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Zendesk is rolling out new conversational tools for consumer brands and retailers, while deepening partnerships with key commerce platforms including Meta and Shopify.
The customer experience software company is rolling out a suite of tools called Conversational Commerce. They include the following:
Sales personalization: These tools allow agents to interact with abandoned carts, support active carts and inform customers when items are available in close proximity so they can complete purchases. Additional tools allow sharing of feature promotions.
Sales acceleration: This set of features is aimed at increasing overall order value. Agents can access a given shopper’s purchase history, merchandise preferences and browsing journey, and in turn provide recommendations for cross-sell and upsell.
Data at scale: Through more than 1,400 pre-built apps, businesses can use AI to automate conversions and recommendations. Additional integrations unify SKU, inventory and location data for product tracking, and connect disparate systems in order to provide a complete view of the customer.
Additionally, Zendesk is expanding integrations with a pair of key tech platforms for brands and retailers:
WhatsApp: An integration will enable businesses to create a buying experience within a message.
Shopify: Agents can incorporate product catalogs, checkout processes and promotions into their CX management approaches through Shopify’s platform.
Foot Locker is among the early retailers that are tapping these features, according to Zendesk.
Conversational experiences were among three areas that Zendesk CTO Adrian McDermott identified as key advances in customer experience in a conversation with The Current earlier this year.
According to the Zendesk 2023 CX Trends Report, 70% of customers expect conversational experiences when interacting with brands. Additionally, the survey found that 70% of consumers purchase more from brands that incorporate these capabilities.
“Whether it's Facebook Messenger, it's embedded messaging in your application, it's WhatsApp or it’s Google Business messaging, the messaging window has become the new browser window,” McDermott told The Current at the NRF Big Show in January.
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Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”