Live from the Annual Catalog Conference: Go Multichannel for Modeling

May 04, 2004 9:30 PM  By

(Direct Newsline) Chicago–When building models, using data from all channels has given office supply titan Staples a better picture of its customer base.

Eileen White, director of customer acquisition for Staples, told attendees of the Annual Catalog Conference on Monday that an increase in online sales initially meant a decrease in vehicle tracking, because it was more difficult to capture source codes online. About 70% of the company’s online customers use paper catalogs in their order process. Match-backs done with the help of the service bureau provided a successful, albeit expensive, solution to the problem.

Mining multiple channels of data has helped Staples improve the overall quality of its data. For example, looking at online-generated information might give a glimpse into the size of a company. Or a customer might have a different address for shipping than for his membership in Staples’ Rewards program.

White noted that when deciding which unit–catalog, retail, or Web–gets credit for a sale, it always goes to where the transaction actually took place, regardless of where it might originated.

Tracking sales and keeping the database clean can sometimes be a difficult process, she said. For example, Staples has in-store kiosks, which allow customers to order products they might not be able to find at the retail location. Many store associates help the customer place their order, often putting in the store’s own address as the ship-to instead of asking the customer for their own information. “We need to weed that data out [of our files] and impress upon associates the importance of capturing quality data.”