Adapting to the future: The key challenges for retailers today

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From the rapid shift to digital platforms to changing consumer behaviours, the retail landscape has experienced significant transformations. Retail leaders face numerous challenges today, including fierce competition, evolving consumer preferences, and the need to optimise online presence and supply chain operations. With so many obstacles to navigate, how can you ensure the survival of your retail business?

In this blog, I’ll discuss four key retail challenges and explore how Salesforce empowers your business to overcome them.

1. Sophisticated cyber security threats compromise customer data

The retail industry relies on technology to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and drive growth. However, this reliance on tech has also made retailers vulnerable to sophisticated cyber security threats that can compromise customer data.

Recent data breaches in the FinTech industry are a stark reminder of the need for robust cyber security measures in retail, as these businesses also collect financial information.

To protect your customers and business, you must prioritise cyber security and take proactive steps to safeguard customer data. You can strengthen defences with robust security measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption, as well as regularly updating and patching software and systems. Training your teams on cyber security best practices, such as identifying and reporting potential threats, is also best practice.

In addition, you should invest in comprehensive cyber security policies and procedures and regular risk assessments and audits to identify and address potential risks. Collaborating with cyber security experts and staying updated with the latest industry trends and best practices will enable you to stay ahead of emerging threats.

2. Disparate data makes decision-making difficult

Access to accurate and timely information is crucial for effective decision-making. However, retailers often struggle with disparate data from multiple sources, complicating decision-making and hindering their ability to drive growth and stay competitive.

You might store data in various databases, spreadsheets, point-of-sale (POS) systems, e-commerce platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, etc. With so much data isolated in different systems and not easily accessible or integrated, it becomes difficult to get a comprehensive view of the business and understand what works well and what needs improvement.

To overcome the challenge of disparate data, you can leverage data integration tools and advanced analytics platforms to unify data from various sources and provide a holistic view of the business.

3. No single source of truth for customer data

Understanding customer preferences and buying trends is crucial for success in the highly competitive retail industry. However, retailers often struggle with multiple customer data sources, especially as people purchase on e-commerce sites and physical stores.

As a result, retailers face challenges in identifying and understanding customer behaviours, preferences, and purchase patterns. Inaccurate or incomplete customer data can lead to missed opportunities for cross-selling, upselling, and targeted marketing campaigns. It can also result in inconsistent customer experiences across different touchpoints, such as online and offline channels, leading to confusion and dissatisfaction.

Your business should invest in data integration solutions. Integrating customer information from different sources into a centralised database allows you to create a single source of truth. You will see improved data accuracy, consistency, and completeness, allowing you to better understand your customers.

4. A disconnect between marketing and sales teams

Marketing and sales are two vital functions in the retail industry, but a disconnect between these teams often hinders success. Inefficient communication, misaligned strategies, and missed opportunities can all result from this disconnect. However, there are steps you can take to overcome this challenge and foster collaboration between marketing and sales teams.

Establishing regular communication channels between marketing and sales teams is crucial. Regular meetings, feedback sessions, and shared data and CRM platforms can facilitate open and transparent communication. 

Integrating technology solutions, such as customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, can streamline marketing and sales processes. A unified view of customer data, streamlined lead management, and seamless collaboration can enable effective coordination between marketing and sales teams.

By prioritising alignment and collaboration between marketing and sales teams, leaders can overcome disconnects and foster a unified approach to drive business success.

How Salesforce enables you to overcome these retail challenges

Salesforce’s platforms include a comprehensive suite of tools and solutions that enable businesses to tackle these retail challenges head-on.

Salesforce takes data security seriously, and its platforms provide robust security measures to protect customer data. With advanced encryption, authentication, and monitoring features, Salesforce ensures that sensitive data is safeguarded from cyber threats, providing peace of mind to retailers and their customers.

Platforms like Customer 360, Commerce Cloud, Experience Cloud and Service Cloud enable you to gather, consolidate, and analyse data, providing a comprehensive view of the business and facilitating data-driven decision-making. Your sales and marketing teams can connect and coordinate their efforts through these platforms with shared dashboards, collaborative workspaces, and real-time communication tools.

Salesforce provides a single source of truth for customer data, eliminating inconsistencies and inaccuracies. With this unified view, your team can better understand customers to deliver personalised experiences and targeted marketing campaigns.


The future of retail is constantly evolving, presenting unique challenges for businesses in this industry. However, your company can adapt and succeed in this dynamic landscape with the right tools and solutions.

Salesforce offers a comprehensive platform that addresses key retail challenges such as cyber security threats, disparate data, and marketing-sales disconnect. By leveraging Salesforce’s capabilities, you can unlock new growth opportunities and deliver exceptional customer experiences in the future.

MakeSense can help your business address these retail challenges

As a Salesforce Partner, we know that building a strategy to overcome these retail challenges is no easy feat. Our services enable you to make informed business decisions and surface organisational insights for continued efficiency and improvements.

Our experts can assess your current strategy, make recommendations, and implement a solution with Salesforce’s platforms. Please visit our Salesforce page to learn more about our expertise and how we can support your business.

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