Retail used to focus exclusively on bringing shoppers to owned properties, like your website or store. Now, it’s all about embedding commerce where shoppers spend their time, such as social media or with voice assistants. We refer to these third-party channels at the hypothetical fringes of brand properties as “shopping at the edge.” Use application programming interfaces (APIs) to engage with shoppers beyond your brand’s four walls. APIs connect to your commerce platform to extend your storefront and integrate back-end data. If a shopper finds your product on Instagram, for example, they can seamlessly make a purchase directly on-platform.
Use AI to tailor your homepage, recommended items, and campaigns based on each shopper’s condition and needs. For example, a craft store may highlight face mask-making supplies or a sporting goods company may prioritize individual sports items (for example, running or cycling) over equipment for team sports.
Drive shopper engagement with virtual and online appointments through Lightning Scheduler. Use commerce insights to create personalized journeys across touchpoints with tailored, relevant messaging.
Deliver self-service options so shoppers can connect with your brand anywhere. This includes embedding chat and messaging across channels, answering frequently asked questions on your help center, and regularly updating knowledge articles.
Connect commerce and service instances to turn agents into associates and stylists for one-on-one shopping experiences. This is conversational commerce, which enables service agents to engage on the channels where shoppers spend their time, including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Artificial intelligence (AI) can further customize the experience with relevant items and complementary products based on order history and preferences.
It’s likely your communications cadence changed in response to the pandemic. Take a fresh look at your program. Adjust your timing and frequency, from emails to social posts. Maintain an empathetic tone. Use AI to find the right sentiment for your brand with personalized content and imagery.
According to the Salesforce Shopping Index, social traffic increased 47% year-over-year in Q1 2020. Continue to engage with shoppers on social media. Monitor sentiment with social listening tools. Tweet questions and polls for direct feedback. Communicate your core value to followers — this may go beyond your product to informational updates and entertainment.
With these best practices in mind, we hope you feel more prepared and confident for whatever comes next. Create a contingency plan that leans on technology to help your team remain agile. It will not only help you to maintain shopper engagement, it will lead the way for safe shopping experiences.
As you adapt and future-proof your business, stay flexible with a single retail platform that consolidates technology, teams, and data for a single view of your customer. Learn more about Salesforce Customer 360. For additional tools and resources to help you create a safe work environment, discover our solutions on Work.com.