4 Retail Execs Share Data Strategy Tactics: Salesforce Connections Recap

In photo: Bret Taylor, President and Chief Product Officer, Salesforce


During the recent Salesforce Connections event in Chicago, industry experts shared top takeaways and strategies around unlocking customer data to optimize the entire e-Commerce site experience. In this recap, uncover quick quotes and tips from retailers including Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, Milk Makeup, Ticketmaster and Melissa & Doug, as well as several Salesforce executives:

“80% of consumers are saying they’ll switch brands not based on products or necessarily even services, but based on experience. How will you use data to create experience for someone who’s traversing across all those different channels?” — Shelley Bransten, SVP of Retail and Consumer Goods Industry Solutions, Salesforce


In an interview with Retail TouchPoints, Bransten revealed statistics from a recent study conducted by Salesforce and Deloitte, highlighting the fact that retailers desperately need to integrate their disparate systems if they want to unlock and optimize shopper data. In total, the average brand has 39 front-end, customer-facing systems, according to Bransten. Today’s CMOs must have a better grasp of customer data and think about it as an asset for the retail operation going forward, but Bransten noted that this requirement puts pressure on many companies to restructure their marketing departments.

“We recognize that it’s never ‘set it and forget it.’ We are continuously looking to optimize, update and use the data that we can collect to meaningfully impact our consumers.” – Candice Martinez, Director of Performance Marketing, Melissa & Doug

As a direct-to-consumer brand and B2B wholesaler, toy manufacturer Melissa & Doug operates with a ‘content-first’ strategy. The company has leveraged Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud to better engage directly with consumers and personalize the online content experience, which can include parenting tips and tricks, updated events, play ideas and promotion-driven emails. Martinez indicated in an interview with Retail TouchPoints that the Melissa & Doug brand thrives off the authenticity this content delivers.

“Less than 15% of companies said they’re ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. How do we close this gap, and how do we enable every single one of our customers in the face of these new technologies?” — Bret Taylor, President and Chief Product Officer, Salesforce

In a keynote address, Taylor stated that business and consumers are in the midst of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” — the era of disruptive intelligent technologies. But with this influx of connected technologies, including AI, IoT, voice-activation and cybersecurity, retailers still worry that they can’t always keep pace with increasing consumer expectations.

“We’re refreshing our home page constantly so that the shopper has something new to check out when they come back. Being able to schedule content versus doing that in real time has been super helpful.” — Morgan Fleming, Senior Director of E-Commerce, Milk Makeup

Milk Makeup, a New York City-based e-Commerce retailer, has driven revenue growth at an annual rate of more than 100% since February 2016, when it first deployed Salesforce Commerce Cloud. The retailer delivers shoppable videos, product imagery and personalized promotional offers optimized for mobile devices, which drive 60% of online traffic. Fleming noted that establishing the brand mission with more site content was a massive part of the re-platforming process, in that the move enabled more shoppers to gain awareness of the products.

“We see over the next couple years a 3X increase in the demand for data scientists. There is a rush for this pot of gold around resources, but we also discovered that it’s not the panacea. It’s not all about just hiring people and throwing intelligence at it. You need to understand what problem you’re trying to solve.” — Rob Garf, VP of Industry Strategy and Insights, Salesforce

Garf noted that AI deployment is not a “build it, and hope somebody comes” type of situation, one where retailers just focus on building algorithms to power functions across the enterprise. AI algorithms need to be purpose-built and infused within an application. He also noted that retailers must continue improving the mobile experience ahead of the holiday season. On Christmas Day 2017, Salesforce customers generated 50% of their online orders through a mobile device.

“If you’re providing a service to members with their data, I think they’ll be more amicable to let you use it. Facebook’s in trouble because they’re pushing ads with this data, whereas Google is making my life easier.” — Matt Stewart, Director of Wine Club Marketing, Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants

Cooper’s Hawk is differentiating with services including a tasting room in the restaurant and a Wine Club tied to its loyalty program online. Serving 300,000 active members, the Cooper’s Hawk loyalty program offers a monthly wine specifically crafted for individual members and access to an online portal to view total points, wine selections, and event tickets for upcoming Wine Club dinners. This online solution offers convenience for consumers, while also providing the company more detailed data on its most loyal consumers. “The key is using data to remove barriers and help improve the experience,” said Stewart.

“7% of visits to e-Commerce sites across 500 brands include a personalized recommendation powered by AI. Those visits are driving 26% of revenue and 24% of orders.” — Heike Young, Manager of Industry Strategy and Insights at Salesforce

Young held a discussion with Kevin Hogan, Managing Director of Deloitte, and Jamie Merrick, Director of Industry Strategy and Insights, EMEA at Salesforce to share results from the Consumer Experience report. Despite the big spike in revenue and orders from these AI-powered visits, most retailers are still struggling to reap these benefits because they jump to AI without having a foundation of data in place, according to Hogan. The panel echoed the theme of Connections with the phrase “Data is the bedrock,” revealing that “elite performers” in retail focus on data at 2X higher rates on average.

“When you think about Ticketmaster as a platform, it’s a half-a-billion tickets that go through that platform — 15 tickets moved per second across 29 countries. The only way to deliver that kind of experience at scale is through data and technology.” — Kathryn Frederick, EVP of Growth and Insights, Ticketmaster

Frederick noted that Ticketmaster is simplifying access to its live events by adopting a “fan-centric” view of the buying experience — getting the right event to the right fan at the right moment with the right message. Ticketmaster leverages the Google Analytics 360 integration to automate emails, access online shopper behavior metrics such as site views and click-throughs, and evaluate content performance.

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