How Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Creates AI-Driven Customer Experiences with Salesforce

December 10, 2019 Lia Parisyan

At Dreamforce’s “Digital Experience Keynote: Maximize Your Return on Experience,” leading Salesforce Marketing and Community Cloud product managers, United Airlines aviation visionaries, and Fenty Beauty digital and E-commerce experts shared their strategies for success in an experience-driven economy. 

In this article, the first in a two-part series, we'll explore how Fenty Beauty is reinventing B2C commerce in an era when most retailers are struggling to keep their heads above water. Part two will focus on United Airlines’ vision for a more personalized B2B corporate and travel agency solution.

Your Journey Starts Here Arch Dreamforce 2019 Campground

Fenty Beauty is all about being customer-centric and takes an omnichannel approach to create amazing online experiences. Highlights of the keynote showcased how Fenty achieves that and also introduced how the brand is: 

  • Using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud, Einstein, and Interaction Studio to build personalized customer experiences at speed and scale across every touchpoint. 
  • Enabling content marketers to create content once and deploy it anywhere with Community Cloud Experience Builder.
  • Giving web designers the flexibility to change and optimize content across web, mobile, email, and social.
  • Using Einstein Analytics to integrate a person’s Instagram likes data into highly personalized lookbooks and landing pages based on an individual’s preferences and foundation shade. 
  • Employing super-intelligent Einstein bots and Salesforce Order Management to help customers handle shipping address mistakes without having to get on the phone with a call center agent. 

How to transform your customer experience 

84% of consumers prefer experience over product. 66% are willing to pay more for a better experience, but only 48% say that companies provide a good experience. 

- Adi Kuruganti, General Manager, Community Cloud, and Senior Vice President, Product Management for B2B Commerce at Salesforce.com

These stats reveal a gap in connected experiences across the customer journey. But experience isn’t limited to a single email or beautiful website — it’s about creating hyper-personalized experiences at every touchpoint. Most importantly, it’s about creating value for customers, employees, and partners wherever they are. 

You can never have too much butter

Take Land O’Lakes, for example; part of Deluxe, a multibillion-dollar global conglomerate boasting multiple product lines, they’ve made it their mission to deliver a better customer experience. They have a fully digitized digital B2B portal that enables customers to access the information they need to support training and buy a product. Since embracing digital, Land O’Lakes has seen a 20% increase in digital orders and a 10% reduction in service requests, which has positively impacted their top and bottom lines. 

Personalized customer experiences at speed and scale 

Salesforce Customer 360 enables you to provide incredible service to your customers through communities, portals, and E-commerce, but this type of personalized, connected experience is only possible because experience is tied to CRM. What differentiates Salesforce is customer-centricity: People are the center of what sales, marketing, and service do on the platform. 

Salesforce supports the biggest shopping event of the year 

Black Friday is a make-it-or-break-it event for many retailers. Salesforce expects to see over 5 billion emails and over 805 million unique shoppers powered by its platform. The company is also seeing over 10 billion Einstein recommendations a day. Customers are using Einstein, an AI-enabled, smart CRM assistant, to personalize every customer and partner touchpoint. 

A Content Management System (CMS) that knows you 

CMS comes to Salesforce, and it’s changing the marketing game. Available to Sales, Service, Communities, Commerce, and Marketing customers, Salesforce’s CMS enables you to take a piece of content living in a portal powered by Community Cloud and use that content in a Marketing email cart journey, or an E-commerce storefront powered by Commerce Cloud. 

Innovation in action with Fenty Beauty 

  • Fenty Beauty is disrupting the beauty industry by adopting a global, inclusive mindset.
  • The company sold $500 million in its first year, and products are distributed to customers in 136 countries. 
  • Rihanna is the face and founder of the brand, but so much of the brand’s explosive growth has been propelled by digital and E-commerce. 

Rihanna is the cornerstone of the Fenty Beauty brand, but everything from product to content to campaigns has been centered around customers. The brand delivers personalized content across the customer journey — content that is meaningful, inspirational, and relevant. 

“We [Fenty Beauty] were born Omnichannel.” 

- Chiara Quila, Senior Director, Digital and E-commerce, Fenty Beauty

Fenty Beauty connects with customers everywhere they are — from social to email to landing pages, the brand is invested in omnichannel technology and strategy.

The brand needed a platform that had speed, scale, and flexibility to meet the evolving needs of Fenty Beauty customers. Since launching in 2017 in 17 countries, the beauty brand has grown exponentially. 

“You can’t build experiences for the sake of experience.”

-Anna Rosenman


As Fenty Beauty continues its focus on growth, the brand looks at transactions, new customer acquisition, customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and the number of transactions, as well as trends, to assess what’s working and what isn’t. Fenty Beauty’s innovative mindset and customer-focused technologies give the brand the flexibility to adapt and pivot without sacrificing customer engagement as they transition to something new. 

Transforming customer interaction insights into personalized experiences

Interaction Studio, a Salesforce Marketing Cloud customer interaction tool, now integrates with Salesforce’s Community Cloud. This enables brands like Fenty Beauty to see how their customers are engaging with their ads on social media, and use that insight to personalize experiences on their websites, portals, forums, and other experiences built with Salesforce. 

Interaction Studio and Audience Targeting on Salesforce
Source: Digital Experience Keynote

But to add an even deeper level of personalization, Fenty Beauty uses audience-targeting APIs. This enables Salesforce users to take the CRM data they have and use it to personalize the content experience they deliver to their customers across applications. 

Introducing the brand-new Salesforce CMS app for content marketers

Fenty Beauty Content Personalization Omnichannel Screen View

Source: Digital Experience Keynote

Salesforce’s CMS gives content creators a quick view of campaigns in motion, how their content is performing, and how to add assets to their digital channels: 

  • Recent content: View the most recently created asset by you or your team. 
  • Content metrics: Get quick insights into how your content is performing. 
  • CMS Workspaces: Create content in collaboration with other team members; workspaces can be created by region, brand, or campaign. 

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Salesforce CMS view
Source: Digital Experience Keynote

Blogs, banners, news, events — content is what helps drive a campaign forward, and creating something is simple. Click Add Content and select your desired content type. Some options are out of the box, but there is room for customization. For example, Fenty Beauty built a makeup tutorial content format to engage their target audience and repeat success through a repeatable process.

Once a piece of content is finalized, simply visit its corresponding Workspace. For instance, if the content is a blog titled, “5 Must-Have Lipsticks for Winter 2020,” then you’d go to the Winter 2020 campaign to see that blog and other content in the campaign. And to see where a piece of content is being shared, click Channels. 

Through Salesforce’s CMS, a content marketer can easily share content across multiple channels such as a mobile app, an e-commerce site, social media, or even a retailer portal. 

The beauty of Salesforce CMS is that it enables you to create a piece of content once and share it across all your desired channels, fast — unlike traditional content creation, which requires you to format your content for each channel and, more likely than not, log into multiple publishing platforms.   

But what’s even cooler is that a blog created in Salesforce CMS can be easily integrated into Community Cloud, a place where Salesforce users go to build website portals, forums, and mobile apps. 

Community Cloud Experience Builder: To code or not to code?

In Retail and Beauty, lookbooks are a powerful medium to showcase products and engage customers. With Salesforce’s Community Cloud Experience Builder, you don’t have to know code; you can build an experience with a few clicks, drags, and drops. But if you’re looking for something more custom, you can code to your heart’s content. 

CMS components act like containers and enable customers to be connected to the content syndicated to a site built in Community Cloud Experience Builder. This gives content marketers and web designers the best of both worlds: the ability to create content once and share it everywhere, plus the flexibility to change how the content looks on different platforms, including websites, mobile, email, and social. 

Fenty Beauty Community Cloud Experience Builder View
Source: Digital Experience Keynote

Community Cloud offers a bunch of out-of-the-box pages, but it also gives you the freedom to build your own. Once you create a page, you’ll want to add depth and functionality — that’s where Lightning Components come in. These reusable building blocks can be placed in whatever order a user defines. After the components are laid out, next comes the theme panel, a feature that enables users to change colors, images, and choose from a variety of predefined themes. But if they’re like Fenty Beauty and want a consistent, powerful brand expression, they can create their own theme. 

Going the custom theme route also helps ensure that when someone is using Experience Builder to build a page, they always have the right on-brand assets on hand and spend less time searching for hex codes, fonts, and images. 

Content that adapts with your preferences 

Vivian Sue, Senior Manager of Product Marketing for Community Cloud and CMS at Salesforce, describes how customers experience Fenty Beauty. She describes how she scrolls through the brand’s Instagram feed and likes and comments on the products she’s interested in. Vivian lands on the Holiday Lookbook that was created in Salesforce CMS.

But this isn’t your ordinary lookbook because Marketing Cloud’s Interaction Studio can analyze and integrate Vivian’s Instagram likes into a personalized lookbook. For instance, if she liked a highlighter and lipgloss kit, that is what will show up; if someone else looked at mascara and primer, that is what she’ll see. Vivian will see content based on her interests — which will be completely different from what another person who liked eyebrow-taming videos or a Rihanna-branded video would see. What’s even cooler is that Vivian can add products directly to her shopping cart, thanks to the Headless Commerce API and Commerce Cloud. 

Help customers find what they’re looking for

Fenty Beauty has a custom app that lives on the FentyBeauty.com site. The configurator enables a user to find her perfect shade of foundation. Once a user has a configured shade, Einstein starts making personalized recommendations on products that match the user’s skin tone. Einstein even suggests tutorials based on the user’s configured shade.  

Introducing Salesforce Order Management 

A shopping experience doesn’t stop with Submit. 

Mistakes happen (think about how many times you’ve entered the wrong address). But instead of jumping on a helpline, Fenty Beauty customers have a digital service powered by Einstein bots, which know a customer’s order number and store the addresses where that customer ships her products. For instance, if a user has a stored office and a stored home address, the user can select the preferred address with Einstein and get her products sent where she wants.

This hyper-level personalization across platforms enables brands like Fenty Beauty to convert one-time shoppers into happy, loyal brand advocates.


Learn how to create a high-performing digital transformation strategy for retail, reach out to an Appirio Retail CRM expert today.

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