What is it? - Jay Noble, SVP GTM Salesforce Leader of NTT Data, will speak about shepherding businesses through technological transformation.
Why is it a can't-miss? - Jay is a Salesforce expert with a background in business development. He has been matching customers with the right technology to help them grow for 30+ years. This session will help your organization develop a transformation plan that will help your company thrive in periods of changing technology.
What is it? - Sarah Hatch, Senior Director of CSG Product Management at Salesforce, will explain how brands can use Marketing Cloud to build 1 on 1 relationship with their customers.
Why is it a can't-miss? - Sarah has been responsible for building strong client relationships in various roles for 10+ years. She has experienced the negative effects of a siloed organization on customer experience. You will leave this session ready to break down walls that are causing a fractured experience for your customers.
Why is it a can't-miss? - Attending this keynote lead by two great brands will be a game changer for your company. Learn how they are taking advantage of Salesforce Sales Cloud's capabilities to wow customers with an incredible level of personalized service.
Why is it a can't-miss? - Not sure how to effectively use Einstein Analytics dashboards? Attend this session and get your hands dirty! You will leave this session with the knowledge to drive "immediate business value".
What is it? - Greg Bellotti (VP/CIO of Elementis) and Carissa Venuto (Customer Success Manager at Salesforce) detail how Elementis was able to to align 4 different business units and went from zero to 95% adoption in 60 days.
Why is it a can't-miss? - It can be hard to get your entire organization to buy into change. People are naturally averse to change, even if the evidence is in favor of change. This session is perfect for someone who wants to bring other departments under the Salesforce umbrella to create a less siloed organization.
What is it? - "Mindfulness" is an important part of Salesforce's corporate culture. The Plum Village Monastics will be on hand to share this piece of Salesforce's culture with conference attendees. Plum Village was founded in 1982 by by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. "Mindfulness" is weaved into each activity at Europes largest Buddhist Monastery.
Why is it a can't-miss? - Dreamforce is 4 days of constant learning and networking. You will return to your office with a notebook full of ideas ready to take your company to a new level. But it's important to recharge your batteries during the conference. Spending time with our friends from southwest France is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
To stay competitive, brands are spending tons of money to make returns hassle-free for consumers. Increasing the ease of returns is a great way to increase customer loyalty and retention.
However, recently, brands have gotten so good at making returns hassle-free for consumers that the number of returns has skyrocketed. According to the NRF, total merchandise returns account for $369 Billion in lost sales for US Retailers.
The effects are even more significant with omnichannel brands. The money omnichannel retailers are spending on returns grows as their online sales become a larger part of their overall sales. Steve Dennis, President & Founder of SageBerry Consulting, calls this phenomenon the "omnichannel migration dilemma."
If they aren’t already, brands should be paying close attention to the number of returns and the costs associated with them.
As Peter Drucker would say, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
The Returns Epidemic
“Online shoppers want the same level of choice, control and convenience making their returns as they do making their purchases,” - Teresa Finley, CMO for UPS.
First and foremost, consumers want returns and exchanges to be free. According to a report by Walker-Sands, 54% of consumers said that free returns and exchanges made them more likely to shop online. The only factor that ranked higher was free shipping.
Unfortunately for brands, free returns are not free for the business. Returns increase costs in a multitude of ways. From shipping costs to increased labor costs (inspection and restocking). Not to mention that some of the returned inventory will no longer be in good enough condition to sell at full price (or at all).
Fraud & Abuse are Making Matters Worse
Unfortunately, good-intentioned policies are being taken advantage of by individuals who want the dressing room experience at home and criminal groups alike.
No, we aren’t suggesting that Jessica who is unsure about the perfect dress for her date is as bad as groups who are deliberately committing fraud. But both are sucking profits out of companies whose only crime is trying to take care of customers who aren’t pleased with their purchase.
According to Appris, for every $100 in returns, $5.00 is lost to return fraud.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
The same study estimates that the retail industry loses just under $24 Billion per year to returns fraud and abuse.
Every brand in the world strives to provide a great customer experience. But every brand can’t afford to hemorrhage money from returns.
Finding a Balance Between Customer Experience and Your Return Policy
Brands are in a dilemma:
1. Should they provide a liberal return/exchange policy? 100% satisfaction guarantee, no questions asked, etc.
2. Should they provide a more stringent policy? Restricts the amount of product a customer can return, the period in which they can return, etc.
Similar to most issues, the answer is in the middle.
Lenient return policies are a great way to win the hearts, minds, and dollars of consumers. Companies like Land’s End and Zappos have built their companies on the backs of generous returns policies. This bet on building relationships with their customers has paid dividends and is inseparable from their brand's image.
Despite all the positives of a lenient return policy, the risk of abuse can not be ignored. L.L. Bean is probably the most famous example of a brand changing its return policy. Last year, the company decided to end its 100% satisfaction guaranteed policy instituted by the company’s founder. Making this decision after they observed a significant amount of abuse from their customer base.
The abuse was so widespread that Company Chairman, Shawn Gorman, had his own donated shirt returned for a refund. L.L. Bean reported that the policy cost them $250 million over 5 years. Even so, the decision to change the policy was met with backlash from customers like the one below:
Some customers felt so betrayed by the brand’s decision that they even filed lawsuits.
Here are two more examples of companies who were known for having very generous policies who felt like they need to make changes:
- Costco - In 2007 the company restricted returns of electronics.
- REI - The company’s return policy was so lenient and return abuse was so rampant it earned nicknames like Rental Equipment Inc.
Have you considered changing your return policy?
Is return abuse a widespread issue for your company? Is it putting your company under immense financial pressure? It may be time to make sweeping changes to your return policy.
Here are the 4 main ways that brands alter their return policies:
- Require proof of purchase
- Require an item to be in its original packaging
- Reduce the amount of time customers have to return the item.
- Give customers store credit for returns
Worried about the cost of returns?
Don’t be! Ok, maybe you should just a little. Some of the biggest names in e-commerce are taking action against excessive returns. Amazon and Zappos have both suspended customers they identified as serial returners.
There isn’t a definitive best policy for deterring serial returns. But using data to target individuals who you know are pushing the limits of your return policy is a great alternative to making sweeping changes to your return policy. Sweeping changes punish your entire customer base for the actions of a few.
Reducing Returns with Zenkraft Dashboards
Zenkraft’s solution collects data on returns and packages them into easily digestible dashboards. These dashboards can be a valuable weapon in your efforts to crack down on return fraud and abuse.
Zenkraft’s dashboards will empower your team to make an informed decision to protect your margins. When analyzing the data you will be able to identify product categories, specific products, the reason for the return, and which customers are making the most returns.
After reviewing the data you can then determine what course of action to take. Whether that means, making wholesale changes to your return policy, changing your policy for a specific product category, or warning/banning customers who are testing the limits of your policy.
We can all agree that you’d rather your brand be on the first page of Google when you search “Generous return policies” instead of “Stingy return policies”. But just because your brand is perceived to have a less generous policy doesn’t mean it was a mistake.
Brands, especially those whose online stores are driving a large percentage of sales, need to be wary of the rising expenses associated with returns. And keep a close eye out for serial returners. It may be necessary to tweak your return policy to preserve the financial health of your company.
Brands span industries and sell completely different products. So why would there be a one size fits all return policy for every brand? I would look ridiculous in Shaq’s suit, but that doesn’t mean I won’t look good in a tailored suit.
Your return policy should be tailored to fit the nature of your product. Books and video games that can be completed in a week should have shorter return policies than refrigerators. If 85% of L.L. Bean’s customers were ok with the controversial decision to change from lifetime returns to 1-year returns. It’s certainly possible for your brand to strike a balance that is both customer-friendly and bottom-line friendly.
Salesforce recently made a splash by announcing the launch of two new clouds, Manufacturing Cloud and Consumer Goods Cloud.
We recently sat down with our CEO, James Lumb, to discuss Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud.
What Manufacturing Cloud feature are you most excited about?
James: “ If I had to choose one feature of Manufacturing Cloud that I’m most excited about, it would be forecasting with formula builder. I believe this will result in more accurate forecasts that take into account the latest projected demand, current orders, and deals that are in the final stages of being closed. This feature will make it easier for the entire organization to actively participate in forecasts, instead of forecasting in silos. “
How will Manufacturing Cloud help better align sales, operation, and product teams?
James: “I see Manufacturing Cloud as a perfect extension of Salesforce’s mission to provide businesses with a 360° customer view. The Zenkraft platform builds upon that 360° view even further by showing shipping, order, and return information alongside customer information. Ultimately, it’s about giving employees complete visibility of ALL data related to a customer. “
What effect does this release have on Zenkraft’s product offerings?
James: “ It touches every part of our product offering. Our area of expertise covers 4 areas: order fulfillment, real-time quoting, returns & replacements, and tracking.The addition of Manufacturing Cloud will help us streamline these processes for companies in this vertical.”
What functionality does Zenkraft bring into manufacturing cloud?
James: "Shipping is at the core of our business and manufacturers are constantly shipping. Whether they are shipping for replenishment, fulfillment, or warranty repair, we can help manufacturers organize these shipments and keep track of the associated costs. This functionality can be especially useful for companies who are doing maintenance in the field. Zenkraft can provide field-technicians with real-time information on the delivery status of parts and tools needed to perform maintenance, which increases the efficiency. “
According to a report by McKinsey, the manufacturing industry is only between 30% and 33% digitally mature. This is much lower than in other industries. How do you anticipate manufacturing cloud helping the industry close this gap?
James: “ It will help manufacturers close this gap by bringing all their data into one place. Information can be hard to access, especially in large organizations. Data can be spread across different ERP systems or even excel documents. Having all this information in one place will help management teams make decisions based on the full picture.
When you are dealing with something as important as forecasting how much product to produce you need this data at your disposal. “
Have you seen any specific sectors of the manufacturing industry that are increasing digitalization?
James: “ I can think of two particular sectors off the top of my head: the CBD vertical and end-to-end ecommerce companies (DTC manufacturers).”
Do you anticipate the introduction of Manufacturing Cloud facilitating the adoption of other Salesforce Clouds in the manufacturing industry?
James: “100%. I see manufacturing cloud as a product that will pull a lot of manufacturers into Salesforce. Then as they see the impact of this cloud on their organization they will begin to implement some of the other clouds. Manufacturers are typically very good at manufacturing product, but they aren’t necessarily great at sales and marketing. Adding Marketing Cloud or Sales Cloud will help these companies become more proficient in those areas. “
How does expanding into this new vertical help Salesforce compete with SAP?
James: “Salesforce and SAP is an interesting battle to keep tabs on. Both companies have made huge acquisitions in order to deliver an even higher level product for their customers. This sort of innovation-driving competition is only going to benefit users of both products. But I think Salesforce really knocked it out of the park by bringing new and existing business data into the same cloud. It positions the company to go after large manufacturers.”
Are you putting enough emphasis on post-purchase experience?
There’s a time lag for online retailers between purchase and package arrival that even Amazon Prime can’t eliminate. Unfortunately, customer experience during this time is often overlooked by brands.
It makes sense.
According to Retail Learning, retail brands spend almost 80% of their budget on attracting new visitors to their website, leaving a much smaller percentage to dedicate to the post-purchase experience. This often results in the brand passing the baton to shipping carriers whose expertise is in delivering packages, not providing a seamless digital experience.
However, the post-purchase experience shouldn’t be an afterthought. Ultimately, these are real customers, not potential customers. They thought enough of your brand to spend their hard-earned money with you. And don’t forget what you learned in Intro to Business: it’s more cost-effective to retain a customer than to convert a new one.
Does this sound like your brand? You are not alone. According to a CMO Council study, over 55% of consumers are not pleased with their online experience. Luckily, it’s not too late to improve how you interact with customers post purchase.
Here are 5 improvements you can make using the Zenkraft Post-Purchase platform:
1) Increase ease of returns
According to a survey by Slice Intelligence, return expenses and return effort are number 2 and 3 on the list of online shopper frustrations. Although brands are aware that consumers value a great return experience, over 50% of e-commerce sites still have a returns interface with substantial usability Issues. Even more concerning for brands with poor return processes is that 20% of users would never or are very unlikely to buy again from a company who has disappointed them with their site’s return experience. The nature of e-commerce lends itself to a higher level of returns than traditional stores, where a customer can physically experience the product and establish a higher level of certainty that it meets their needs.
Processing returns can be costly for a business. RSR Research retail analyst, Paula Rosenblum, estimates that retailers lose a third of their revenue to returns, but losing repeat customers due to a difficult returns experience can end up costing your brand even more. According to the Adobe Digital Index, 40% of US e-commerce revenue comes from repeat customers.
To make your customer’s return experience as stress-free as possible, you can implement self-service returns using our post-purchase platform. This feature allows dissatisfied customers to generate a return label, save it, and print it off at home without having to speak with members of your customer service team.
You might have skimmed past the part about saving shipping labels. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but 67% of users want to print off their label at a later date and 65% of sites DO NOT have an easily identifiable way to save the label. This can significantly reduce stress for those customers who are in a rush or those without a printer in the home. We also recently started supporting QR codes, which eliminates the need for a printer.
Our post purchase platform also allows you to gather data on why items are being returned. For example, a shoe retailer could add a question about shoe fit to determine if a particular shoe runs small or large. This data can then be used to generate reports in Salesforce to identify your most returned products, serial returners, and reasons for returns that can be used to reduce returns, and, ultimately, improve customer experience.
2) Make tracking experience seamless
Confusing, disorienting, clunky, difficult. These are not the words that you want to be associated with your online user experience. But the fact is: sending customers to a shipping carriers landing page can be all of those words.
Despite the clear disadvantages of trusting carriers with this aspect of the customer experience, 21% of e-commerce sites outsource this vital function.
Zenkraft allows you to easily create a branded tracking page hosted on your domain instead of sending your customers to the shipping carrier’s site for tracking information.
Tracking pages built using our Commerce Cloud Cartridge can be quickly customized in accordance with your brand’s style guide, leaving no doubt in the consumer’s mind whose site they are on.
Additional tracking page features will be covered in each of the next 3 sections.
3) Tailor product offerings
With what seems like endless options, shoppers want a little bit of help. Consumers want the same tailored experience they get on Amazon and Netflix on your site. When it’s not tailored, consumers notice.
Customization has become such an integral part of a modern shoppers experience that “50% of consumers say they’re likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs.”
And when brands DO customize each individual shopping experience with recommendations the results speak for themselves. According to a recent Salesforce study, “Visits where the shopper clicked a recommendation created 26% of ecommerce revenue.” You might be thinking, “Customizing ads like Amazon sounds great. We will get to that after we build our second company headquarters.” It’s not as out of reach as you think. With Einstein recommendations, you can have this Amazon-like capability up and running in less than 10 minutes. Einstein recommendations is an AI-driven Salesforce feature that constantly studies visitor behavior to discover their likes and dislikes to learn which products individuals will be most interested in purchasing.
While most companies will talk about the value of these AI-driven recommendations on your product details page, we suggest using Einstein recommendations on your tracking page to boost revenue post-purchase. Using your tracking page as a marketing tool might seem weird at first, but Zenkraft believes tracking pages are a tool that brands can use to produce significant results. Just ask Icebreaker, which increased clicks by 40% and revenue by 28% by adding Einstein recommendations to their Commerce Cloud site.
4) Keep customers in the know
Consumers understand that delays can be unavoidable, but they don’t like being left in the dark. They are busy, after all. They have jobs, doctor’s appointments, and soccer games to get to. Receiving a package is just one of many items on their to-do list, and they don’t want to be stuck by their front door waiting for a delivery.
A bad experience between buying and unboxing can leave a blemish on the customer experience that has nothing to do with the quality of your product. This is especially true if your product is an inexpensive item because the hassle can quickly exceed the perceived value of the product being delivered.
To avoid a poor customer experience overshadowing your product, we suggest keeping your customers in the know early and often. According to Retail Learning, 40% of e-commerce shoppers check their shipping status one or more times per day after ordering.
It’s easy to keep your customers informed with our Commerce Cloud integration, which will automatically update the tracking page with the latest data from the carrier. Users will be able to see more significant shipping milestones such as: in transit, out for delivery, delivered, as well as a complete travel history of their delivery.
Additionally, your brand will be able to keep customers in the know by sending them notifications via their favorite messaging app or smart speaker. For more information on Zenkraft’s ecommerce shipping notifications, see our recent blog by clicking here.
5) Increase shipping options
The Baymard Institute found that the #1 reason for abandoning an online shopping cart is extra fees related to shipping, taxes, & fees. To counter this, brands must offer as many low cost/free options to customers as possible.
We know that’s easier said than done. That’s why we recommend adding a buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS) option to your tracking page! BOPIS, also known as “Click and Collect,” can be a cost-effective way to provide your customers with another free shipping option.
BOPIS has become very popular with online shoppers and they expect to see this option during checkout. According to Business Insider, the absence of in store pick up can cost you money, 50% of shoppers have determined where to shop based on the absence of BOPIS alone. Brands like Home Depot, Walmart, and Target are doubling down on this trend, and it’s driving growth!
According to Target's COO, John Mulligan, investments in diversifying shipping options for their customers (via in-store pickup, drive up, and Shipt) accounted for nearly three-quarters of it’s 34% digital sales growth in Q2 of 2019.
Consumers love having choices, and BOPIS is definitely a choice your brand should provide to consumers because it can help you as much as it helps them.
BOPIS can help reduce shipping costs, shipping times, and drive customers into your brick and mortar stores, where 85% of BOPIS shoppers admit to giving in to the urge to impulse buy.
Zenkraft builds upon the standard BOPIS functionality in Commerce Cloud, which creates a smooth process where:
- Our platform automatically allocates a store to fulfill the inventory.
- Store staff claim the shipping order, and it's added to the fulfillment queue.
- Zenkraft notifies the customer that the shipment is ready for pickup.
You will also be able to customize your tracking page to provide a flawless experience for your customers who choose the BOPIS option. Rather than force the standard shipping process steps to “fit” BOPIS, we provide you with standard steps for this process (Order Placed, Store Preparing Order, & Ready for Pickup). Additionally, you can add specific store contact information, map functionality, and collect pickup feedback.
The period between the buy button and delivery is crucial for your business. Please don't overlook the importance of the post-purchase customer experience, and always remember that your responsibility to your customer doesn’t end when they hit “Place Order.”
Founded in late 2016, Litify’s mission is to transform how legal services are rendered through integrative, intuitive technology. The singular platform streamlines and automates task management, document generation, intake management, and client communications while providing data-driven insights that help law firms scale and increase their bottom line. Built on Salesforce.com, Litify is a secure, extensible, and rapidly evolving platform.
Zenkraft has been building Shipping applications on the Salesforce platform since 2009. With a focus on process automation and declarative configuration (no code!), Zenkraft brings the functionality of 60+ global shipping carriers like FedEx, UPS, and USPS to the platform, natively.
Traditionally connecting USPS and FedEx functionality for labeling and tracking would represent an IT integration project. Because Litify and Zenkraft are built on the same platform, both solutions can empower business users to configure the application with clicks, no code access needed.
Zenkraft brings mailroom functionality into ‘Matters’ in Litify, allowing the generation of mailers from workflow, and immediately associating the cost of mailers back to a ‘Matter’.
Simply by sending a mailer to a Litify Contact, Zenkraft automatically creates a cost line item under the related ‘Matter’. Zenkraft also provides status updates as the mailers are delivered; any user can see when a package was sent and delivered, or better yet, build powerful workflow actions to assist with faster client on-boarding.
We recently sat down with March Bloch, Practice Manager at Brooks Injury Law, to discuss the effect implemented Litify and Zenkraft had on the firm.
Why did you choose to use Zenkraft and Litify?
We chose Litify because it is the most sophisticated, customizable, forward-thinking case management system out there. We chose Zenkraft because we had a history of using e-postage software with other case management systems, and Litify’s implementation partner, Brio, highly recommended Zenkraft and said it was the best Salesforce-compatible solution out there for electronic postage integration.
Where did you see value in using them?
We are always looking for ways to do things faster and more efficiently. Having a platform like Litify that can integrate with so many different solutions has proven invaluable in that regard. With the Multi-Carrier tool from Zenkraft, we can quickly print the postage and recipient information for any carrier we need. Employees have raved about how easy this makes their lives.
Were you able to onboard more clients in less time using these two platform solutions?
Yes. Because they work seamlessly with one another, we can do everything we need to do for a new client without ever leaving our Litify screen. We save time by not having to bounce between different software platforms. Platforms that do not integrate with one another always result in more manual labor (and hence, more cost) on our end.
How did you track each shipment before using Zenkraft?
Manually. We would type in the tracking # into our old case management software and have to go to FedEx or the postal service online to manually enter tracking numbers.
Has the Zenkraft/Litify integration allowed you greater control over shipping costs?
YES. I would be afraid to know how much money was lost in shipping costs when employees would not enter their postage expenses. Now, thanks to Litify and Zenkraft, we don’t have to enter them. The software does it for us automatically. This is saving us thousands of dollars annually.
Was there an efficiency gain in using Zenkraft?
Yes, I hate doing mailings but with Zenkraft, it takes such little effort that I don’t mind. Fewer keystrokes = more employee productivity (and, just as importantly, more employee happiness).
If you were to send a document to the wrong address/person, what is the impact? Did you see a reduction in error when you started using Zenkraft?
Depending on the document, there are potentially huge implications. If we miss a deadline, it can have a significant adverse impact on a client’s case. Because Zenkraft pulls addresses from Litify automatically and can also validate those addresses, we have not had any mail bounce back due to our error since we began using Zenkraft.