India's retail story has always differed from its western counterparts since a large part of its population is rural. Also, buying preferences tend to change every few 100 kms. 

In tier II and tier III cities, consumption has skyrocketed due to rising disposable income and better access to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands. In tier I cities, customer preferences are shifting from global FMCG products to organic, healthy, vegan, and environmentally sustainable brands, thanks to social media and direct-to-consumer (D2C) platforms.

Amidst this change, FMCG companies, large retail outlets, and mom-and-pop shops have their work cut out for them. They need to be able to capture and retain customer attention, predict inventory, and fulfil requirements across multiple channels – all while coping with an unprecedented pandemic.

Here are a few ways  brands can rise to the challenge and elevate consumer experiences. 

Hyper-personalise customer engagement with a unified customer view

From print and TV ads to social media marketing, customer engagement has come a long way. The next few years will be about the segment-of-one – tailoring engagement strategies to individual customer needs, values, and behaviours. 

Salesforce can help you hyper-personalise customer engagement with a single source of customer truth across sales, service, and marketing. Instant visibility into customer values and priorities helps you have more targeted and meaningful customer conversations.

Using Salesforce, Titan Company Limited has built a unified customer view across its brands. Whenever a customer visits any Titan store, employees can instantly recognise them, and deliver unforgettable personalised experiences. Meanwhile, phygital customer journeys make the transition between physical and digital shopping channels seamless.

Optimise D2C commerce with powerful digital tools

Since the pandemic, multiple retail brands have launched e-commerce websites to sell directly to consumers. The next step is to drive traffic from social media and search engines to these websites. Getting more first-time site visitors, as well as repeat customers calls for a robust D2C commerce strategy.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud can help you elevate  D2C commerce experiences through responsive digital storefronts, personalised content, streamlined order lifecycles, and omni-channel fulfilment. Complete visibility into customer data enables you to connect customers to the right products, and optimise their shopping journeys. AI is baked into the Salesforce platform, so that you can personalise product recommendations, interpret purchasing behaviours accurately, and boost conversions. 

For instance, Puma India is using Salesforce Commerce Cloud to create seamless mobile shopping experiences. Their website, now features more responsive landing pages and accurate filters. Promotions to incentivise consumers are running smoothly, and visitors are shown products aligned to their needs.

Predict inventory with a single source of truth

Data may be the new oil, but how do we leverage it to create business value?

With Salesforce, you can use data to predict inventory more accurately without having to build complicated machine learning models or big data science teams. The platform keeps track of your sales data over the seasons, months, SKUs, and regions to help you forecast your stock needs confidently. Salesforce also helps streamline the production and warehouse planning process, so that stock-outs are minimised. 

All the data you need is available in one place, making it easier to plan for the holiday season. Rich intelligence and analytics enable you to predict what customers want, and ensure you’re holding enough inventory always.

Enhance partnerships with distributors

Distributors play a big role in improving your product reach and revenue. In most cases, they showcase inventory from multiple brands, and sell based on product profitability. 

With Salesforce Experience Cloud, you can transform your relationships with distributors. Help them spend less time searching for information and more time selling your products. Make it easier for them to sell by streamlining and automating sales processes. Finally, treat them like customers by enabling them with: 

  • Attractive sales incentives, schemes, and offers
  • Bundles of frequently ordered products
  • The credit and debit information of multiple stakeholders like dealers 
  • Support for various payment options 
  • The ability to raise concerns and provide real-time feedback on products
  • Tools to track orders in real time
  • A streamlined process to return damaged products

Deliver seamless omni-channel service

The secret to retaining customers and encouraging repeat purchases is to deliver great service across channels. Customers tend to be more loyal to companies that respond quickly to their feedback or queries around order tracking, returns, and more. 

Salesforce Service Cloud helps you deliver seamless omni-channel service experiences. You can even build chatbots for customers to get quick responses to their queries across social media, websites, or WhatsApp. These chatbots have real-time access to Salesforce data, so they can provide contextual information to the customer. They can also automatically assign cases to the right agent whenever required. 

Agents, in turn, gain a full view of customer order history, loyalty points, marketing campaigns, discounts, and previous cases. This helps them resolve queries quickly and accurately. 

Through Salesforce, you can also connect service to sales, marketing, commerce, analytics, and IT on a single platform. This unified approach helps you deliver connected customer experiences across touchpoints.

Build a 360-degree household view

After customer 360, retailers are focusing on household 360 to increase their share of a family’s wallet. By building a 360-degree view of a household, they can better understand individual differences and preferences among family members. 

Mapping multiple customers to one family and customising messaging accordingly has been a game-changer for many conglomerates. Household 360 data can also be leveraged by product and market intelligence teams for future innovation.

As Indian consumer expectations continue to evolve, technology will play a key role in strengthening customer engagement, experiences, and relationships. Modern customers want a seamless, engaging, and personalised journey across touchpoints. Understanding and meeting these needs will be essential to retail success. 

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