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Retailers look to KM to drive business

So Cartwheel turned to 1010data, which provides analytics, business intelligence (BI), data publishing and warehousing services on an outsourced basis. The software as a service (SaaS) capability was critical to bringing better profitability from the loyalty card program, according to Aronson.

"The data processing capability is very powerful, which makes it easy and fast to do analysis," Aronson says. "If you can’t manipulate the data quickly, you’re not able to do anything with it."

Cartwheel uses the data analysis to determine what discounts and other marketing incentives to offer loyalty card customers. It’s important to look at buyer history to know what types of offers they’re likely to respond to. Since the 1010data capability was added, they’ve responded quickly, increasing their purchases by 10 percent. Aronson says, "This isn’t theoretical. If you increase [loyalty card holders’] trips to the stores, you will increase sales."

BI for everyday user

Proper marketing incentives are essential in the online world as well. While the name is 1-800-Flowers, the company also sells gourmet foods, candies and other gifts. Because the retailer relies on repeat business for its success, company officials wanted a knowledge management solution that would enable enterprisewide use of customer data, rather than limiting it to only those with extensive technical expertise.

"We needed to take the business knowledge we had and put it in the hands of the everyday user," says Aaron Cano, the company’s VP of enterprise customer knowledge.

The company had been using Base SAS for data access and reporting for five years, so it went back to SAS when it sought a business intelligence application.

"From the partnership we already had, we knew that SAS would lead us in the right direction," Cano says. "We went to them to review our data models to make sure that we were going in the right direction."

The application sifts through data to discover trends, explain outcomes and predict results, so that the company can increase response rates and identify profitable customers. Various managers use the information to design marketing efforts, send follow-up offers and for a variety of other uses. The result has been more business.

"On average, we saw a 15 percent increase in gross response rates from when we moved from [a legacy application] to using model segmentations built using SAS tools," Cano says

Translated, localized conten

The word "retail" brings to mind mass market retailers, along with online and brick-and-mortar merchants, but there’s also an active market for manufactured goods, as MFG.com, an Atlanta-based manufacturing portal has learned.

The company has expanded into 25 countries in less than 10 years, often experiencing double-digit growth in sales, with all activity driven by the effectiveness of its Web portal. The company experienced solid growth for several years, even though its portal content was in English, regardless of the location of the portal user. But company officials knew that they could boost sales even more if they could effectively translate the content into different languages.

"Like anything else, [the customer] has a higher comfort level if the content is translated and localized," says Steven Roth, chief marketing officer. "It makes you feel like you’re doing business with a local company."

MFG.com contacted Lionbridge Technologies, which offers Web site localization, translation and related services.
Using a Web Services connection, MFG.com automatically pushes its content directly from its content system to Lionbridge project managers for translation via Freeway, Lionbridge’s online service delivery platform. Once translated, the application automatically reinserts the content into the MFG.com environment. That enables the company to speed its update cycles using a touch-free translation management process, to focus on the core task of providing a global marketplace and to boost sales. Sales in China grew twice as fast as they had in the previous years. Sales in other countries have grown as well, though not as dramatically.


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