Carrier Fans Sales With Data Mining

Air-conditioner maker turns to WebMiner to find out what its customers need

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 2, 2001

2 Min Read

Carrier Corp. is using data mining to profile online customers and offer them cool deals on air conditioners and related products. By using services from WebMiner Inc., the air-conditioning, heating, and refrigeration equipment maker has turned more Web visitors into buyers, increasing per-visitor revenue from $1.47 to $37.42.

Carrier, part of $26 billion United Technologies Corp., began selling air conditioners, air purifiers, and other products to consumers via the Web in 1999. But it sold only about 3,500 units that year, says Paul Berman, global E-business manager at the Farmington, Conn., company. Not knowing just who its customers were and what they wanted was a big part of the problem. "We were looking for ways to raise awareness [of Carrier's Web store] and convert Internet traffic to sales," Berman says.

Last year, Carrier gave WebMiner a year's worth of online sales data, plus a database of Web surfers who'd signed up for an online sweepstakes the company ran in 1999. WebMiner combined that with third-party demographic data to develop profiles of Carrier's online customers. The typical customer is young (30 to 37), Hispanic, and lives in an apartment in an East Coast urban area.

WebMiner matched the profiles to ZIP codes and developed predictive models. Since May, Carrier has enticed visitors to its Web site with discounts. When they type in their ZIP codes, WebMiner establishes a customer profile and pops up a window that offers appropriate products, such as multiroom air conditioners for suburbanites or compact models for apartment dwellers. "It's the first time we've intelligently delivered data-driven promotions," Berman says.

Online sales have exceeded 7,000 units this year, Berman says, compared with 10,000 units for all of last year. Carrier chose the WebMiner service because it was quick to implement and is relatively inexpensive--$10,000 for installation and a $5 fee to WebMiner for each unit sold, compared with six-figure alternatives.

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