Case Study: Visual Data Makes Squinch Analysis Picture-Perfect for Patterson Office Supplies
Problem: The B-to-B catalog/multichannel marketer Patterson Office Supplies was overburdened with too much data resulting from the 9,000-plus SKUs in its quarterly catalog. This data overload resulted in the catalog remaining static for years and, as such, it wasn’t optimized to peak efficiency and profitability.
Solution: Implemented a software product to simplify its data.
Results: Improved data and square-inch (squinch) analysis has led to a tighter merchandising mix and more profitable catalog. Catalog page count has been reduced by 20 percent, resulting in a 20 percent cost savings on paper, 30 percent savings on printing and 25 percent savings on postage.
Inundated with data points from its quarterly master catalog, St. Paul, Minn.-based Patterson Office Supplies struggled to get a grasp on what it all meant. Were page layouts optimized to their full potential? Did certain product categories deserve to be allocated more pages in the book and others less? These questions often went unanswered because analyzing the data was too cumbersome.
So beginning in May 2007, Patterson turned to Tableau Software’s Desktop personal edition software to help make sense of its data. The visual software provided instant analysis that Patterson couldn’t get from an Excel spreadsheet. Of utmost importance was the squinch analysis this software allowed Patterson to perform on all 9,000-plus SKUs in its catalog.
“The biggest negative was a tendency to keep things exactly the way they were, even if it wasn’t an optimized layout or page count or layout of space,” says Rich Giambrone, market manager at Patterson Office Supplies. “We’d say, ‘Let’s focus on this one section and leave the rest of the book like it is because we can’t go page by page and item by item.’” There was a tendency to keep it status quo — the catalog hadn’t changed in two years.