The year 2021 saw enormous global upheaval and transition. From ‘personalized experiences’ to ‘hyper-personalized experiences’ – that’s what the future of the retail industry looks like. 80% of customers say the experience a brand provides is just as important as its products or services. In this article, you’ll learn how to leverage SFCC, Application Programming Interface (APIs) and MuleSoft’s Anypoint platform to execute a real-time retail strategy.

Time to innovate your strategies & catapult sales with Salesforce + MuleSoft

Let’s start with the backstory. In May 2018, Salesforce, the global leader, finalised its acquisition of MuleSoft. MuleSoft is the world’s top integration and API platform, making it easy to combine data from any system and build fully connected experiences more quickly.

What is Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and why is it one of the leaders on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for e-commerce

Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC) is widely considered the best option for retailers since it enables them to build hyper-personalized shopping experiences for their customers. Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC) is a cloud-based commerce platform that provides strong marketing tools, amazing OOB features and commerce portals to aid in the growth of your B2C business in the digital world. Some key features include:

To delight consumers and deliver a hyper-personalised shopping experience, retailers must be able to access all customer data in a single view. This becomes achievable only if all the management systems are completely integrated with Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Innovation & Integration to Anypoint Connector for Salesforce Commerce Cloud!

The ultimate aim of every integration project is clean and linked data. As your brand’s infrastructure grows, new apps for tracking sales, customers, and partners are introduced. Data from these apps can be incorporated via APIs.

Source: mulesoft

Mulesoft’s platform and technologies enable you to connect to any system and get maximum productivity by leveraging a unified enterprise service bus setup, bidirectional data sync, and data converting processes that are deployed in the most optimum and organic way. Catalyst Accelerator for Retail is a set of API concepts and reference implementations designed to help businesses accelerate their digital transformation. What exactly are these items?

  1. The DataWeave language simplifies data integration. Push records across applications or data sources with built-in batch capabilities – all from a single location.
  2. Pre-configured API designs and implementations create an API strategy that provides value to your DevOps model.
  3. Transform your ESB architecture and deploy it anywhere – on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment.
  4. Easily integrate IoT devices with your back office to coordinate them right on the device.
  5. Control all microservices from a single platform.
  6. Anypoint Partner Manager contributes to the success of B2B integration and core ecommerce business operations.

As new projects develop, API reuse delivers compounding benefits.

Source: Salesforce

Building an effective personalized retail strategy

However, making use of this data and gaining a unified view of the consumer is not as simple as it sounds. During the process, the customer often visits various purchase channels – whether in-store, online, social or mobile. Similarly, retailers employ a variety of systems and apps, both in the cloud and on-premise. To deliver the degree of a personalized experience, retailers must collect information from various systems and apps to provide customers with real-time personalization and a better customer experience, especially when they switch between devices and purchase channels.

Salesforce MuleSoft Architecture Landscape

Source: mulesoft

Customer data integration may take many different shapes and forms, with point-to-point integration being one popular method. Integrations have a 1:1 connection with point-to-point. As more data, systems, applications, and devices are connected, the number of endpoints grows exponentially, increasing complexity and brittleness. This not only impedes IT agility but also prohibits retailers from creating a future-proof IT infrastructure. The latter is significant since it is a critical component in guaranteeing retail industry longevity, particularly when customers adopt new technologies and new methods of engaging with merchants.

Look beyond point-to-point integration!

Retailers wanting to provide personalised shopping experiences must go beyond point-to-point integration and explore connecting their consumer behaviour data via a new approach: API-led integration. This method enables plug-and-play integration and easily links and exposes assets by packaging them as controlled APIs. These assets are then used as modern APIs that can be easily accessed through self-service and managed by customised governance.

Retailers can use API-led connectivity to integrate customer data from many sources and unlock the potential of that data to boost customization on their platforms. MuleSoft enables customers to link data from any system to build connected experiences more quickly. Customers have experienced the following advantages as a result of implementing application networks:

Source: Salesforce

Using social media tools to enhance personalised retail strategies

As previously said, personalised retail requires retailers to collect, integrate, and analyse data from other platforms, including social media, to improve the customer experience. This demands an agile, future-proof, seamless approach to integration capable of linking on-premise and cloud applications to external systems – such as social media management tools – to guarantee a business designed for the future.

Stitching together relevant data

One effective method of achieving this integration is through API-led connection. MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform is a market-leading technology that allows retailers to begin their path toward API-led connectivity by connecting, orchestrating, and enabling any internal or external endpoint. As new projects develop, API reusing delivers compounding benefits. The platform also improves IT agility by allowing retailers to launch new projects, integrate apps, and access data throughout their organisation up to 3x to 6x faster – getting them one step closer to delivering a personalized retail experience.

Ultimately, retailers can leverage the seamless integration of customer behaviour data with social media data to further their personalised retail strategy. As online retail expands, retailers are getting more inventive, whether through AI-powered personal assistants, social media influencers, or customised loyalty programmes. In all of these initiatives, the key to achieving personalized retail is to embrace an API led approach that allows enterprises to connect, analyze and use data from different applications and systems to develop stronger connections with their consumers.

Abishek Balakumar