Q&A: Paul Grasso on driving same-store sales

Women's specialty retailer Chico's FAS Inc. has been very successful at driving same-store sales with fewer markdowns using SAS® Marketing Automation OnDemand. The Florida-based company operates more than 1,200 boutiques throughout the US, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico under the Chico's, White House | Black Market, Soma and Boston Proper brands. SAS had a chance to catch up with Manager, Marketing Analytics Paul Grasso on how Chico's has incorporated web traffic data to get a clearer picture of its customer.

Being able to better understand how our customers use the web site to enhance their shopping experience has enabled us to fine tune our marketing efforts.

Paul Grasso
Manager, Marketing Analytics

Can you share with us how you began using web data to answer some of these questions?

When we set up the project two years ago to integrate web traffic data into our SAS marketing automation solution, I worked closely with the vendor and with the business users to define how they wanted to use the data and what questions they wanted answered. I worked with the vendor and the data that was available to design a database structure that would be easy to use for the (business) analyst and contain the data they needed to complete their job.

Can you give us some examples of how this helped?

We wanted to understand how customers are shopping on the web and how they are using the web to enhance their shopping experience. Are they using the web to get a good picture of our products and then coming in to the store to make purchases? We don't want to look at the web as a siloed channel. By linking our customer's web browsing activity to their purchases in our stores, we can understand situations where it's not a big deal if a customer left items in a shopping cart – because we now know she bought them in the store.

How does this change how you market to customers?

Being able to better understand how our customer’s use the web site to enhance their shopping experience has enabled us to fine tune our marketing efforts.  The integration of the Web data also allows us to better understand the online shopping cart which in turn allows us to adjust how we react to a customer’s needs based on individual shopping patterns.

What has it been like to work with SAS?

The SAS tools are really easy to use. I've programmed in SAS for a long time, but I've only started using Enterprise Guide in the past 2½ years and it's really helped to modularize my code and make it easier to read and code. From the campaign team's perspective, it's helped them turn around campaigns a lot quicker. I've been able to show the team that they really have all the capabilities they need at their fingertips. (This has led) to the team having more confidence in their decision making. They are able to get out of the database the answers to the questions they have.



Incorporate web traffic data to get a clearer picture of its customer.


SAS® Marketing Automation OnDemand


The retailer can link web browsing to store purchases to better understand the overall shopping patterns and preferences of customers.

The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.

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