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5 Powerful Salesforce Marketing Cloud Strategies For The Retail Industry

5 Powerful Salesforce Marketing Cloud Strategies For The Retail Industry

“Retail is dead!” In an increasingly noisy world, this statement is one that makes people stop and take notice. But retail is not really dead; it...

“Retail is dead!”

In an increasingly noisy world, this statement is one that makes people stop and take notice.

But retail is not really dead; it’s simply evolving. As customers’ demands change and they ask for better products, improved service and more convenient communication touchpoints, the industry finds itself at an inflexion point. Even with email marketing, retail customers demand more personalized messages, tailored content and special offers that meet their specific needs. That’s why retail businesses need to re-align themselves to adapt to new technologies and resources for the retail industry, especially for email marketing. 

And one of the best ways to do this is by leveraging world-class Salesforce retail solutions, especially those within the Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) ecosystem. SFMC tools can help position your retail business prominently through email marketing in this challenging customer-driven retail environment – if you know which strategies to use, when and how.

Here are 5 time-tested email marketing strategies to help you make the most of SFMC for your retail business.

1. Improve customer segmentation with Email Studio

Customer segmentation is important in every industry, but in the retail industry, it’s absolutely critical. After all, no brand would want to email pre-teen girls with information about a new line of maternity clothes, or balding men with special offers on hair straighteners!

With audience segmentation, you can understand the needs of your specific customer group (or groups), and align your email marketing strategies and messaging – example through email personalization – to fulfill those needs. And SFMC provides a number of segmentation resources for the retail industry.

It’s possible to segment your audience in SFMC in different ways. But first, you need to decide which type of segmentation is most appropriate to the needs of your retail brand: demographic, behavioral, geographical, or psychographic. The next step is to model your data to analyze the relationships between your email subscribers with factors like orders, visits and support cases. Data modeling provides a roadmap that enables retail email marketing managers and their SFMC specialists to take data-driven segmentation decisions.

In SFMC, a data model is presented by different data ‘extensions’ such as :

  • Contacts
  • Addresses
  • Products and product line items
  • Orders
  • Basket (eCommerce)
  • Store visits
  • Subscriptions

Once your data model is set up, you can either: use data filters or write SQL queries to segment your audience in Email Studio. Keep in mind that data filters can only be applied to data fields within Email Studio. Also, with filters, larger data sets are harder to work with, especially if you need to target a very specific segment. In this case, SQL queries are a better option for segmentation.

To know more about audience segmentation using data filters and SQL queries, read our article A Brief Guide to Audience Segmentation in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Three possible segmentation strategies for your retail brand’s next email marketing campaign:

1. Notify subscribers about a new product

Latest Kendall Kylie Email

2. Notify subscribers about a new store opening in their neighborhood

Use three data extensions in Email Studio: Contacts, Stores and Subscribers.

3. Re-engage inactive subscribers

Sending re-engagement emails can increase customer retention rates. Furthermore, studies have shown that increasing this rate by just 5% can increase profits by 25% – 95%.

Two data extensions will be required: Contacts and Orders.

2. Build personalized journeys with Journey Builder

In today’s digital world, a retail customer’s journey consists of multiple stages and touchpoints. Each touchpoint can increase the customer’s awareness of the retail brand and convert them into a loyal fan and brand advocate, so the mapping strategy should take all these touchpoints into account.

Customer journey mapping in SFMC Journey Builder is about creating journeys across different stages of the customer lifecycle. With this Salesforce retail solution, different departments can share customer data to understand customer paths, chart customer personas and touchpoints, identify breaking points and gaps, and ultimately decide what prescriptive action to take. Onboarding with a rewards program, signing up for a newsletter, re-engaging with an abandoned cart and more – Journey Builder can help improve engagement at every step of the customer journey.

With Journey Builder and built-in SFMC templates, two powerful Salesforce retail solutions, you can create different types of journeys for different types of marketing campaigns, including:

  • New subscriber welcome
  • Abandoned Cart
  • Anniversary Campaign 
  • Birthday Campaign

Example of a Welcome campaign email:

Example of a simple, yet effective Abandoned Cart email campaign:

3. Use Retail Personalization to connect with customers

57% of consumers say they’re willing to share personal data in exchange for personalized offers or discounts.

Retail customers want to feel unique so they will only engage with a brand’s email marketing campaigns if the message is personalized, i.e. talks to them, and tailored, i.e. includes content that’s relevant to them.

A lack of personalization in email campaigns can adversely affect open and click-through rates – metrics that can have a direct impact on your campaign’s success, and consequently on your sales and profits.

On the other hand, retail personalization can:

  • Ensure that the right offers go to the right customers through the most effective channels
  • Improve the customer experience
  • Lead to more repeat customers and higher customer retention

SFMC uses AI and smart analytics to allow email marketing teams to reach their customers in more personalized ways in order to provide enhanced experiences and a unified one-to-one journey every time.

With the Salesforce Personalize Shopper Marketing solution, a perfect resource for the retail industry, you can connect and build journeys across email so shoppers have a personalized and consistent experience with targeted offers and purchase confirmations.

You can also increase your reach by finding new target audiences with AI-powered insights, and analyze multiple data sources across different shopper behaviors to better understand product references, purchase history, etc. to create and deliver more engaging messages. You can also tailor search and product recommendations based on purchase history to share unique offers that shoppers want. 

Then you can scale these 1×1 journeys through each following interaction so you improve each relationship over time to convert shoppers into loyal followers.

4. Integrate digital commerce with email marketing journeys

Online shoppers that abandon carts prior to checkout represent a high-value conversion opportunity for retailers – with shopping cart abandonment emails. But very few retailers actually send such emails.

The Salesforce Commerce Cloud and SFMC connector, an amazing resource for the retail industry, enables retail email marketing managers to enable connected customer journeys with dynamic triggers from commerce to marketing. So if a consumer using a Commerce Cloud site adds items to their shopping cart but abandons their cart, they could be automatically sent a follow-up email by SFMC that reminds them or even incentivizes them to complete their purchase.

You can also boost consumer engagement with distributed marketing from Salesforce. Pre-build personalized customer journeys with SFMC, and then deploy them to local stores and resellers. From there, the latter can easily manage and personalize these journeys to do everything from onboarding consumers and managing loyalty programs to launching holiday promotions.

To know more about Distributed Marketing in SFMC, read our article A Brief Guide To Salesforce Distributed Marketing

5. Deliver intelligent customer service with LiveMessage

With Salesforce LiveMessage, retailers can engage with shoppers via two-way conversations on their preferred messaging apps, such as SMS or Facebook Messenger.

LiveMessage is built on the Salesforce Platform so it seamlessly leverages integration between Salesforce Commerce Cloud and the email marketing tools in Salesforce Marketing Cloud to give retailers a holistic view of a shopper’s history and drive genuine conversations while personalizing every interaction. 

Additionally, with Einstein bots, retailers can automate communications to resolve issues like tracking order status, resetting a lost password or initiating a return. All in all, with LiveMessage, a user-friendly Salesforce retail solution, retailers have everything they need to deliver amazing customer experiences and thus turn today’s shopper into a customer for life.

Wrap up

Today, retail marketing goes far beyond brick-and-mortar shop window displays. Before committing to a purchase, modern shoppers check prices, read product reviews and browse multiple websites. In other words, they start their customer journey online. And a lot of this pre-shopping prep happens via email marketing. Smart retailers understand this, and use email marketing effectively to generate interest and provide shoppers with all the information they need before they start shopping.

So if you are a retail marketer, your strategy needs to include innovative SFMC email marketing strategies, not just the done-and-dusted standard marketing fare that retail businesses have been relying on for ages. The 5 strategies in this article should give you a great start.

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Kevin George

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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