With nearly 100 retail sessions at Dreamforce deciding which sessions to attend can be daunting. To help retailers make these tough decisions we created a list of 5 Can't-Miss Dreamforce Retail Sessions!
What is it? Parag Parekh, VP of Global Digital Sales of Adidas, details how Adidas uses Salesforce to launch sites with a localized customer experience in 31 countries.
Why is it a can't-miss? There aren't many companies with more global commerce experience in the sportswear vertical than Adidas. This is an incredible opportunity to learn from an executive of the 2nd largest sportswear manufacturer in the world.
What is it? Sara Brooks (Sr. Director of Lifecycle Marketing at The RealReal), Maria Hoyt (Lead Solution Engineer at Salesforce),and JR Linne (Director - Retail Industry Solutions at Salesforce) will detail how the RealReal has succeeded in creating personalized shopping journeys for B2B and B2C customers.
Why is it a can't-miss? The RealReal is an innovator in both the B2B and B2C customer experience space. Walk away with the latest insights into growing your business with Marketing Cloud, Pardot, and Sales Cloud.
What is it? - Marlene Garcia (Director of Sales Systems at United Airlines) , Greg Moore (Sr. Mgr of Sales Systems at United Airlines) , and Regan Roby (Director, Product Marketing Salesforce) will speak about redesigning your customer experience to meet evolving customer expectations.
Why is it a can't-miss? - This session will outline a 5 step process to redesign your digital experience to constantly stay ahead of evolving customer expectations.
What is it? Ann Marie Aviles (Sr. Marketing Associate, Industry Strategy & Insights at Salesforce) and Kelly Borter (Sr. Corporate Marketing Manager at Salesforce) will speak about insights gleaned from 10,000 consumers about the marketing methods they find the least intrusive.
Why is it a can't-miss? Make sure you are interacting to your customers where they want to interact with you. This carefully compiled research will leave you prepared to do just that!
Zenkraft is sponsoring our 8th straight Dreamforce! Our team is excited to land in San Francisco. James Lumb (CEO of Zenkraft and Mike Getchis (US General Manager) will both be among the 170,000+ in attendance for the premier event in tech.
Customer Success Expo
During the expo, our team will be stationed at booth #1915 conveniently located near the Commerce Theatre in the Dreamforce Campground. We hope you will come by to see us.
Drop by booth #1915 to:
- See our products in action - No matter which Salesforce Cloud you're using, we can help you ship from Salesforce. - Hear about product updates - We are constantly refining and improving our products. This year we added branded tracking, self-service returns, and 20 carriers. - Grab some awesome giveaways - Take home some Zenkraft gear. - Meet with us - Swing by our booth or contact us to set up a meeting.
The Dreamforce Campground will be open:
- 9:00 am–7:00 pm on Tuesday
- 9:00 am–5:00 pm on Wednesday
- 10:00 am–5:00 pm on Thursday
- 10:00 am- 2:00 pm on Friday
Ain't No Party Like a Dreamforce Party
You aren't getting the full Dreamforce experience if you don't attend a party or two!
We hope to see you there, drinking a beer and bonding with your peers in the manufacturing industry!
In addition to participating in the Customer Success Expo, Zenkraft will also compete in the Commerce App Demo Jam on Thursday! The Commerce App Demo Jam will be hosted by Salesforce MVPs Rebe De La Paz and Roy Gilad and will take place in the App Exchange Theater at 1:00 PM PT. The competition will pit five Salesforce partners against each other to see who has the best 3 minute "no fluff" demo.
The 5 participants are:
- Zenkraft - Shipping, Tracking and Returns in Salesforce
-Adyen- All-in-one payments platform that grows your business from day one.
-Bloomreach- Headless experience cloud to build unique digital experiences and grow faster.
-CloudSense- Configure Price Quote (CPQ), Product Catalog, Order Management, Pricing Management, Contract Lifecycle Management and eCommerce.
-SessionM - Turns everyday customer data into exceptional customer experiences to increase incremental behavior
The winner will be decided by those in the audience. We hope you will be in attendance and help Zenkraft walk away with a prize!
If you'd like to schedule a private meeting to discuss how our native solution can benefit your company , please contact Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve a meeting room.
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.”