Technology helps catalogers deliver precise online marketing
“Data is a very perishable commodity, and if you don’t use it strategically at every interaction to enrich the customer experience or influence the purchase then it really isn’t being used well,” says Nandkeolyar. “We really are taking a data point and leveraging it into a marketing interaction. It makes it so much more meaningful.”
How it Works
Upon entering the Williams-Sonoma site, the customer will be asked to register, cuing the customer’s file. If the customer is new, he is asked to complete a customer profile supplying information about cooking abilities, interests and needs. That information is compiled with existing data, if the customer is a catalog shopper.
Using either a rules-based system in which products are offered based on certain responses, or collaborative filtering, by which merchandise suggestions are determined from real-time browsing and other shoppers’ purchases and profiles, Williams-Sonoma is able to supply a fairly accurate suggestion as to what the consumer wants. Nandkeolyar says this offers the convenience of always being offered appropriate products in the right colors at the right price. But it also provides the consumer with a suggested offering that might not be obvious but is favored by like-minded shoppers. It is similar to cross-selling but on a larger scale. Essentially the customer gets a lot more of what she wants—fast.
Using Net Perceptions’ Intelligence Channel, Garden.com created a targeted e-mail campaign to recapture quality customers who hadn’t yet purchased in 2000.
In identifying the past purchasers, Garden.com discovered that most had purchased roses. An overall popular item for Garden.com is the Princess of Wales Rose. By further analyzing the data, the Internet retailer selected a variety of complementary products to the rose and created an incentive package. Offering 50 percent off the rose, but cross-selling it on the Web with the affinity products, Garden.com still made a profit and reactivated some quality customers.