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Salesforce and WhatsApp are teaming up to provide new avenues for brands to communicate with consumers through messaging, and develop new customer experiences centered around a conversation.
The partnership, announced at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference this week, is an integration between the WhatsApp Business Platform and Salesforce Customer 360. It is expected to be generally available in 2022.
Called Whatsapp-first business messaging, it allows Salesforce customers to use WhatsApp business messaging across marketing, commerce and customer service interactions.
“We're partnering with Salesforce so all businesses that use their platform can use WhatsApp business messages to answer customer questions, run marketing campaigns, and sell directly in chat,” Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of WhatsApp parent company Meta, wrote in a Facebook post. “More and more people prefer to communicate with businesses over text. That's why we launched our Cloud API earlier this year and are now partnering with Salesforce.”
The partnership centers one-to-one conversations as primary communication points between businesses and customers. This holds out the possibility of more direct and personalized interactions than would come from formats like email or social feeds.
The potential benefit for consumer brands comes into view in a quote from L’Oréal Chief Digital & Marketing Officer Asmita Dubey.
“As more customers use their mobile devices as their primary way to engage our brand, we need a single messaging solution that pulls in information across sales, service, marketing, commerce, and IT, to help us deliver personalized customer service, deliver product recommendations, and increase sales,” Dubey said. “Being able to do all of the above on WhatsApp as a single messaging platform could have a tremendous opportunity in beauty, to drive conversational commerce and build greater engagement.”
Through the integration, messaging can become the foundation for a wider customer experience that can be crafted using WhatsApp and Salesforce tools.
“For example, customers may receive a WhatsApp message with a reminder about an upcoming order arriving next week,” Salesforce writes. “As an extra incentive, the message could include a promotion with a 20% discount for a new or related product offering. The user could then confirm via a button whether to automatically add this new product to their next order.”
The platform will also draw on AI insights to personalize the messages with intelligent promotions and recommendations, Salesforce said.
Additionally, Salesforce will offer customizable message templates. These can include brand and product media, while others could showcase products and services with interactive messages that in turn allow consumers to purchase products in WhatsApp or leave a review. The messages will also have customizable buttons that enable users to respond with a single click, or open a web link.
When it comes to initiating a message, there is further opportunity to integrate with Salesforce Genie, a newly-launched data platform that is designed to power a real-time CRM.
“This enables companies to target those audiences with real-time data that informs Click-to-WhatsApp ads on Facebook and Instagram to drive customers to a one-to-one messaging experience,” Salesforce writes.
Ecommerce has long been an important part of Meta properties Facebook and Instagram, as brands sought to reach customers using the platform’s advertising and outreach tools. Developing more commerce tools for WhatsApp appears to be a growing focus for the platform. Last month, a new integration for consumers in India called JioMart enabled grocery shopping in WhatsApp. This underscores how WhatsApp is not only an emerging surface for commerce, but it is also one that is widely used globally. WhatsApp is also a widely used business tool, with more than 100 million messages per day on the app. Pairing it with Salesforce’s enterprise focus and data integrations, it is looking to help major brands start a conversation with consumers.
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On the Move has the latest from Amazon, Lovesac and more.
This week, leadership is changing at GameStop, Sorel and Beautycounter. Meanwhile, key executives are departing at Amazon, Wayfair and Lovesac.
Here’s a look at the latest shuffles:
GameStop CEO fired
GameStop announced the termination of Matthew Furlong as CEO on Wednesday. A brief statement did not provide a reason for the firing.
With the move, Chewy founder and activist investor Ryan Cohen was named executive chairman of the video game retailer. Cohen will be responsible for capital allocation and overseeing management.
It came as the company reported a 10% year-over-year decline in net sales for the first quarter. Meanwhile, the company’s net loss improved by 62%.
In an SEC filing, GameStop further added this “We believe the combination of these efforts to stabilize and optimize our core business and achieve sustained profitability while also focusing on capital allocation under Mr. Cohen’s leadership will further unlock long-term value creation for our stockholders.”
Cohen was revealed as GameStop's largest shareholder when he disclosed a 10% stake in the retailer in 2020. GameStop went on to become a leading name in the meme stock rise of 2021.
Sorel president steps down
Mark Nenow is stepping down as president of the Sorel brand in order to focus on his health.
After rising to the role in 2015, Nenow spearheaded a transformation of Columbia Sportswear-owned Sorel from a men’s workwear brand to a fashion-focused brand that led with a women’s offering of boots, sandals and sneakers.
“Mark led the brand to sales of $347 million in net sales in 2022,” said Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle, in a statement. “His leadership has been invaluable to this company, and we wish him the very best.”
Columbia will conduct a search for Nenow’s replacement. Craig Zanon, the company’s SVP of emerging brands, will lead Sorel in the interim.
Beautycounter appoints interim CEO
Beautycounter appointed board member Mindy Mackenzie as interim CEO, succeeding Marc Rey. According to the brand, Rey and the board “mutually decided to transition to a new phase of leadership for Beautycounter.”
McKenzie, a former executive at Carlyle, McKinsey and Jim Beam, will lead the company as it conducts a search for a permanent CEO. Additionally, former Natura & Co CEO Roberto Marques will join Beautycounter’s board as chair.
As part of the transition, Nicole Malozi is also joining the company as chief financial officer. She brings experience from Tatcha, Nike, and DFS Group Limited.
Amazon’s North America fulfillment chief departs
Melissa Nick, a VP of customer fulfillment for North America at Amazon, will leave the company, effective June 16, CNBC reported. Nick joined the company in 2014, and oversaw a region that included nearly 300 fulfillment centers. After doubling its supply chain footprint during the pandemic, Amazon recently reorganized its fulfillment operations to take a regional approach, as opposed to a national model that often resulted in items shipping across the country.
Wayfair’s chief commercial officer to retire
Jon Blotner (Courtesy photo)
Steve Oblak will retire from the role of chief commercial officer at home goods marketplace Wayfair. With the move, Jon Blotner will be promoted to chief commercial officer.
"Steve has served as a critical part of our leadership team and played a pivotal role in Wayfair's growth, helping us grow from a $250 million business when he joined to $12 billion in net revenue today,” said Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah, in a statement. “He oversaw countless milestones, from helping to launch the Wayfair brand as we brought together hundreds of sites into a single platform, to launching new categories, business lines, and geographies while overseeing our North American and European businesses, to leading our debut into physical retail.”
Blotner previously oversaw exclusive and specialty retail brands, as well as digital media at Wayfair. Before joining the company, he served as president of Gemvara.com prior to its 2016 acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway.
Lovesac announces CFO transition
Furniture retailer Lovesac said Donna Dellomo will retire as EVP and CFO, and move to an advisory role, effective June 30. Dellomo was with Lovesac for six years.
Keith Siegner was appointed as the next EVP and CFO. He brings experience as CFO of esports company Vindex, as well as executive roles at Yum! Brands, UBS Securities and Credit Suisse.
Additionally, Jack Krause will retire from the role of chief strategy officer, effective June 30. His responsibilities will be divided between CEO Shawn Nelson and president Mary Fox.
“Since joining Lovesac, Jack has played an instrumental role in transforming the Company into a true omni channel retailer by helping expand our physical touchpoints and digital platform as we continue to disrupt the industry,” said Nelson, in a statement.
NRF adds board members
The National Retail Federation announced the addition of five new board members. They include:
- Marguerite Adzick, founder and CEO, Addison Bay
- Harley Finkelstein, president, Shopify
- Ian Kahn, partner, PwC
- Sharon Leite, CEO, Ideal Image
- Carrie Tharp, VP, strategic industries, Google Cloud