Retail and eCommerce highlights this week includes SAS’s investment in Research and Development in Scotland. Details of enVista’s 2020 Personalisation Report, Salesforce’s purchase of Vlocity and Marketo announces updates to its platform.

SAS R&D investment in Scotland

SAS has confirmed further expansion of its Research & Development (R&D) Centre based in Glasgow. The company doubled the size of its Scotland R&D centre since its inception in 2014 to around 100 employees. SAS will now expand it by a further 20 per cent in 2020. It is investing in a team of highly skilled data scientists to focus on technology development.

The R&D Centre in Scotland is one of only four major global R&D centres based outside SAS’ global headquarters in the US. It forms part of its ongoing investment in AI. Last year SAS announced a $1 billion investment in AI, comprising investment in three main areas. R&D innovation; education initiatives addressing customer needs to better understand and benefit from AI. Finally expert services to optimise customer return on AI projects.

SAS’s investment comes off a number of projects either led by or jointly supported by its Scotland R&D Centre. The projects covered AI, advanced analytics and visual analytics which address client issues relating to areas such as fraud, risk, compliance, customer intelligence and data management. The centre’s is also involved in the development of SAS’s ground-breaking Visual Investigator solution. Visual Investigator is being deployed by public sector departments around the globe to reduce fraud, error and improve compliance.

enVista’s 2020 Personalisation Report

According to enVista’s 2020 Personalisation Report, 51% of the consumers indicated a personalised and consistent experience across channels is important. Seventy-two percent said personalised service from a sales associate is an important factor determining which store(s) they choose to shop. However, only 34% of retailers indicate that customer identification/personalisation of the customer experience is a top priority for 2020. With consumers’ high expectations for personalised experiences, retailers have opportunities available to differentiate their brand with personalized services and promotions.

According to the 2020 Personalisation Special Report, there are significant gaps between customer expectations for personalisation and retailer execution:

Personalised promotions

  • Customer expectation: Seventy-four percent indicate that personalised promotions and discounts from an associate would make them likely to choose a store over one that doesn’t offer it.
  • Retailer capability: Thirty-five percent have successfully implemented the ability to offer personalised promotions.

Personalised rewards

  • Customer expectation. Seventy-two percent will choose a store offering personalised rewards based on customer loyalty over one that doesn’t offer this service.
  • Retailer capability. Thirty-two percent successfully offer personalised rewards based on customer loyalty

Salesforce to buy Vlocity

Salesforce continues to grow by acquisition. It has announced its intention to buy Vlocity. Built natively on the Salesforce platform, Vlocity is a provider of industry-specific cloud and mobile software. The company is particularly focussed in communications, media and entertainment, energy, utilities, insurance, health and government organisations.

According to the company’s blog, Vlocity’s feature set will continue to enhance and complement Salesforce’s industry capabilities and product knowledge. It also open up new industry capabilities built on the Salesforce platform. The company plans to provide customers with even more tools and expert guidance to digitally transform.
Vlocity’s deep expertise in vertical industries enables organisations to digitally transform while delivering industry-specific processes and data models across any channel. Vlocity says this helps clients to increase sales, service and marketing agility, operational efficiency, digital adoption and simplicity.

Marketo announces platform updates

Marketo has made updates to its account-based marketing (ABM) tool and Core Marketo Engage platform. The majority of the core feature updates are the result of enhancements made to Marketo’s API Calls capability. This is part of the company’s efforts to improve platform stability and integrations. Marketo also shared plans for the launch of the Marketo Success Center next quarter to support customer enablement efforts.

The Success Center is an in-product help center that enables customers to search Product Docs and the Community, launch how-to guides, access adoption content such as Marketo University and peer best practice videos, and more. This is all undertaken from customer’s – Marketo Engage instance. This feature will be launched as a beta in Australia, New Zealand and will roll out to North America later in this 2020 quarter.
Marketo’s February 2020 release notes highlighted key feature updates to its account-based marketing (ABM) tools and Core Marketo Engage platform. The updates will impact marketing and sales users.


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