Manager of Marketing Analytics
Give shoppers offers they’ll love
Chico’s FAS, Inc. relies on SAS® Customer Intelligence to fine-tune marketing interactions and connect customers to the merchandise they want.
With the growth of online commerce, shoppers no longer simply go to the mall, browse through stores and return home with bags full of merchandise. Shopping in today’s retail world is very different.
Rather than mailing every offer to every customer, SAS helps us determine the right people to contact, helping us stay on budget and avoid wasting resources.
For example, you can browse a retailer’s website to find clothes and accessories and then place an order. Or you can go to the retail store to see those items in person and try them on. You could make a purchase in the store – or wait to pounce on an online deal. Consumers seamlessly move between channels, devices and points in time on their path to purchase.
This behavior has left retailers with customer data scattered across multiple systems. To make stronger and more profitable customer relationships, they need comprehensive data about each customer’s journey across all channels. That requires sophisticated analytics to truly understand what a customer wants with each shopping experience.
Women’s apparel retailer Chico’s FAS relies on SAS Customer Intelligence, including SAS OnDemand: Marketing Automation, to consolidate and analyze customer and transactional information. The on-demand solution, which is hosted at SAS world headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, allows Chico’s FAS marketers to plan, test and execute campaigns of any size or level of complexity. The solution empowers marketing staff to work directly with the data, without help from statisticians or IT staff.
With the dynamic customer profiles in place, Chico’s FAS can truly understand its shoppers and develop targeted marketing campaigns that offer more relevant messages.
A 360-degree view of customer behavior improves marketing effectiveness
While Chico’s FAS started out as a traditional brick-and-mortar business, it now has a huge online presence. Not only does that encompass online sales, but an incredible amount of browsing and session data as well.
“Customers browsing online make up a much greater volume of activity than actual online purchases,” says Paul Grasso, Manager of Marketing Analytics for Chico’s FAS. “Customers use our website to view products, but they often still come into our stores to make their purchases. We need to link information about customers in all channels to understand what they’re interested in.”
Previously, Chico’s FAS used a system built simply to put lists together and send out mailers. That system limited the retailer’s ability to segment customers and combine offers. Now SAS Customer Intelligence solutions enable Chico’s FAS to consolidate the customer data it gathers to create a complete view of the customer. And Chico’s FAS can use analytics to fully understand what products customers are looking for, what drives purchases, how and when to contact customers, and what the right offers are.
With this insight, Chico’s FAS can better determine which existing or lapsed customers to target with certain offers. “Rather than mailing every offer to every customer, SAS helps us determine the right people to contact, helping us stay on budget and avoid wasting resources,” Grasso says.
From the customer perspective, better analytics means communications are now much more on the mark. “We can provide deals for the products the customer likes and shops for,” Grasso says. “That means the customer gets offers they love.”
Rapid data consolidation and reporting accelerate business decisions
One of the biggest challenges Chico’s FAS faced in using customer data for targeted marketing has been the sheer volume of data from retail stores, the website and social media. By pairing SAS with a more efficient database technology, Chico’s FAS reduced extract, transform and load process times that consolidate customer data from 17 hours to two hours.
“We needed to identify customer records that were duplicated within the system,” Grasso says. “This often is the result of having someone’s name, mailing address or email entered differently from one shopping experience to the next.”
For example, a shopper is in the system as “Christine” in one record and “Chris” in another. Or an address is “123 Main Street, Apartment B” in one record, but “123-B Main Street” in another. Chico’s FAS can now determine when multiple records actually represent the same person and link them together. The retailer also detected and eliminated incomplete records, dramatically improving its analytics results.
Managers use this up-to-date data to create ad hoc reports that allow them to ask questions that lead to more targeted campaigns and offers. In the future, Grasso says that Chico’s FAS will analyze data in real time to make its promotions increasingly timely and relevant. “If a customer interacted with us and saw something that piqued her interest, we’ll be able to turn around an offer that reinforces the message while it’s still top of mind.”
By improving its data integration and analysis, Chico’s FAS is enhancing its relationships with shoppers. “Our entire team is focused on delighting our customer by giving her what she wants, when she wants it,” Grasso says.“Our goal is to make the service, the aesthetics and the merchandise extraordinary.”
- Consolidate customer data from multiple online and brick-and-mortar retail channels to get a complete view of the customer.
- Answer questions about customer preferences and purchasing behavior.
- Predict customer behavior to create more highly segmented, cost-effective marketing campaigns.
- Customers get relevant deals on products they love, which increases sales and loyalty.
- Time to perform data consolidation reduced from 17 hours to two hours, allowing the process to be performed daily instead of weekly.
- Faster data availability and ad hoc reporting gives managers greater insights.