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Adobe, Salesforce release tools to enhance retail experience

Adobe to open beta program for store-pickup features developed in partnership with Walmart; Salesforce debuts Datorama features for retailers.

Adobe and Salesforce released new retail experience features on their respective platforms to give brick-and-mortar users an edge on their competition.

Adobe rolled out Adobe Commerce payment services, which enables back-end support for PayPal, Venmo and other popular payment methods for a retailer's multiple storefronts. Previously, all had to be managed individually.

Moreover, Adobe released mobile messaging capabilities in Adobe Target, part of Adobe Experience Cloud, for retailers that access offline data from returns, loyalty cards or in-store service engagements. The data is stitched together in Adobe's customer data platform to aid personalization of product recommendations.

"Adobe Target can, let's say, provide the next three products that this customer might be interested in [in the customer's app], or recommend three things for a salesperson on the retail sales floor to ask about," said Benjamin Bloom, a Gartner analyst. "It would depend on the retailer's ability to supply that data from the offline world. But as long as the retailer is able to make those connections and think through what those [recommendations] would be, then it seems like it would be valuable."

In the coming months, Adobe also plans to launch a beta program for Adobe Commerce retailer tools that includes a new mobile interface for retailers' customers to buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) or at curbside, said Tory Brunker, senior director of Adobe Commerce product marketing. Included in the program will be back-end mobile tools to enable store associates to pick orders efficiently, validate selections and manage item substitutions.

Based on a partnership with Walmart, the tools are modeled after Walmart's own BOPIS and curbside pickup systems. It also enables stores to sell on Walmart's online marketplace if they so choose.

"With customer loyalty, time matters," said Brunker, who added that Walmart reduced customer wait times by four minutes with its system. "Four minutes is an eternity when you're sitting in your car waiting for someone to bring you your item."

Salesforce adds features

Salesforce also refreshed its e-commerce payment support, adding one-click PayPal integration to Salesforce Payments in Commerce Cloud, which will be available in February. Salesforce also plans to release Salesforce Commerce for B2B Wholesale Retail -- a digital portal for apparel manufacturers developed with ISV partner XCentium -- later this month.

Salesforce added features to Datorama, its marketing intelligence platform, that connect user data from cross-channel marketing campaigns to customer order data in Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Amazon Seller Central and Amazon Vendor Central marketplaces. These features, as well as new features in Tableau, are available today. In theory, they can help users see how marketing expenditures directly affect sales.

"These Datorama features allow Salesforce to stay toe-to-toe with the other retail- and commerce-minded B2C software players, creating a swath of personalization tools for enhanced targeting, retargeting, remarking, merchandising," said Predrag Jakovljevic, principal analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers. "Nothing too crazy in terms of innovation, but smart moves nonetheless."

Connecting data across marketing, customer service and e-commerce is a new priority for many Salesforce users, said Kelly Thacker, Salesforce Commerce product marketing manager. The ultimate goal is to improve digital and retail experiences through data analysis as customers interact with different parts of the business.

"Every customer is now a commerce customer, and they have a commerce professional, and [that job] has really grown in scope," Thacker said. "They're responsible not just for their commerce part of the business, but delivering ROI for marketing, and helping service agents improve all of the metrics that matter to them."

Aided by tech, retailers hit records

The timing of the feature releases coincided with the National Retail Foundation's NRF 2022: Retail's Big Show, a hybrid online and live event.

We're happy how things turned out this year, and what we saw in the holiday season is a precursor to the year ahead.
Matt ShayCEO, National Retail Federation

At the show, speaking in a technology showcase session, NRF CEO Matt Shay said retailers booked record holiday revenue, 14% more than in 2020. Digital experiences and new technologies that allow curbside and in-store pickup, online payments and social media sales helped drive retail numbers upward.

"[Through] all of the supply chain problems and turbulence in labor markets, retailers have been able to find solutions and consumers have been active," Shay said. "We're happy how things turned out this year, and what we saw in the holiday season is a precursor to the year ahead."

Don Fluckinger covers enterprise content management, CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce, customer service and enabling technologies for TechTarget.

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