both physical and digital. 

Delivering financial outcomes that matter for retailers

This new solution framework provides real-time inventory visibility, intelligent order fulfillment, reverse logistics, and better customer experiences, helping you manage your fulfillment network seamlessly with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and extending those insights to Salesforce Marketing and Service Clouds. It includes true rules-based price optimization, integrated merchandising and marketing across channels, and performance forecasting to deliver stronger margins, increase inventory turn, mitigate markdowns, and drive overall measurable outcomes for the retailer. All of this means retailers can:

  • Improve operational performance through better order fulfillment and pricing optimization
  • Manage inventory with smarter assortment planning and distribution, driving inventory turn, and mitigating unnecessary markdowns
  • Increase conversion rates and decrease abandonments, driving an increase in sales customer satisfaction

  • Maximize the value of every customer relationship, creating a loyal customer, and increasing share of wallet

In the new future of retailing, both the customer and retailer win when they use a combination of the Salesforce Customer 360 platform, Einstein, and IBM AI-powered Watson Supply Chain solutions.

Learn more about how you can implement these solutions for your business.


Ben Cesare

Ben Cesare is Senior Director, Retail Industry at Salesforce. Ben has been in and around Retail and CPG for over three decades as Sr. Merchant at Macy's, Apple Retail for over a decade creating first Apple Store concepts and as technology CEO/SVP Sales/Service for Enterprise, Social and Data Science focused organizations. Ben truly understands retail and speaks their language through their lens, as well as giving advice and direction on the strategies that return measurable results and sensible technology adoption plans. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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