Data & AI Give Retailers Commerce Superpowers

Produced by


Jenna Flateman Posner

Chief Digital Officer,
Solo Stove 

Jason Purcell

co-founder & CEO

Scott Lux

Global EVP of Technology and Innovation, Esprit 

Genna Gwynn

Senior Vice President, Commerce Cloud, Salesforce 

Alex Bucher

Vice President of Product Management, Commerce Cloud, Salesforce 

Alex Bucher, Vice President of Product Management for Salesforce Commerce Cloud, introduced the session on the value of generative AI in retail. He emphasized the importance of customer experiences in today's technology landscape and highlighted the significant benefits of AI, as seen in Salesforce's State of Commerce report. He discussed the challenges companies face in implementing AI-driven customer experiences, such as disconnected systems and data security concerns. Bucher introduced Commerce Cloud as a solution, leveraging AI to empower teams and personalize interactions at scale. He announced Commerce AI for Retail, featuring tools like Ship Page Designer AI and Copilot for Shoppers, aimed at enhancing merchandising and boosting revenue. Bucher stressed the importance of trust and data integration in delivering seamless customer experiences.

Genna Gwynn, Senior Vice President of Commerce Cloud at Salesforce, led a panel discussion focusing on the potential of generative AI to enhance the retail experience and meet consumer expectations. Genna and the panelists discussed the challenges of improving online shopping experiences, highlighting the statistic that 14% of consumers are dissatisfied. They emphasized the opportunity for generative AI to lead customers to a more satisfying experience by improving data quality and personalization. The panelists explored how generative AI can shape the future of retail by streamlining processes, accelerating time to market, and delighting customers. They encouraged retailers to adopt a test-and-learn approach and emphasized the importance of collaboration within the ecosystem to future-proof retail strategies.

Jenna Flateman Posner, the Chief Digital Officer of Solo Stove, discussed the application of AI in retail and highlighted various use cases where AI could be beneficial, such as in copy creation, chatbots, and product enablement processes. Jenna emphasized the importance of utilizing existing technology and tools like Salesforce to showcase the value of AI to executives and peers. She shared success stories, including increased efficiency and decreased workload with generative chatbots.

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Jenna also envisioned AI improving the online shopping experience by personalizing search results akin to a physical store interaction. She shared a story about the online shopping experience, particularly regarding finding a pair of shoes. She compared the ease of finding shoes in a physical store, where a helpful assistant guides the customer through the process, to the challenges faced when searching for shoes online. Jenna expressed frustration with the typical online search experience, where a simple query for "red shoes" returns an overwhelming number of results, requiring the customer to sift through various sizes and genders. She highlighted the missed opportunity for a more personalized and conversational search experience, similar to the assistance provided in physical stores. Jenna emphasized the importance of implementing AI technologies to enhance the online shopping journey and encouraged experimentation and testing to improve customer engagement and satisfaction.

Jason Purcell, co-founder and CEO of Salsify, discussed the role of AI in enhancing collaboration between retailers and their suppliers, focusing on content onboarding as a tangible application. He described how generative AI streamlines the process, citing an example of a company rewriting product detail pages according to Walmart's style guide for various retailers. Jason highlighted the shift in dynamics, with retailers able to delegate more tasks to suppliers, reducing the burden previously borne solely by retailers. He emphasized the importance of forming intuition about AI capabilities and encouraged experimentation, even for executives and frontline workers. Jason also discussed the future of workflows, envisioning processes involving fewer people and integrating creative individuals into automated workflows. He advised companies to design their products and retailer sites with language models in mind, ensuring the surfacing of customer data for improved personalization. Jason emphasized the need to view language models as consumers and to prioritize surfacing relevant data for incorporation into AI models, despite potential challenges in implementation.

Scott Lux, Global EVP of Technology and Innovation at Esprit, highlighted the challenges and opportunities of implementing AI in retail. Scott emphasized the need for retailers to approach AI as a journey rather than a quick fix, comparing it to the early days of the iPhone where the full potential was yet to be realized. He stressed the importance of a principled approach, focusing on specific business challenges or customer experiences rather than trying to do everything at once. Scott also discussed the importance of having the right foundation in terms of data infrastructure and governance to fully leverage AI capabilities while ensuring compliance with regulations like GDPR. He noted the shift towards using AI to streamline internal processes and enable brands to focus more on creativity and product innovation, ultimately enhancing the customer experience. Scott concluded by emphasizing the importance of defining success metrics and priorities before implementing AI initiatives and using AI to track progress and make necessary adjustments.

MAR 2024