How does women’s retailer Chico’s stay intensely focused on each customer’s likes and needs across mulitple channels and brands and respond quickly and appropriately in every situation?
It’s a tall order, but Barb Buettin, Director of CRM – Enterprise Information Management at Chico’s, shared recently how the company uses structured and unstructured data to create customer relationships that drive positive business results. I shared her first five tips in part one. Read on for part two:
6. Look at the Data in Multiple Ways
Data related to trade areas is also valuable from a customer experience and marketing perspective. Chico’s obviously can identify which store is located closest to each customer. “But we also know where they shop the most,” said Buettin. “So we have an understanding of where I prefer to shop versus what might be closest to me.That’s significant for us to understand versus just mapping to a closest store.
“We also understand the local market,” she added. “That includes what’s happening in similar brands and what customer behavior is like in the market.” In addition to competitive information and traditional demographic information, Chico’s captures more than 300 elements of shopping behavior. This data shows what type of merchandise is being purchased – children’s clothing, high-ticket jewelry or high-ticket female apparel, for example.
“That gives us an idea of her share of wallet that we have. So if we take the competitive data and lay that against our own customized (personal) sales data, then we have a better idea of her spending behavior and how much of that spending behavior is with us. That’s very important for us to know as we go in and start modeling.”
By looking at its data in multiple ways, Chico’s can get details at the item brand and store level. So it’s easy to determine not only what store a customer purchases merchandise at, but also who owns that merchandise. An example would be a customer who shopped in a Chico’s store but purchased Soma Intimate components. “She might have bought that in a Chico’s store,” said Buettin, “but it’s important to know that she has a preference for the Soma Intimates brand and merchandise.”
7. Cluster for Conclusions
Another way that Chico’s differentiates its marketing is with clustering capabilities. “We spent some time looking at our outside data, such as where our customers are shopping with the competition,” said Buettin. “We looked at clustering nodes and put them into categories and then laid that against our internal data to better understand outside share of wallet versus inside share of wallet. And then we looked to see if there were any patterns in that data.”
By comparing certain clusters of customers, Chico’s determined that location plays a surprisingly large role in the way customers spend money and what kind of merchandise they buy.
Clustering also helps in other ways.“The business implications are that we need to understand which of our new customers have the highest potential,” said Buettin.“Because we want to focus on keeping the customers and elevating them up through the brands as well as stratifying our products and customizing them based on customer behavior.”
8. Get the Communications Right
As the world changes and the population spikes, marketers and technologists have started to look at data differently. Today there are different expectations and more unique qualities for marketers to address. At the same time, industries are changing rapidly, so it’s never been more important to send the right messages to the right people at the right time and with the right frequency.
As a result, said Buettin, communication channels and customer relations need to be more immediate; communication needs to be better, and more succinct.
“All of us have our inboxes full of email, and we get too many text messages.When there are too many, we start to ignore.We have to be careful and treasure that relationship that we have with our customers and make sure we’re only communicating things that are incredibly relevant to them.”
9. Align Operations with the Single Customer View
To meet its goal of keeping the customer at the center of everything it does, Chico’s now has a different perspective on many aspects of the business – such as the supply chain. By applying analytics to this view, Buettin says, Chico’s can determine what the customer needs and what store she needs it in.
“The way we think of it is getting the right merchandise for the right customer at the right place and at the right time,” she explained.
This new approach has also created a shift in attitude, said Buettin. “We know when they’re multichannel customers there’s a greater value to each of the channels. So we’re breaking down those barriers of competition among the channels, which have traditionally been a factor. We’re finding that’s causing great success for us.”
10. Forge a Partnership with IT
At Chico’s, having a close relationship with IT is very important to marketers, said Buettin – especially as traditional IT and marketing roles have started to overlap. “That is one of the keys to our success,” said Buettin. “Our marketing technology support is phenomenal. My CRM team speaks business on the technology side, and the business side definitely is data savvy and has their hands on their data.… We are at the table for strategic discussions with our business partners – and I think that’s what makes it work for us.”
For more tips from Barb Buettin, download the white paper: Ten Ways to a Customer-Centric, Data-Driven Business Strategy