BRC – Customer insight 2015
Trends for better insights – Martin Squires, head of customer insight, Walgreens Boots Alliance.
90% of Boots customers are female, so the business really needs to understand women. Boots have the Advantage card at its core, with 17 million customer users. he card enables Boots’ to build up customer profiles overtime and allows data retention for longer term marketing.
With information from over 100 million records from Boots opticians, pharmacy online (limited by regulation), customer satisfaction surveys and customer panels or healthcare services, Boots are strongly enabled and empowered by their customer base.
Only 10 years ago, the business would segment online customers separately from in store customers. Now, that cannot exist, everyone buys online and there are very few outliers.
The newly empowered customer is more complex, and has faster changing opinions. Data security once proved an issue but customers now expect a business to hold their data across the wider group of businesses and do not expect to give personal details more than once.
This, and mobile, have changed the single view of the customer. We have to understand the different roles devices have and the hierarchy of business decisions made by customers.
How to segment customers?
In the past, analysis was by customer spend. Now it is more complex with a need to understand how they are interacting with the business, through newsletters, offers, events etc.
Talent – It is a matter of art meets science, with Renaissance analysts. Boots endeavour to understand the data collated from the customer and to tell a story to their marketeers. Their analysts have degrees in social science, applied maths, physics and operational research backgrounds. There are just too few applied maths graduates these days and we need people that can critically evaluate and ask the right questions. Boots look to employ analysts with common sense, creativity and curiosity. They expect the interviewee to ask all the questions.
Boots like to recruit analysts who want to go to the store and find out how customers behave and then come back and write code. They aim to democratise data so it can be available and understood by all. To do this they have created a dashboard, including info on key KPI’s, but category teams can mine the data themselves and take insights to the analysts for more analysis.
In the past at any one time we may be launching 100 offer variations that has risen to 400. Boots now individually tailor offers to their 17million customers who use the Boots advantage card. It can be tricky – customers can take real offence to being targeted by what may be considered ‘sensitive’ or specific products. For example, it is just not relevant to market hair-loss products to all 17million card holders. Boots’ approach, is to look as if all communication has from one brain. They do not want to offer £5 off a £50 spend for a product the customer has just purchased.
A word of advice, if you are starting out, social media is a good place but you have to be really clear about your objectives and keep up the activity.
Christine de Largy, Managing Director of Impact Executives, experts in interim management, is passionate about the digital transformation of consumer businesses. She hosts a retail forum to facilitate debate around the issues retail businesses today face and also sits on the management and advisory boards of IORMA, the International Omni-channel Retail Markets Association.
About Impact Executives Ltd Impact Executives is a leading interim management provider to organisations of every size in the UK and globally. Originally formed as a specialist practice within PA Consulting Group, over the past 25 years Impact Executives has helped over 2000 companies, including more than two-thirds of the FTSE 250 – find the very best executive interim management talent.
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