Salesforce Adds New E-Commerce, Einstein AI Features for CRM Platform

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Salesforce.com has announced several new e-commerce and marketing services designed for its cloud-based customer relationship management platform.

Salesforce Third-Party Ecosystem

Salesforce is building out its portfolio of cloud services with several announcements made at its Connections conference in Chicago on June 13. 

Among these are the CRM giant’s B2B Commerce, a new service that’s part of its Commerce Cloud that’s designed to help companies create the same kind of rich branded e-commerce experience for business buyers that is more typically directed at consumers.  

As an example of how this might work, Salesforce cites the example of a large sporting goods manufacturer that sells shoes directly to consumers via its website. B2B Commerce offers a unified commerce experience across multiple channels so that same manufacturer can sell product inventory to third party retailers and distributors with the same tools and presentation as the B2C use case.

 “We’re able to create a consumer-like shopping experience for B2B customers that’s built natively on the same platform,” Bobby Jania, Salesforce vice president of product marketing, told eWEEK

“It’s the same experience for resellers and wholesalers as a consumer shopping on the site. There may be a smaller volume of orders, but the complexity is much higher with different shipping dates and locations across multiple purchase orders so there is a huge value in bringing this together in one system.” 

Interaction Studio is a new addition to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud portfolio of cloud services. It offers marketers real-time management features such as suggestions on when to offer consumers a “next best offer” based on their online behavior at the company’s channel or websites. This can range from personalized email, an app notification or even in-store where a sales rep can view a customer’s profile to view offer recommendations.

Another feature, Campaign Orchestration, uses Interaction Studio’s decision engine to help marketers better manage campaigns using business rules and frequency capping to help ensure offers are relevant to consumers.

A third feature, Lifecycle Insights, offers analytics and visualizations to help marketers get a better read on engagement trends and whether, for example, consumers are responding to an email campaign or offers at a commerce site.

Salesforce is also adding to the list of AI features that it markets under the name Einstein. The new Einstein Segmentation uses machine learning and pattern analysis to analyze billions of consumer signals within the Salesforce data management platform.

The idea is to help companies identify distinct personas for their brands and deliver a message tailored to their interests instead of a one-size-fits-all message sent to everyone who visits the website. For example, an outdoor gear and apparel retailer might be able to identify Solo Backpackers and Gadget Enthusiasts as distinct personas they can market to with different messages.

The new Einstein Splits is a predictive split flow control feature embedded directly into Salesforce Journey Builder. (Journey Builder is a part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud that tracks and manages the steps a customer goes through when considering a purchase or maintaining a relationship with a brand).

It offers a range of predictive features such as identifying the likelihood a customer will open, click, unsubscribe or convert. Marketers can test different channels, content and tactics to attract, retain or win back consumers.

Jania emphasizes that Einstein Splits and the other new services are easy enough to be used by line of business professionals and managers without the help of data scientists. “We’re giving you a way to find unique patterns you don’t expect,” he said. “For example, a travel company might see they have a lot of foodies looking at travel options and can market to them with relevant offers.” 

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