Salesforce Enlists IBM Watson’s Help And Opens “Einstein” AI Layer To All Customers

What Happened
Salesforce is opening up “Einstein,” the artificial intelligence layer of its various cloud-based CRM software products, to all customers. This allows users of Salesforce product to tap Einstein’s AI smart to analyze and manage customer data, build predictive sales models, and streamline workflows.

The company is also launching the Einstein Vision platform — a collection of APIs that will let developers integrate image recognition capabilities to CRM and apps. This will make images a possible data input for Salesforce’s CRM system, allowing companies to gather insights from photos, such as detecting inventory levels or identifying customer preferences.

In addition, the company is teaming up with IBM to plug Watson into Salesforce’s Intelligent Customer Success platform, mixing customer insights from Watson based on local weather, healthcare, financial services, and retail with Einstein’s customer data to create a powerful data-driven CRM platform.

What Brands Need To Do
These new announcements from Salesforce come at a time when more and more companies are starting to experiment with AI-powered solutions in their business and marketing practices.  In January, Toyota launched a campaign that is partially generated by IBM’s machine learning program Watson, and last month, H&R Block integrated Watson into its tax filing system to helping people maximize their tax returns. As AI and machine learning technologies continue to develop, brands need to explore the kind of personalized user experience and product recommendations that AI-powered CRM solutions enable based on data and user input.


Source: TechCrunch & MarTech Today

Salesforce Launches Commerce Cloud With Apple Pay And “Einstein” Integration

What Happened
Salesforce on Wednesday launched Commerce Cloud, a new marketing tool that integrates assets from Demandware that Salesforce acquired in June. Salesforce is integrating its CRM and other platforms with Commerce Cloud, which also comes with Apple Pay integration as well as predictive analytics and product recommendations powered by its “Einstein” artificial intelligence platform. At launch, the service is already powering 1,800 retail stores for brands such as Adidas, Lands’ End, and Pandora.

What Retailers Should Do
Retailers can use this new cloud-based marketing service to better serve and engage with shoppers. The Apple Pay integration enables retailers to offer one-touch checkout for both online and in-store purchases, creating a frictionless checkout experience while also closing the online-offline attribution loop. The integration with Einstein, on the other hand, adds some analytics and customization features into the mix to make the system more efficient and data-driven.

For more information on how retailers can better utilize customer data to connect with shoppers across various sales channel, check out the Boundless Retail section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: Marketing Land


Customer Engagement Platform Flok Adds Chatbot Service

What Happened
Another day, another CRM platform gets on board with the ongoing rise of chatbots. Customer engagement startup flok announced that it is adding a chatbot service to its platform to enable the thousands of local businesses using its platform to connect with customers. The addition of chatbots aims to facilitate customer feedback and provide a more engaging customer service experience.

Previously, flok’s main product focused on helping local businesses build customer loyalty and improve engagement by using beacons to retarget customers who have previously visited their stores. Besides small local businesses, the company is also working with the likes of Salvation Army and Subway to help them better understand their customers on a local level.

Why Brands Should Care
As we pointed out in our Medium post on branded chatbots, they serve as a great tool for handling basic customer service and other single-focus tasks such as gathering feedback. This chatbot service from flok provides local businesses and brands with physical locations an opportunity to add a chatbot to their customer communication channels.

The Lab has extensive knowledge about building chatbots. If you’re interested in reaching your audience on messaging apps and better serving them with a chatbot, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) for more information or to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: Street Fight

LiveWorld Debuts Tool For Managing Conversations On Messenger

What Happened
LiveWorld, a social media software provider, released a product earlier this week to help brands better manage the various streams of conversations across social and messaging platforms in real time. The self-service, cloud-based platform combines social media scanning with case management and a CRM system to allow social managers to stay on top of all social chatter. The platform currently supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, as well as one messaging app, Facebook Messenger. The company says support for more messaging apps such as WeChat and Snapchat is coming soon.

What Brands Need To Do
As messaging apps start to open up to brands, an increasing number of brand-consumer interactions are moving from social media to messaging platforms. Therefore, it is only natural for brands to start deploying the right tools to manage their conversations with customers in messaging apps and improve their customer support.

For more information on how brands can effectively reach consumers on messaging apps and other conversational platforms, we recommend reading the Conversational Interfaces section in our Outlook 2016 and our latest Fast Forward analysis on chat bots.


Source: Marketing Land

Kate Spade’s Aggressive In-store iPad Integration

In a world where shoppers can access limitless inventory and product information, Kate Spade needed to give shoppers a reason to come in-store.  In response, the luxury retailers swapped out paper signs for iPads that display pricing and promotional information in select Tokyo locations. Beyond traditional displays, Kate Spade has incorporated product demos, inventory management, sharing functionality and more all geared at increasing dwell time in stores. 

Is ‘World of Warcraft’ A Loyalty Program?

WoW_loyaltyColumn originally featured on MediaPost

What’s the difference between “World of Warcraft” and a loyalty program? Surprisingly little. Blizzard (now Activision Blizzard) has made an empire out of games that don’t end. From “Diablo” to “World of Warcraft,” these are bestselling hits predicated on a simple formula: Make your customer an addict.

There’s a ton of things to learn from this company, including novel tactics of CRM – but for the purposes of this post, we’ll limit ourselves to a look at how a store loyalty program would look if designed by Blizzard.

Diminishing returns: All Blizzard games start off with tremendous quantity of rewards per investment at the outset, but taper off into hours of work for a marginal but significant qualitative gain. So our loyalty program will be layered with bronze, silver, and gold points. At the outset, bronze points accrue quickly and can be redeemed often for small perks. Eventually members can purchase a silver membership using their bronze points, at which point they accrue silver points instead, albeit at a slower rate. These can buy more rewarding perks. Gold membership follows in the same manner as silver. Read more.