The Knowledge Exchange / Customer Intelligence / Personalized communication, the Chico’s way, part one

Personalized communication, the Chico’s way, part one

Barb Buettin, Chico's

Chico’s FAS operates several brands, including more than 600 Chico’s boutiques and 83 outlets; 364 White House | Black Market boutiques and 27 outlets; 164 Soma Intimates boutiques and 17 outlets; and a direct-to-consumer-only brand, Boston Proper. The retailer is known for providing outstanding, highly personalized customer service for its affluent female customers.

“We have an incredible associate-to-customer relationship within our family of brands,” said Barb Buettin, Director of CRM – Enterprise Information Management at Chico’s. “We have customers who have their associate’s mobile phone number – there’s a lot of communication that occurs. So we need to drive personalized communication and do it in an electronic way, yet it has to be personalized so she [the customer] feels special.”

“As she shops with us or browses the Web or interacts via mobile technology, we want to understand how to analyze and measure that … and be able to quickly react. So we need to identify her in the data, but also take action in a way that makes her feel incredibly important and special.”

How does Chico’s accomplish its goal of staying intensely focused on each customer’s likes and needs across all channels and brands so that the retailer can respond quickly and appropriately in every situation?

In a recent webinar, Buettin shared 10 ways that Chico’s uses structured and unstructured data to drive customer experiences that generate positive business results.  Read on for the first five, and then check back for part two:

 1. Consolidate the data

According to Buettin, Chico’s wanted to bring together all of its key customer data to effectively mine, segment, cross-sell and prospect across brick-and-mortar storefronts, catalogs and websites for multiple brands. At the same time, Chico’s was determined to maintain its high service standards and sterling reputation.

Before turning to SAS, said Buettin, “We had a treasure trove of untapped resources, untapped data, that we really couldn’t get to. If any analytics needed to be done, it was done through sequel queries. And it was not in the hands of the business.

“We had a locked data model. And by that I mean we were pretty much handcuffed where we couldn’t add in elements, couldn’t change elements; it was all vendor-driven. And that didn’t allow us to make improvements as the business changed.

“When you get the kind of response rate that’s triple what you’re used to, you really start to see the value in being able to mine through the data.”

2. Segment accurately across all channels

Chico’s was able to restructure its data and tap into all of the valuable customer insight it contained. To get there, Chico’s acquired new capabilities like marketing automation. It also upgraded aging technology – customized and legacy applications – and built a best-of-breed infrastructure.

“Now we have a total view; a multichannel view of our Chico’s FAS customers. So we know what she’s doing not only at Chico’s, but we know in Soma Intimates, White House | Black Market, and soon, Boston Proper … We know what her behavior is among all of our brands. This enables us to understand her full behavior both on and offline, and what kinds of merchandise she prefers.”

Armed with this information, Chico’s can be much more effective when connecting with customers. “We want to be able to send her a message that’s relevant to her and that we know she’s going to respond to,” said Buettin. “And the only way to get that is through the heavy analytics and the data integration that we’ve put together.”

3. Predict confidently

Customer analytics also helped Chico’s bring back lapsed customers at an impressive rate. “That campaign in particular was triple the success rate,” Buettin said. “When you get the kind of response rate that’s triple what you’re used to, you really start to see the value in being able to mine through the data.”

“From an analytical and modeling perspective, and having all of that data that I talked about – when you put a tool like SAS® on top of it, it’s been incredibly enlightening for us,” said Buettin. She added, “It has opened up a whole new world for us,” because of the confidence Chico’s has in the solutions’ predictive capabilities.

4. Make it worthwhile for your customers

How does Chico’s capture customer data in the first place? One way is through its loyalty program, said Buettin. “We’ve created this loyalty program that makes our customers want to be identified. It’s a threshold program; so if you spend X number of dollars, depending on the brand, you receive a discount of 5 percent. Five percent is meaningful to our customers, so when they come into the stores they want to identify themselves.

“As part of that identification, they provide us personal information that enables future matching. So as they come into our brands, the core foundation of their behavior is the sales data. That comes in from all of the channels that are integrated – and we know who they are. That’s where that treasure trove of data came from that we weren’t able to tap into before.”

5. Capture and integrate online behavior data

Now, Chico’s has a much more comprehensive picture of who its customers are, where they’re located, what they prefer, what items they purchase, when they shop – and more.

For example, the database stores Chico’s click behavior that reveals information about online shoppers. So Chico’s knows if a customer has browsed on the Web and looked at a certain pair of pants but didn’t purchase them online – then went to a store three days later to buy them.

“That is very meaningful data for us,” said Buettin, “to understand how she’s navigating around the Web, what she’s browsing, and then tying that purchase behavior in a multichannel way back to that customer and attributing that behavior.”

 For more tips from Barb, download the white paper: Ten Ways to a Customer-Centric, Data-Driven Business Strategy

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  1. [...] Exchange / Customer Intelligence / Personalized communication the Chico’s Way, part two « Personalized communication, the Chico’s way, part one Personalized communication the Chico’s Way, part twoBy Anne-Lindsay Beall, Editor | Published: [...]

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