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Implement Intelligent Coupon Campaigns With Commerce and Marketing Clouds

Implement Intelligent Coupon Campaigns With Commerce and Marketing Clouds

Here's how to implement intelligent coupon campaigns based on customer journeys crafted by the best-of-breed capabilities of Salesforce Marketing and Commerce clouds.

This is an installment in a series of use cases that span the shopper journey across commerce, marketing, and service. It covers industry best practices, as well as how-tos around setting up these journeys with Salesforce.

I’ll be honest, I love coupons. As a child growing up, I remember cutting coupons at the kitchen table every Sunday afternoon. I also remember how fun it was to shop with my mother and check out at the supermarket. My mother would charge me with keeping track of the pile of coupons we would redeem. I relished the opportunity to hand the cashier these coupons, keeping them neatly organized, aligned, and facing the same direction.

After checkout, we’d look at the bottom of our receipt, and with a smile, cheer about how much savings our coupon clipping produced. To this day, my memory of the supermarket as a child makes me smile. The supermarket shopping experience was fun for us because of coupons — and this experience, in turn, influenced our loyalty to the supermarket.

Even today, coupons play a similar role in establishing customer loyalty and brand trust as we transition to digital experiences. Instead of getting these coupons through the Sunday paper, we now get them via email and text alerts. The advantage that brands have over the supermarkets we visited as children is that brands today can tailor coupon incentives based on customer behavior.

Through marketing campaigns, brands can now:

  • Target customers with specific coupon incentives driven by segmentation characteristics
  • Monitor coupon usage and redemption — and re-target customers that have not engaged
  • Incrementally progress coupon incentives based on customer purchasing behavior
  • Refine and present coupon incentives to customers who are most likely to maximize conversion

To accomplish these goals, brands need to be aware of customer shopping behavior, coupons presented to customers, coupons redeemed, and the frequency of their usage. While this may seem complex, these journeys can be crafted by the best-of-breed capabilities of Salesforce Marketing and Commerce clouds.

How to get started

Salesforce has published six solution kits that focus on integrating Commerce, Marketing, and Service clouds. These kits represent authoritative guidance from our product, success, services, sales, and partner teams on how to implement cross-cloud use cases. This is a great place for customers and partners to start their cross-cloud education journey. 

The Coupon Redemption Solution Kit contains implementation guidance describing how to:

While the Coupon Redemption Solution Kit is not a technical implementation guide, it will ground any conversations had between customers and partners on the Salesforce-recommended approach to implementing coupon usage and redemption tracking in Marketing Cloud. 

*Commerce Cloud customers and partners can access the Marketing Cloud Connector for B2C Commerce via the Salesforce Commerce Cloud GitHub community. If you are not a Commerce Cloud Customer and wish to access the connector — please contact your success manager.

About the Marketing Cloud Connector for B2C commerce

The Marketing Cloud Connector for B2C Commerce* is a development framework designed to facilitate the integration between Commerce and Marketing clouds. It addresses a core set of cross-cloud use cases, including:

  • Delivering transactional Marketing Cloud emails triggered by Commerce Cloud shopper behavior
  • Tracking Commerce Cloud customer shopping and navigation behavior via Marketing Cloud collect.js
  • Generating Marketing Cloud products recommendations informed by Commerce Cloud catalog data
  • Implementing Marketing Cloud abandoned cart journeys driven by Commerce Cloud shopper behavior
  • Making Commerce Cloud customer, order, and catalog data available in Marketing Cloud 

The coupon redemption use case is an example of how the Marketing Cloud Connector for B2C Commerce can be extended to support custom use cases that customers often have. While not directly supported, the connector can be customized to support coupon pools and redemption tracking. With these two additional data sets available in Marketing Cloud, customers can leverage them and the connector’s existing capabilities to create dynamic and engaging customer journeys that incentivize customers to convert via the Commerce Cloud storefront.

Ingesting Commerce Cloud coupons into Marketing Cloud

To create a pool of available coupons that can be leveraged within Marketing Cloud journeys, you’ll need to perform two tasks:

  • data extension should be created in Marketing Cloud to store Commerce Cloud coupons
  • Commerce Cloud coupons should be exported and then imported into the Marketing Cloud coupon data extension

The Coupon Redemption Solution Kit provides technical guidance on how to achieve this goal. Initially, a manual export of Commerce Cloud coupons can be performed. The export file can then be imported into Marketing Cloud manually. Depending on the frequency of coupon usage, it may be advantageous to automate this process. The kit provides guidance on how to do this by leveraging the Marketing Cloud Connector’s data-feed framework coupled with Commerce Cloud’s programmatic coupon and coupon code export capabilities.

Track Commerce Cloud coupon redemptions in Marketing Cloud

Just as coupons need to be made available to Marketing Cloud, it also needs a history of coupon redemptions that can be referenced in journeys. Making this history available in Marketing Cloud requires these activities:

  • data extension should be created in Marketing Cloud to store Commerce Cloud coupon redemptions
  • The relevant history of Commerce Cloud coupon redemptions should be exported and imported into the Marketing Cloud coupon redemption data extension
  • A process should be established to incrementally feed coupon redemptions to Marketing Cloud

Commerce Cloud coupon redemptions can be captured via the storefront as a post-checkout activity, as orders can be inspected for redeemed coupons once they have been successfully placed. When a redeemed coupon is found, the redemption details can then be sent to Marketing Cloud via Marketing Cloud’s Data Events Asynchronous REST API.

A complementary approach to this is to leverage Commerce Cloud’s Open Commerce DATA API to search for coupon redemptions. This resource enables Commerce Cloud’s redemption history to be searched based on the coupon, coupon code, recipient email address, and order number through which the coupon was redeemed. This REST call could be invoked as part of a journey to check the redemption status of a coupon code — and then drive a change in the journey based on the REST response. 

Limit the contents of the Marketing Cloud coupon data extensions to relevant data

With these data extensions created, please keep in mind that — in Marketing Cloud — data retention helps keep your data extensions manageable and performant. Coupons and redemption codes should be pruned so that only the most relevant and actionable data is available via these data extensions. Legacy coupons that have expired or will not be used as well as coupon redemptions that have already been verified can be removed on a schedule by a Marketing Cloud automation.

Create Marketing Cloud journeys that leverage Commerce Cloud coupons and redemptions

With data extensions in place within Marketing Cloud to store Commerce Cloud coupons and redemptions, journeys can now be authored that leverage this data. An example of this is a standard welcome journey. As part of storefront registration, a welcome email is often sent to customers. A coupon that offers some incentive (e.g., a percent discount or free shipping offer) can be included within this email. Since Marketing Cloud now has visibility into Commerce Cloud’s coupon redemption data, this journey can be customized to:

  • Check after [n] days to see if a coupon has been redeemed
  • If not, the customer can be placed in a coupon-reminder journey
  • The reminder journey can be configured to send [n] reminders to the customer
  • Within each reminder wait period, redemption can be checked
  • If a coupon has been redeemed at any point, the journey completes

Coupling this with Marketing Cloud’s segmentation, behavior tracking, and personalization capabilities can produce dynamic and engaging experiences for storefront customers. With this new coupon capability, segments can be leveraged to inform the best coupon to share with customers. Product recommendations can be included in coupon emails that align with the coupon incentives. Segment and journey information can be shared with Commerce Cloud — enabling Commerce Cloud to seamlessly continue personalizing the customer’s shopping experience.

Download and read the Coupon Redemption Solution Kit

If you are a Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud customer interested in building dynamic customer journeys that leverage incentives, download the Salesforce Cross-Cloud Coupon Redemption Solution Kit. This document contains authoritative guidance from Salesforce product, sales, success, and partner alliance teams — and includes best practices on how to build cross-cloud journeys that leverage coupons.


Abraham David Lloyd Senior Solution Architect

Abraham is a Senior Solution Architect for the Salesforce Commerce Cloud at Salesforce. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

More by Abraham David

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