The retailer and grocer Carrefour had begun a digital transformation initiative well before the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated e-commerce adoption by the grocery sector. One of the top 10 retailers in Europe by revenue, Carrefour has more than 12,000 stores worldwide. Yet digitally-enabled competitors and narrowing margins signaled the need for a reset.
One pillar of Carrefour’s transformation strategy was to promote omnichannel retail anchored by strong digital marketing and communications. That required the company to effectively and consistently communicate with its customers across digital channels. In France, that audience totaled 15 million people.
Charles Giannesini, the head of customer activation and strategy at Carrefour, had heard Persado speak at an industry event in France about the power of AI-generated language for optimizing customer interactions. In Persado he saw a potential partner who could help him drive the messaging component of the brand’s omnichannel strategy. After a successful pilot project using the Persado Motivation AI, an enterprise Generative AI solution, Carrefour signed a formal, ongoing engagement.
Optimizing marketing campaigns with Generative AI
The Persado Motivation AI is a Generative AI platform that generates on-brand messaging to motivate customers to engage. When a customer like Carrefour partners with Persado, the brand’s creative team crafts a first draft of the message they want to send. The Persado Motivation AI Platform analyzes what the message is trying to achieve. Then, it generates up to 16 alternative options predicted to outperform the original in terms of clicks, purchases, etc. Carrefour and Persado then run experiments in the market to see which versions generate the biggest response with which customers. Using that data, Carrefour ultimately chooses a version or versions to run for the duration of the campaign.
By December 2022, Carrefour had used the Persado Motivation AI Platform on more than 250 campaigns. One representative campaign leveraged the Persado Motivation AI Platform to optimize an SMS promotion for Black Friday 2022.
Carrefour’s creative team crafted an initial version of the campaign. The message highlighted the Black Friday event and the 20% off discount across multiple departments. When the Persado Motivation AI Platform analyzed the message, however, the AI predicted that emphasizing ATTENTION (e.g. Special info) and ACHIEVEMENT (just for you!) would produce higher engagement.
The end result was a 14.5% increased click rate (CTR) above what could be achieved with Carrefour’s human-generated control message. That is more than 3X the engagement of the Carrefour-generated control.
What’s next for Carrefour and Persado?
Carrefour has already begun the next phase of its strategic plan Carrefour 2026, which emphasizes its continued transformation into a “data-centric, digital-first” retailer. The Persado relationship with Carrefour is expected to evolve to focus on Carrefour’s efforts to leverage personalization.
Starting with customer segments Carrefour has identified and captured from its email service providers, Persado will increasingly work to generate personalized language for high-value audience segments.
To learn more about the engagement between Persado and Carrefour, read the full case study.