Close this search box.

WEBINAR OVERVIEW Salesforce and Publicis.Sapient on developing meaningful shopper relationships

In a recent InternetRetailing webinar,  Relevant and resonant: how meaningful shopper relationships power retail success, in association with Salesforce, we heard from Jamie Merrick, director of strategic solutions at Salesforce, and Guy Elliot, SVP for the UK, France, South Africa and the Middle East at Publicis.Sapient. Here’s a bulletpoint overview of their presentation.

The context

  • In the UK and the US high street store closures are running at a high. The effect hasn’t yet been seen in other European countries but set to come as the percentage of total sales that is made online grows over time. 
  • 80% of growth in the US comes from Amazon, while in China $30.1bn of sales were made in a day, with $1bn in the first 85 seconds. 
  • Jamie Merrick: “I think what it says is there’s a huge drive behind it, we’ll only see more of this growth. It’s a challenging situation but it’s important to know that retail as a whole is not in bad shape. In North America there’s growth in all aspects of retail, not just online. The store is not dead – relevance is key and there’s a lot more to come from it.”

The research

  • Joint research by Salesforce and Publicis.Sapient, included mystery shopping to tell the story of what’s happening in the retail world.
  • Brands (60% rated them for product quality, 58% for innovation and 48% for uniqueness) and marketplaces are putting pressure on retailers.
  • Customer service was seen as the most important thing for retailers. 
  • Shopper mandates: ‘Be where I am’: the shopper will pick any channel at any time’ make it fresh, give it meaning. 

Shopper-first mandate #1: Be where I am

  • Guy Elliott of Publicis.Sapient says this is about playing to the strengths and weaknesses of marketplaces. 
  • New ways to engage customers. 
  • Guy Elliott: “Consumers are looking for relevance, looking to understand why you exist as a retailer to exist in their lives, and smaller retailers have a clearer sense of that. Over decades of being in business, larger retailers can lose their sense of purpose, why they’re in business, why they exist, and what they do for consumers.”
  • Department stores are a physical manifestation of a marketplace but more expensive. Important to offer a physical difference, an overall experience. At Westfield, six personal shoppers now drive 20% of John Lewis store sales now. Highly personalised service that is relevant to the customer.
  • Social: 7% of shoppers start looking on social, 76% on Google or Amazon. Amazon = search and buy.
  • Elliott: “People talk a lot about social, it’s a big buzzword but in terms of a place where people start to shop it has a low awareness.”
  • Voice commerce: 12% want to order by voice, 30% have used some kind of voice technology to buy, 70% of people with a smart speaker have done at least one shopping mission. But what are they buying: often low consideration or frequent purchases. Eg reordering a pizza or an Uber, while buying a jumper much harder.

Foundational retail truths #1

  • Mobile source of digital growth, with conversion up by 44% since 2015. Mobile wallet on site increases conversion by 2x
  • Optimise and connect mobile: 71% now use a mobile device in store: 29% research, 36% compare prices, 28% take a photo, 25% read a review. But many also using it to pay.
  • Payments: POS: now part of an ecosystem of checkouts. In China, very different uses of payment technology. 

Shopper mandate #2: Make it fresh

  • 69% of shoppers expect to see new merchandise at a site or store
  • 75% of site search terms are new each month
  • 59% of top-selling products change each month.
  • Top 21% of product generate 80% of revenue.
  • Top 1% generate 22% of revenue
  • Jamie Merrick: “Generally people have to focus on their strengths and make it pay from there. It’s a tough old business out there, maintaining margin in the face of competition is difficult. In general we’re seeing you have to get the top products right.
  • Unique exclusive offerings: eg collaborations, limited edition. eg My Croc/Lacoste; Benetton – working with other brands; Tiffany & Co: products/personalised products. Puma/Rihanna: ‘sold out’ messaging was a big thing.
  • Products only sold by you, own brands. Nike only now sells a limited edition through Amazon, otherwise it sells via its own channels.
  • Adidas store: personalised jersey, trainers done how you like. Also opportunity to run down running track, with guy who was very knowledgeable, sports science degree. Feels very personal – you’ll pay more for the goods.

Shopper mandate # 3: Give it meaning

  • How do you develop a meaningful connection with customers?
  • Personalisation and AI – but how do retailers get it right, in terms of trading GDPR data for personalisation experience?
  • Consumers really want personalised results, tailored to them. If you do something good with the data, using it to help you, they’re going to give you all their measurements, in order to get something for it. It’s the value.
  • Only 6% of people interact with AI-powered recommendations – but they contribute 37% of revenue. Not just old-fashioned ‘customers who bought this..’ but stuff that’s relevant to what you’re doing. AI to curate outfits leads to better conversion rates.
  • Personalised experiences: yield 4.5x higher cart rate. 5x higher spend per visit.
  • Can help retailers make better decisions. Can use data to make value decisions about customer profitability more: eg not giving free delivery to someone who always returns their stuff. But giving better delivery to top customers.
  • Loyalty: 9/10 top scoring brands and evidence of a loyalty programme in a mystery shopping study. 66% more willing to buy from brands and retailers with a loyalty programme. Airline loyalty programmes : get better service, better lounges etc.
  • Resonate with shoppers’ values: 9/10 of top scoring brands had above average scores
  • 45% of shoppers more likely to buy from brand with charitable donation
  • Living the value: eg Lush again animal testing, United Colors of Benetton against racism, lululemon promoting yoga and the environment.

The webinar was followed by a Q&A session. To see the webinar, slides and the Q&A session in full, visit the Salesforce webinar page here. 

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on