Many get into business to help others – ok it’s built on top of the foundations of wanting to make money, and the liberty of working for yourself – yet don’t reach beyond that initial desire. Others, however, follow through and instill a higher sense of purpose into their brand.
Take Patagonia, for example, the winter clothing brand that tags its politics to its ski coats. On its Salesforce Commerce Cloud-powered ecommerce site, its activism lies side-by-side with its new arrivals.
Or TOMS, the footwear company that channels some of its profits into providing footwear for children (what’s known as the one-for-one business model).
Then there is Brunello Cucinelli, the luxury clothing brand that is battling the faceless monolith of department store shopping, where customers are more digits than faces – that’s according to its eponymous CEO.
“My life’s great dream has always been to work for the economic and moral dignity of human beings,” said Brunello Cucinelli. “Since I was a young boy, I’ve always been fascinated by the great pioneers of mankind. I wanted, somehow, to be a tiny pioneer of human dignity.”
The fashion brand is most known for its luxury materials and silhouettes materials, and has been using Salesforce Commerce Cloud to power its ecommerce since 2016, which is fixed to design individual customer experiences.
“It is very simple,” said comms and digital director Carolina Cucinelli. “We have no logos. I think this is something quite important.”
But how exactly do you provide personal experiences in an age of mass consumption?
This is the challenge for every big brand and retailer, especially because of the ever-increasing desire and expectation of customers for personalized marketing, recommendations, and interactions with a brand.
“There is a beautiful expression by Voltaire,” added Brunello, “where he says ‘If you do not accept the changes of your time, perhaps you will miss the greatest part.
“So, I have always wanted to use the latest technology, but to use it in a gracious way that doesn’t steal our souls. This is why I believe we are living in a new, fascinating time.”
Using graceful tech. “Graceful technology.” An emerging phrase to describe technology that doesn’t come between a brand and their customers, yet is used to facilitate a closer relationship through personalization.
To attempt this, Brunello Cucinelli connected to Salesforce Service Cloud to assist its employees (who I’d like to be called Brunellistas) carrying out a better and faster service. And when it comes to its customer order history and automated workflows, those working in the store have full access to customer preferences and wants. With deeper customer insight, store Brunellistas are able to cultivate closer and stronger relationships.
“It was important for us to be able to give our customers the same experience that we give them in the physical world,” added Carolina. “A feeling of being looked after, without being pressured.
“We try to understand when our customers want to be contacted, when they don’t want to be contacted, when they would rather receive a phone call instead of an email.”
Getting personal with Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Salesforce is, of course, the golden star recommendation for big brands that need the ecommerce platform’s comprehensive toolkit for complex solutions. “We weren’t just looking for innovative and complete pioneering technologies,” said digital PM Francesca Picchio. “We were looking for a partner who shared our values.”
For Brunello Cucinelli, they were able to anchor the ancestral Italian craftsmanship to modern digital tech. “Online, just by nature, it is a little bit impersonal,” added Francesca. However. “Thanks to Salesforce, we were able to build customer journeys – to provide our individual customers with an experience that was as close as possible to their expectations and desires.”
And the advancement in personalization capabilities does not come at the expense of privacy. “We have always believed in human privacy,” said Brunello, “so we asked Salesforce ‘Help us to ensure that we maintain this idea of kindness toward human beings in our work.’ And I was happy that we figured this out.
“Salesforce has given us real confidence that the data of our valued customers is respected.”
Balance of purpose and profit
Brunello Cucinelli has around 100 stores that provide that luxury yet personal feel to their customers. While its digital side, its ecommerce side, is growing strong. As part of their mission to give back, they give 20% of their profits to charity. And so the greater they grow the more they give – sounds familiar, Salesforce, right?
They’ve also invested in language capabilities to expand its global reach. Today, its ecommerce site is available in 50 countries and their corresponding languages. Salesforce Marketing Cloud builds on the markets the brand is present in and holds the tools to communicate with each customer.
And the other Salesforce piece of the digital ecosystem is Commerce Cloud, which they plugged in in 2016. Since then its ecommerce sales have exploded by 300%.
“There is something unique about the relationship we have with Salesforce,” admitted Francesca. “Because Salesforce immediately grasped the specificity of our project, of what we wanted to do.
“They also understand our need to break away from the mainstream, to think outside the box.”
Brunello adds a more grandiose flavor to what the brand is part of. “Try to humanize the internet and you will be remembered in the next millennium as those, the innovators, who changed humanity.”
The bran’s attempting to wire the digital world to the quaint Italian quality of the rural countryside – where its headquarters are located. And they’re pulling that off with a Salesforce smorgasbord of Service Cloud, Commerce Cloud, and Marketing Cloud.