Connecting the Dots: How Salesforce Data Cloud Streamlines & Activates Retail Data

AllCloud Blog:
Cloud Insights and Innovation

Today’s retailers are collecting more data from more sources than ever before. But they’re unable to unlock the insights within it.


Because it’s completely disjointed.

Engagement data may come from email or social media applications. Purchase trends come from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Point Of Sale (POS) systems. Sentiment can come from online reviews, loyalty programs, and customer service solutions. Ad performance comes from analytics platforms. The list goes on.

While a data warehouse can centralize and house this information, that’s only one piece of the puzzle. To target their ideal customers at the right time, retail teams need to weave this data together in an intelligent, actionable way. The problem is that most don’t have the Structured Query Language (SQL) or Python chops to do this on their own, and engineers already have enough other work on their plates.

So what can modern retailers do?

Implement a customer data platform (CDP) like Salesforce’s Customer Data Cloud. Read on to learn what customer data platforms are, how they give rise to higher-order analytics and marketing tactics, and best practices for CDP implementation and change management.

What Are Customer Data Platforms?

Customer data platforms, or CDPs, collect, transform, and unify first-party data (website clicks, demographics, social media engagement, live chat) to form comprehensive profiles of every customer.

Connecting these dots allows marketers to segment their customer base by behavior or attribute and focus on the loyalty and activation strategies that boost customer satisfaction, average order value, and, ultimately, average customer LTV.

2 Key Data Cloud Use Cases

CDPs are useful in many regards, but perhaps the most important use cases for retailers are personalization and identity resolution. Let’s dig into those a bit more.


Modern customers want to be marketed to directly. According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions — and 76% are frustrated when that doesn’t happen.

To stay competitive, personalization must be front and center in your marketing strategy. But you can’t execute it well if you don’t deeply understand your customers.

For example, customers with an open service issue are less likely to make a purchase until their issue is resolved. Customers who just made their first purchase may need to enjoy their product for a while before considering another one. Pushing tailored ads to these folks is a significant cost that’s unlikely to pay off.

The Salesforce Data Cloud can evaluate customer purchase history and behavior to improve timing and messaging for every customer — but especially the highest-value ones. Data Cloud helps retailers run Recency Frequency Monetary (RFM) analyses to design campaigns that decrease churn and drive Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) by delivering highly tailored messages wherever customers encounter their brand — in-store, online, talking to customer service, at a live event, or on Instagram.

This level of personalization at this level of consistency shows customers that their favorite companies listen to them and are prepared to fulfill their needs and wants.

Identity resolution

A major issue for retail marketers is that customer data is in multiple disconnected systems with different unique identifiers, making it challenging to build a holistic picture of each customer with the most accurate data. Without identity resolution — you’re essentially relying on gut instinct.

The Salesforce Data Cloud empowers you to connect, match, and update 360-degree views of your customers based on the most up-to-date data from sources across your organization, ensuring every team member in every business unit is on the same page.

Not only does this allow organizations to create consistent customer experiences, it also enables them to create segment-specific experiences. With Salesforce Data Cloud’s Calculated Insights feature, users can measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at profile, segment, and population levels to determine what’s working and what’s not.

For instance, you might look at segment-wide organic and paid advertising performance to see what tactics yield the best results. You might also use Calculated Insights to establish:

  • Likely points of conversion
  • Types of loyalty programs certain segments might respond to
  • The best time is to introduce rewards in the customer journey
  • How to position upsells or cross-sells based on past purchases
  • Recommendations for new customers based on what current customers like

Salesforce Data Cloud Promotes Continued Innovation

Calculated Insights is just the tip of the Salesforce Data Cloud iceberg. A full implementation sets the stage for:

  • Combining and consolidating multiple data sources with one unique identifier. MuleSoft ingests data from any external app, uses advanced resolution and fuzzy matching techniques to maintain data integrity, discloses Data Cloud information to external systems, and proactively notifies external systems when events occur inside the Data Cloud platform — critical activities for privacy and compliance.
  • Enhanced segmentation, in which non-technical retail marketers can query customer data and build complex audience segments for customized customer journeys. Salesforce’s segment builder automatically surfaces relevant attributes and values for users to consider, speeding up their workflow.
  • Better reporting across Sales, Commerce, Service, and Marketing Clouds with Tableau. Users can build custom visualizations to track popular products, successful campaigns, and changes in customer loyalty and lifetime value and tie marketing ROI to profitability.
  • Enrich your data with your own AI to increase purchase frequency with personalized recommendations and promotions on the channels your most valuable customers prefer.

Optimizing Data Cloud Change Management

Although consumers are growing more accustomed to customized buying experiences, they aren’t willing to compromise their personal data. Roughly 75% of consumers are uncomfortable buying from a brand with poor personal data ethics.

To preserve your reputation and protect your company from hefty California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fines, it’s critical to define a data collection and management strategy. But honoring changes to customer preferences and ensuring proper storage and confidentiality as your company scales takes careful planning and expertise.

So why not leave it to the experts?

AllCloud is an accredited Salesforce Data Cloud partner. We have helped dozens of enterprise and mid-market customers safely transform their marketing strategy. With teams of past retail marketers with years of Salesforce experience and a deep understanding of today’s privacy and compliance landscape, your Data Cloud implementation and ongoing maintenance are in good hands.

Contact us today to get a complimentary Data Cloud assessment

Contact us to see how we can take your marketing to the next level.

Chris Zullo

Marketing Cloud Practice Director

Read more posts by Chris Zullo