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SAP's new CX tools for retailers include generative AI assistant

The vendor's new tools include Digital Assistant for better personalization, accelerators to use customer data to improve CX, and a platform to sell excess products on the market.

SAP on Tuesday unveiled new CX tools for retailers.

The multinational software giant's latest offerings include a generative AI-backed virtual assistant, industry accelerators to better understand customer data, and the Recommerce platform, to reintroduce unsold or returned goods to the market.

As with many other vendors incorporating new generative AI tools, SAP doesn't have its entrants ready yet. The industry accelerators and Recommerce will be available by the fourth quarter of 2023, the vendor said. The SAP Digital Assistant is currently in alpha.

The tools were revealed to audiences at the SAP Sapphire conference held in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday and Wednesday.

More personalized responses

The SAP Digital Assistant will be integrated into SAP Start, the main starting point for SAP's cloud business offerings. Sellers will be able to use the Digital Assistant to gather data insights and generate email responses based on parsed customer and operational data. It will also be able to create recommendations for sellers based on the insights.

Putting generative AI assistants in CX platforms is becoming the norm, according to Liz Miller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

The reality of today is that AI tools are expected, especially generative tools that can assist sellers, service agents or marketers to actually create the right engagements for customers.
Liz MillerAnalyst, Constellation Research

"The reality of today is that AI tools are expected -- especially generative tools that can assist sellers, service agents or marketers -- to actually create the right engagements for customers," Miller said.

Other CX vendors that have previewed or released generative AI assistants include Microsoft Dynamics 365 with Copilot for Business Central, Salesforce with Einstein GPT for Service Cloud and Sales Cloud, and Zendesk with Zendesk AI.

The SAP Digital Assistant will be able to round up all interactions with a certain account and serve it up for further perusal, helping users craft a context-appropriate email response, according to Ritu Bhargava, chief product officer for SAP customer experience.

"You can see all of that history with a click," Bhargava said.

Embracing data across an industry

SAP's new industry accelerators are noteworthy because they can use customer data across an entire core industry, according to Miller.

"CX leaders often discuss the demand for end-to-end holistic systems," Miller said. "But, for most, the reality is that enterprise-wide is often limited to function-wide."

The industry accelerators will sit on top of back-end and front-end office connections to net other insights from CX-adjacent industries, Bhargava said.

"That's where this idea of an industry-tailored CX came in," she said.

The vendor's industry accelerators help SAP customers capitalize on SAP's wide ecosystem. SAP has customers that rely on its data and ERP offerings to manage their global operations, as well as native tool integrations to extract deeper customer understanding, Miller added.

The industry accelerators remove the need to pick up data and move it from one place to another and offer a connected data architecture that delivers analytics faster, according to Shelly Kramer, an analyst at Futurum Group.

"This is what customers want," Kramer said.

Screenshot of SAP Digital Assistant offering recommendations for sellers based on insights
SAP Digital Assistant offers recommendations for sellers based on insights.

Recirculating excess products

Retailers will be able to use SAP Recommerce to resell used, excess, restored or returned products. Recommerce will also help enterprises manage their inventories in terms of shipping, restocking and reselling costs.

With Recommerce, SAP aims to give sellers an option to dispose of excess products in a way that maximizes revenue, according to Bhargava.

"The Recommerce product helps in ensuring that your whole inventory is managed effectively," Bhargava said.

It will be constructed on top of SAP Commerce Cloud, SAP's ecommerce platform.

Mary Reines is a news writer covering customer experience and unified communications for TechTarget Editorial. Before TechTarget, Reines was arts editor at the Marblehead Reporter

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