3 ways retailers are modernizing with analytics

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You’re a retailer, it’s the holidays, data is flooding in from all points (if you’re lucky), and the last thing you want to hear from the higher-ups is that you need to “modernize.” And what do they actually mean when they say modernize anyway?

Well, modernizing doesn’t have to mean scrapping existing IT plans and projects and starting over. It can mean implementing organizational changes. It can mean fostering an analytics culture. And while it can mean adopting new analytics technologies – it can also mean taking small steps toward looking at your data in new ways. Don’t throw in the towel (or punch anyone in the face), instead take a look at how leading retailers Macy's, Chico's and eBay are using analytics to get big results:

Kerem Tomak, recent Vice President of Analytics for Macys.com

Kerem Tomak

Macy’s ends one-size-fits-all email marketing

To more effectively measure and understand the impact of its online marketing initiatives on Macy's store sales, Macys.com uses Hadoop as a data platform for SAS, resulting in an e-mail subscription churn reduction of 20 percent.

Initially, Kerem Tomak, who recently served as Vice President of Analytics for Macys.com, was worried that segmenting customers and sending fewer, but more specific emails would reduce traffic to the website. “The general belief was that we had to blast everyone,’’ Tomak said. Today, emails are sent less frequently, but with more thought, and the retailer has increased customer insights, cross-sell and upsell effectiveness; productivity, revenue and customer satisfaction. [Read the full story here]

Chico’s integrates online and in-store data

Barb Brandon, Director of CRM – Enterprise Information Management at Chico’s

Barb Brandon

Online and in-store systems not “talking to each other” is an ongoing problem for retailers, but not for Chico’s. The women’s clothing retailer has a database that stores online shopping behavior and integrates it with the same shoppers purchasing behavior in-store.

For example, if an online customer looked at a certain pair of pants but didn’t purchase them – and then went to a store three days later to buy them, Chico’s knows it.

“That’s meaningful data for us,” says Barb Brandon, Director of CRM – Enterprise Information Management at Chico’s, “to understand how she’s navigating around the Web, what she’s browsing, and then tying that purchase behavior in a multichannel way back to that customer and attributing that behavior.” That data gives Chico’s a comprehensive picture of who its customers are, where they’re located, what they prefer, what items they purchase and when they shop. That insight helps provide customers with a better experience with Chico's. [To learn more, download this white paper]

eBay dominates mobile

If you still think of eBay as a site for people selling their kid’s used clothes, think again. Practically every retailer now needs to play on eBay’s marketplace. One reason is that eBay’s advanced monitoring and analysis of visitors’ surfing, browsing, buying and selling behavior has helped the online retailer develop one of the best mobile sites available. Another is that eBay’s PayPal service has become a predominant way consumers pay on mobile, online and even in-store. Many retailers are rolling out PayPal at point-of-sale terminals so that customers can pay via their PayPal accounts.

Natasha Zharinova, Head of Strategy and Finance for eBay's Dutch arm, Marktplaats.nl

Natasha Zharinova

What do you think eBay’s going to do with all that data? They’re already using it to deliver the right ads to the right people at the right time, through the proper channels – including mobile devices and social media.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch arm of eBay (Marktplaats.nl) can even predict revenue streams in detail and immediately respond to any changes in customer behavior. "We know how trade is affected by things like the time and date of purchase, school holidays, and even weather conditions; we can make accurate predictions based on this information," says Dr. Natasha Zharinova, Head of Strategy and Finance, Marktplaats.nl. "

A major advantage is also the ability to trace data sources. If something doesn't go as expected, we dive into the data to find a detailed explanation." [To learn more, read the full story on Marktplaats.nl]

Want to hear more modernization tips from these retailers? Speakers from Macy’s, Chico’s and eBay are all presenting at NRF Retail’s Big Show 2015 Jan. 11-14 in New York. You can book a meeting and get a free Expo pass here. Hope to see you there!

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About Author

Anne-Lindsay Beall

Senior Editor

Anne-Lindsay Beall is a writer and editor for SAS. Since joining the company in 2000, Anne-Lindsay has edited print publications, Web sites, customer success stories, blogs and digital publications. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in English from North Carolina State University. You can find her on LinkedIn at: www.linkedin.com/in/annelindsaybeall

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