Carrefour changes the face of retail with Salesforce

Retail is evolving rapidly; customers expect personalised, blended, and valuable experiences instore and online. Find out how Carrefour is blazing a trail to transform the face of retail.
“Salesforce gives us the freedom to focus on our core mission: making our customers' lives better.”
Miguel Ángel González Gisbert
Global Chief Technology & Data Officer - Carrefour

Carrefour pioneers the rise of the digital retail company

Discover how Carrefour makes life better for customers with Salesforce.

Consumer demands are changing rapidly, and retailers are racing to keep up. But, just as bricks and mortar stores made way for ecommerce, change is already on the horizon.
Carrefour, the seventh-largest retailer in the world, is blazing a trail with its vision to become a DigitalRetail company by 2026 – a strategy that unleashes the full power of omnichannel to deliver personal, blended in-store and online experiences to millions of customers.
“In Carrefour, we do our best to put the customer at the heart of everything we do and make sure we’re using data and technology to create better experiences,” explained Miguel Ángel González Gisbert, Global chief technology & data officer at Carrefour.

“The previous technology simply couldn’t handle this new volume of customer traffic. Having implemented Salesforce, we now have a scalable, flexible and secure ecommerce platform which covers these traffic peaks."
Olivier Gibert
Head of global technology strategy - Carrefour

1. Changing customers' lives since 1959

Since 1959, Carrefour has been changing customers’ lives. The group launched the first hypermarket in Europe in 1963, housing a vast range of products “under one roof” for the first time. The multinational retailer, headquartered in France, has operations in more than 40 countries and 13,000 locations across the world.

To accentuate this DNA of customer centricity, the group has recently implemented its "5-5-5" philosophy. These are 15 concrete commitments to better serve customers, organized around three main pillars: trust, service and experience. Trust is earned every day offering the best products, prices and promotions. Service means, for example, transferring the offices of store directors to the sales floor to increase the proximity with the customer. Finally, for Carrefour, experience means saying "yes" to their customers, meeting their expectations, showing them that they are the most important person of the day.

In this quest for customer satisfaction, the contribution of digital is essential. Carrefour is getting systematic about this: The retailer announced in November 2021 its ambition to become a DigitalRetail company. The goal is to put technology and data at the service of all operations and, overall, Carrefour’s value creation model.

After significant ecommerce acceleration -since 2018 the company saw its GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) multiply by three-, the enterprise aims to keep on developing its digital presence. Technology and data are also part of the plan: Equipping teams on the ground with mobile apps so they can perform their tasks alongside the customer, implementing the right CRM to reach out customers faster and better or using artificial intelligence to ensure that customers have the right product on the shelf are only some of the examples. Finally, the plan includes democratizing digital for the ~370k employees of the group, including connecting every single associate with Workplace by Meta or training all employees -frontliners as well as HQ- in digital.

With the rise of digital, customers have new expectations. Instantaneousness and simplicity have become king. Whether they do their shopping online, in a hypermarket, in a supermarket or in their local convenience store, they want to receive good service and experience the most intuitive customer experience possible. That’s why Carrefour partnered with Salesforce, to enhance customer relationships with intuitive and omnichannel experiences. By unlocking 360-degree visibility of data across the business, Carrefour can offer the same level of experience and service on all channels, while implementing real time and personalized solutions.

“Salesforce is a great platform for innovation. The technology gets more advanced with every release, which helps us stay ahead in this fast-paced sector and better serve our customers” said González.

"Each franchisee is different. We must provide them with a tailored service capable of ‘localizing’ their online activity and products”
Alessandra Grendele
Chief e-commerce, marketing, data & digital transformation officer - Carrefour Italy

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2. Handling peaks in demand

Online sales have been increasing dramatically over recent years, and Carrefour wanted to build on that growth and expand its market share. When lockdowns forced millions of traditional shoppers online, it also needed an ecommerce platform that was robust and reliable enough to handle significant spikes in traffic without impacting the digital experience.

“Commerce Cloud is scalable, flexible, and secure,” revealed Olivier Gibert, Head of Global Technology Strategy at the company. “We considered developing a solution in-house, but Salesforce has all the functionality we need and makes it easier to align international operations.”

The team started the rollout in Italy – a region that had experienced a 10-fold increase in traffic during the first wave of the pandemic, and used the deployment to accelerate a second implementation in Taiwan, which had also experienced a surge in demand.

“In both deployments we saw a positive impact on sales and operating costs very quickly. Adoption was high because the solution is so user-friendly, and staff quickly saw how it could simplify and automate processes while improving collaboration between the business and IT,” explained Alessandra Grendele, CIO of Carrefour Italy.

3. Smarter on & off shopping experiences

“In Italy, we have more than 1,450 stores, of which about 1,000 are franchisees. Some of them are small and medium sized entrepreneurs, others are master franchisees such as the supermarkets of Etruria Retail (Central Italy) and Apulia Distribuzione (Southern Italy). This means each franchisee is different. We must provide them with a tailored service capable of ‘localizing’ their online activity and products”, explained Grendele. Once configured, the solution enables business teams to perform many actions in total autonomy. They can manage product ranges, prices, promotions and personalized omnichannel journeys within the platform. For example, the digital “catman” (category manager) can, with a few clicks, change the description of the product, update its images and decide if this item should be displayed or not.

“We also wanted to improve the customer's omnichannel journey. We extended the Salesforce solution to better online store services. For example, we created a checklist to review the store's core processes like security or quality assurance. Store locator, drive-to-store capabilities, e-catalogues and so on are now easier to manage”, added Grendele.

In Italy, the Net Promoter Score of the ecommerce site has increased by 20% between 2021 and 2022
“We used to have seven different phone numbers and customers hated it. Up to 60% of calls needed to be transferred. Merging those departments was better for staff and better for customers,”
Octavio Ponce
Strategic Customer Engagement & Digital Marketing Director - Carrefour

Founding the holistic digital retail experience of tomorrow


4. Data to better feel and respond to customer needs

Carrefour Italy set out with a mission to manage all customer interactions from a central platform, from web & app notifications to CRM, customer service and marketing, giving staff total visibility of the customer and helping them to better respond to different requests and expectations.

This central position is key to collect, store and analyze data from across the business to help design new products and offers, as well as enabling smart product recommendations and greater personalization. Thanks to Salesforce Einstein Analytics, the Carrefour team created dashboards to monitor digital activity including after sales actions, shipment data, and popular delivery slots. This brings many advantages. For instance, using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) dashboard it’s now possible to track the customer satisfaction on the different parts of the journey: search engine, quality of products... The churn rate monitoring is another good example. This visual management tool helps to identify abandoned carts so customers can be sent a reminder to check out.

“Our mission is to provide better customer service and increase the satisfaction of our customers. So tracking it matters: it’s crucial for us to stay up to date with the evolving needs of our customers. Thanks to the NPS dashboard, for example, we know that our ecommerce NPS has increased by 20% between 2021 and 2022!”, argued Grendele.


5. Simplifying customer service

Selling is fine, but selling AND providing outstanding customer service is better. It is essential if you want the customer to come back. Hence the importance of having the “Rolls-Royce” of CRM.

“Customers need to get in touch with us quickly and easily, no matter the communication channel”, explained Octavio Ponce, customer engagement & marketing director at Carrefour. “This includes empowering them with self-service solutions and giving our customer service associates better capabilities across all digital touchpoints, be it call centers, stores or social media.”

Carrefour Spain is currently leading the charge with Service Cloud. It is deployed at the service counter of stores and in call centers as well.

Service Cloud is streamlining phone, email, and live chat, with social media in the pipeline. Crucially, the company has aligned seven service departments under one phone number. “We used to have seven different phone numbers and customers hated it. Up to 60% of calls needed to be transferred, which wasn’t a productive use of time. Merging those departments was better for staff and better for customers,” confirmed Ponce.

Building stronger relationships with customers is win-win. Staff are empowered to provide better answers, faster, which makes for happier customers. And customers like it: “Thank you for having a phone number. This is so much easier.” (testimonial from a recent NPS survey) 


6. Moving towards true personalization

There is no magic recipe for customer intimacy: Retailers need to listen to their customers, get to know them very well and then act with empathy to offer targeted services that meet their exact needs and expectations, all this through the channel, content and frequency of their choice. That’s true personalization!

With 80 million customers across the world, unlocking a thorough understanding of each and every individual is crucial. “Customers hate mass mailing. Targeted digital marketing is not only important to help position our brand correctly, but also to provide customers with the tailored experience they’ve come to expect,” added Ponce.

What Carrefour Spain is doing with Marketing Cloud is one of the key steps in this personalization journey. With Marketing Cloud, the retailer’s Iberian operation delivers more than 400 million personalized emails per year. “These emails are automatically sent to each of our customers. The solution allows us to identify how our customers communicate, which channels they prefer, which topics they’re interested in, which store they’re going to, what product they buy, and so on. All of this data is stored and activated in the form of personalized communications", said Montse Gomendio Landín, Media & digital marketing director for Carrefour Spain.

In Spain, the marketing team also uses social listening to find out what customers' expectations are. For several years now, customers have been sharing their shopping experiences with the cashiers at the checkout, who write them down in small notebooks. These testimonials are then forwarded to the cashier manager, to the store director, and finally to the CEO. With Salesforce, Carrefour can now conduct this customer listening in a more systematic way across all channels, including social media.

The team in Spain created “personas” and segmented contacts using the rich repository of data held in Salesforce. Segmentation criteria includes past purchases, insights based on customer behaviour, loyalty, which promotions they interact with, and whether they’re a digital native or prefer to shop in store.

"Feedback of customers and prospects is of great help to shape our messaging. It’s important to listen to their feedback and adapt our campaigns to make sure we’re delivering the right message – or service – at every touchpoint,” highlighted Montse.

"The solution allows us to identify how our customers communicate, which channels they prefer, which topics they’re interested in, which store they’re going to, what product they buy, and so on. All of this data is stored and activated in the form of personalized communications"
Montse Gomendio Landín
Media & digital marketing director - Carrefour Spain

7. Better customer experience, for everyone @Carrefour

All in all, Carrefour needs a powerful customer engagement platform to respond to ecommerce demand, provide omnichannel services in stores, process customer data in real-time, enhance customer service and provide more individualized customer experiences.

With Salesforce, Carrefour is well on the way to deliver these goals, and to respond quickly to the emerging needs of a changing market. The ecosystem is already in place in multiple Carrefour geographies -Spain, Italy, Poland, Romania, Brazil, Argentina and Taiwan-, taking into account the specificity of the local markets while driving greater consistency across regions.

“Business change is accelerated by technology. Salesforce gives us the speed, security, and agility to improve our customers’ lives, at scale. We are creating a global tech ecosystem with the single objective to provide enhance the lives of our customers, no matter where they are,” concludes González.

Unite all your teams around the customer.


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