Customer Insight: Complete the Picture With Cross-Channel Analysis - InformationWeek

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Customer Insight: Complete the Picture With Cross-Channel Analysis

Are you looking at store-, contact center- and Web-based transactions in isolation? Employing cross-channel analysis, Best Buy learned that best customers are typically multi-channel customers, and it's now personalizing marketing messages with a complete view of customer behavior. Here's a look at the cross-channel trend and its implications for technology choices and operational decisions.

Understanding and Targeting Best Customers

Best Buy's move into cross-channel analysis began a few years ago when it began blending Web-site and in-store transactional data in a data warehouse designed for deep analysis of customer segments and trends. That effort revealed that the retailer's best customers were usually multi-channel customers, so over the last two years, Best Buy has moved to add non-transactional clickstream data and, most recently, call center data.

"When you look at some of the typical BI and Web analytics tools, they've been pointed at understanding behavior only in aggregate form - how many bought X product, reported Y problem through the call center or looked at Z page on the Web site," says Smith. "We're beginning to do analysis from the perspective of an individual consumer."

Best Buy uses Web analytics software from Visual Sciences (formerly WebSideStory) to collect and export Web clickstream data to the data warehouse. It also uses the vendor's real-time data visualization and analytics software to reveal cross-channel trends by customer segment. The company also uses Unica's Affinium Insight software to develop rules for particular customer behaviors that can then trigger personalized marketing messages.

"If we see that you're doing research online in the home theater space or we see that you've purchased home theater products in a store, we want to tailor our e-mail and direct-mail messages to help you build the best home theater experience," says Smith.

Next on the agenda at Best Buy is extending the personalization capabilities to the Web site and, ultimately, back to the stores. The first step will require redesign work to free up Web site screen real estate for personalization. The in-store personalization strategy is "complicated," says Smith, adding that it may requiring "a couple of years" to put in place. "We think this will really have power if we can inform the blue-shirted sales associates [in the store] with the same insights we're using to make ink and pixels smarter," he says. "A couple of years ago, if you came in to buy a digital camera, we thought about you as buying a digital camera. Now we understand, through watching customer behavior, that you're really trying to build a solution around sharing memories."

(For more detail, read "Crossing Channels: Q&A With Best Buy's Matt Smith").

If Best Buy can inform a sales associate that a customer is, say, a high-value Best Buy Reward Zone member who has purchased a digital camera, the interaction could focus on complimentary merchandise such as editing software, memory cards, backup storage, printers or other accessories.

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