Marktplaats.nl uses SAS® Analytics to improve customer experience, profitability

Acquired by eBay in 2004, Dutch online trading platform Marktplaats.nl hosts more than 6.5 million unique monthly visitors. Business analytics software provider SAS, a leader in integrated marketing management, provides Marktplaats.nl, the third-largest European business in eBay Marketplaces, with insight into customer data and trading behavior to fine-tune customer engagement strategies. Offering the right promotions at the right time contributes mightily to a positive customer experience.

"Our challenge is offering visitors exactly the information and products they seek," said Dr. Natasha Zharinova, Head of Strategy and Finance. "User experience guides everything we do. With SAS®, we unlock insights from vast amounts of structured and unstructured data to improve services for our customers and advertisers."

Marktplaats.nl uses the data it collects to deliver targeted ads to customers at optimum times and through the proper channels, including mobile devices and social media, such as Facebook.

"Drilling down through multiple levels of data increases our understanding of visitors' behavior, so we can respond. We look at both buying and selling patterns. For example, we might group customers searching for children's clothing in the segment, 'parents'. Based on the clothing sizes they browse, we estimate their child's age. With this information, we can better fit offers to the customer's needs," added Zharinova.

With SAS, Marktplaats.nl can immediately respond to new customer behavior trends. "We know how trading is affected by external variables like time and date, school holidays and even weather. Now we can base accurate predictions on this information," says Zharinova. "A major advantage is the ability to trace data sources. If something doesn't go as expected, we dive into the data for a detailed explanation."

By correlating the time series with external variables, Marktplaats.nl predicts how high trading will be, when and in what products. Marktplaats.nl also uses predictive analytics to develop its own services, determining how various elements and offerings influence each other. Cannibalization analysis, for example, lets Marktplaats.nl predict if certain new features will positively impact the bottom line.

The company's customer lifecycle management program has helped its business customers be more successful. "Admarkt" is Marktplaats.nl's self-service, performance-based advertising product for small and medium enterprises (SME). Launched in 2007, Admarkt has grown into a solid component of the company's B2C offering.

"Data-driven programs empower our SME customers to run successful businesses through Marktplaats.nl," says Zharinova. "We used SAS to define customer segments and implement the automated customer-lifecycle program that supports business customers through various stages – from getting started, to improving performance and visibility, to reactivating customers whose usage is declining."

One of SAS' most valuable features, says Zharinova, is its ability to make information gathered from huge amounts of data and data sources more accessible and useful.

"We hardly spend any time collecting data, which allows us to focus on making the best possible use of valuable insights and customer data," says Zharinova. "With minimal effort, we have access to graphical and visual reports, along with answers to ad hoc questions and specific what-if questions."

The reports – available instantly to different departments – are easy to use and distribute in any desired format, including PowerPoint, Excel and Word. As a result, Marktplaats.nl has a uniform companywide view of the current business, and all decisions can thus be based on facts.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 70,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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