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Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC) is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms, especially among enterprise-level companies. Thousands of online stores are powered by SFCC, and that includes 186 of the top 10,000 sites on the internet by traffic, such as Adidas and Ashley Furniture.
One of the biggest reasons why SFCC is so popular is its Einstein artificial intelligence (AI) assistant.
AI describes software that is able to perform tasks that people once thought could only be performed by the human mind, such as reasoning, learning and understanding language. SFCC’s Einstein tools are made possible by two different types of AI technology:
Machine Learning: Data scientists will design a model that trains AI on known input and output data — and then, the AI can “learn” how to predict future output data based on new input data. This is the core concept of all other types of AI technology.
Natural Language Processing: This type of AI technology is able to understand the complex grammatical rules of human language and recognize patterns within large datasets of text.
SFCC Einstein's Features
Einstein isn’t just one feature, but rather a set of different AI-powered tools. The specific Einstein tools you have access to will depend on which version of Salesforce you’re using.
Search Recommendations: Einstein enables a Google-like typeahead search engine that offers autocomplete suggestions based on the user’s past behavior. For example, if someone types the letter “s” into your store’s search bar, the suggestion might be “sneakers” for one user and “sandals” for another, based on which items they’ve purchased and product pages they’ve visited before. This tool will nudge visitors in the direction that most likely leads to a sale.
Commerce Insights: This analytics dashboard makes it much easier to understand your customers. You can select a product and see which products were most often purchased in the same cart with it, review the performance of sales and drill into detailed data regarding specific products based on a selected data range.
Predictive Sort: The order of products listed on search results and category pages will be personalized based on the user’s previous browsing habits and purchases. This is an especially helpful tool for your mobile visitors, which likely make up about half of your total visitors. Mobile screens tend to show fewer listings per page, and users usually don’t have the patience to flip through many pages.
Search Directories: When a visitor searches for a term and gets zero results, they’ll often back out and try another store. But in that case, you may have been able to make the sale if your search engine were just a bit smarter. For example, if someone enters the term “burgundy shirt” and the search comes up empty-handed, there may have been a red shirt available that they would have been happy with. The Search Directories tool will detect these associations and show you how to expand your keyword list according to user behavior.
Product Recommendations: This tool uses machine learning to suggest the most relevant product recommendations during the customer’s shopping journey (it works for both guests and signed-in users). Even if the customer doesn’t make a purchase, they’ll get the impression that your store offers a lot of products they’re interested in, which will encourage them to come back in the future. Also, you can go in and manually edit these recommendations when needed.
Examples of Einstein in Action
To get a better idea of what Einstein can do for your store, it helps to look at what some other stores have been able to achieve with these tools:
The New Zealand-based sportswear brand Icebreaker, which supplies its products to over 5,000 stores across 50 countries in addition to running a thriving ecommerce site, already had a product recommendations solution in place before it became interested in SFCC. But the company felt that it could do better, so it set up an A/B test comparing that solution to the Einstein Product Recommendations tool.
The results were clear: Einstein led to customers clicking on an item in the product recommendations section 40% more often, and it generated 28% more revenue along with an 11% increase in average order value. After that, not only did the Icebreaker Global Head of Ecommerce decide to make the switch to SFCC — he started recommending the platform to his colleagues in the industry as well.
The specialty foods store Stonewall Kitchen provides another example of the power of Einstein’s Product Recommendations tool.
Personalization was especially important to this brand, which focuses on exceptional quality and fine details, such as using wild blueberries rather than cultivated blueberries even though they’re more expensive. And personalization is what Stonewall got with SFCC and Einstein — 78% of customers who were presented with a recommendation added the item to their cart, and 41% followed through with a purchase.
While the aforementioned Einstein tools come included for free with Salesforce B2C Commerce plans, you can also use SFCC add-ons to extend the functionality of your store and further improve customer experience. Some of the most useful add-ons include:
Braintree: If someone is about to check out but they see that their preferred payment option is not available, they just might not make the purchase at all. Indeed, the more ways there are to pay on your store, the more sales you’ll be able to make. Braintree is an all-in-one, PCI-compliant solution that allows you to accept payments from PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay and most credit/debit cards.
dotdigital: This marketing platform allows you to use the data you collect from your customers to improve the performance of your marketing campaigns. It will help you reach customers across email, text, social media and other touchpoints, and it also has a feature for automating common marketing tasks, such as sending welcome emails to new subscribers.
PowerReviews: One issue with online stores is that, unlike brick-and-mortar stores, customers don’t get a chance to see what an item is like in-person before they purchase it. This often leads to them leaving an item in their cart (if they added it at all) when they otherwise would have just bought it. But you can counteract this effect by showcasing positive reviews from previous customers — this will give new customers the confidence they need to purchase the item sight unseen. And PowerReviews allows customers to leave multiple reviews with a single form, improving collection rates by 300%.