Live from NCDM: Bloomie’s Drops a Dime on Best Buyers

Dec 05, 2003 10:30 PM  By

(Direct Newsline) Orlando, FL–In detective novels of old, “dropping a dime” on someone meant placing a tip-off call to the police. But when Bloomingdale’s drops a dime, the only booking being done is revenue, and the dialers are the chain’s sales associates.

Naturally, not every customer hears from the associates: Of the marketer’s 20 million customers, the top 20% account for 73% of its business. Its best customers shop more than 30 times a year in its best stores.

When people shop that often, chances are they’ll get to know the store’s associates. And the Bloomingdale’s reps will likely know them as well. But if they need a little prompting, they rely on Klondike, a campaign management system designed by MBS, which feeds customer data straight to the call center or the sales floor.

The Bloomingdale’s system features a consolidated marketing database of customers, including their transactions and promotion history, as well as some basic household information. Live links, which go directly to point-of-sale terminals, allow associates access to individual customer snapshots.

The point-of-sale (POS) system, which is activated by swiping a credit card, enables salespeople to custom-build merchandise suggestions. Aggregate spending information atop each customer’s file allows the floor rep to make snap decisions about offering special services. If a consumer who buys thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise every year wants to return an item that hasn’t been stocked in four years, a salesperson knows to accept it with a smile.

The POS system can also send customized messages to the floor, which are then delivered to the customer. For instance, when the store hosts one of its “Girls Night Out” specials, a sales rep can be alerted that a given customer is particularly desired at the event and can be fed information about it. The information is also printed on the customer’s receipt.

Klondike can also assist in cross-sell activities. Using merchandise codes, an associate can determine if Bloomingdale’s has room to increase its share of the customer’s wallet. For instance, a heavy apparel buyer may not necessarily be spending comparable amounts on accessories. “If you are spending $6,000 on clothes, you are wearing shoes and cosmetics,” said Anne McAndrew, Bloomingdale’s director of clienting.

Not that Bloomingdale’s is abandoning wider-net marketing: The system also provides the backbone for the retailer’s more than 400 highly segmented mailing campaigns.