Weighing In on the Catalog Co-op Databases '06
Because the co-op requires all members to provide SKU-level transactional data, not all catalogers who want to use Prefer Network's services have been able to do so, Platt points out. Some catalogers opt not to release that data; others are unable to, because they haven't built the appropriate transactional database. In the latter cases, Prefer Network is able to help catalogers create a merchandising scheme that will open the doors to using their database.
Somewhat similar to Prefer Network, NextAction uses transactional product data as its primary differentiator. While the data isn't modeled at the SKU level, NextAction uses 40 major product classes with 1,100 product subcategories to locate new product universes for its clients, says its former senior vice president of sales and marketing, Karen Crist, who at press time had just joined Shop.com as its vice president of merchant services.
For NextAction's newer services, it often allows its client to beta test these products for free. "When we create new partnerships or develop new services," Crist says, "we want to develop the best value service and lower the threshold for entry. We know it takes a lot of time and effort to test new services, so if we can make it free and absorb some of that cost, then it embodies that cooperative spirit we're striving for."
One such service that was tested last year and rolled out earlier this year is an e-mail enhancement product. NextAction can cross-reference mailers' opt-in e-mail file with its database and determine which customers should be contacted — and with which specific offer. Using product-level purchase history, NextAction is able to help its clients construct customized landing pages for specific product categories.
The key differentiator for Z-24, marketing services firm Experian's co-op database, is its ability to leverage the more than 3,000 different types of data collected by Experian, says Austin Wright, senior product manager for cooperative databases.
- Lafayette, Colo.