Tag Archives: customer engagement

Bringing the “Local Experience” Online: Today’s Farm Store is Data Driven

Today’s Farm Store is Data Driven

Today’s Farm Store is Data Driven

Have you ever found yourself walking into a store to buy one thing, only to leave 2 hours later with enough items to fill 2 mini vans? I certainly have. Now, imagine the same scenario, however this time, you walk in a store to buy ranch supplies, like fencing materials or work boots, but end up leaving with an outdoor fire pit, fancy spurs, a pair of Toms shoes, a ski rack and a jar of pickled egg. If you had no idea these products could be purchased at the same place, you clearly haven’t been to North 40 Outfitters.

Established in Northwestern United States, North 40 Outfitters, a family owned and operated business, has been outfitting the hardworking and hard playing populace of the region. Understanding the diverse needs of its customers, hardworking people, North 40 Outfitters carries everything from fencing for cattle and livestock to tools and trailers. They have gear for camping and hunting—even fly fishing.

Named after the Homestead Act of 1862, an event with strong significance in the region, North 40 Outfitters heritage is built on its community involvement and support of local small businesses. The company’s 700 employees could be regarded as family. At this year’s Thanksgiving, every employee was given a locally raised free range turkey to bring home. Furthermore, true to Black Friday’s shopping experience, North 40 Outfitters opened its door. Eschewing the regular practice of open as early as 3 AM, North 40 Outfitters opened at the reasonable 7 o’clock hour. They offered patrons donuts as well as coffee obtained from a local roaster.

North 40 Outfitters aims to be different. They achieve differentiation by being data driven. While the products they sell cannot be sourced exclusively from local sources, their experience aims to do exactly that.

The Problem

Prior to operating under the name North 40 Outfitters, the company ran under the banner of “Big R”, which was shared with several other members of the same buying group. The decision to change the name to North 40 Outfitters was the result of a move into the digital realm— they needed a name to distinguish themselves. Now as North 40 Outfitters, they can focus on what matters rather than having to deal with the confusion of a shared name. They would now provide the “local store” experience, while investing in their digital strategy as a means to do business online and bring the unique North 40 Outfitters experience and value nationwide.

With those organizational changes taking place, lay an even greater challenge. With over 150,000 SKUs and no digital database for their product information, North 40 Outfitters had to find a solution and build everything from the ground up. Moreover, with customers demanding a means to buy products online, especially customers living in rural areas, it became clear that North 40 Outfitters would have to address its data concerns.

Along with the fresh rebrand and restructure, North 40 Outfitters needed to tame their product information situation, a critical step conducive to building their digital product database and launching their ecommerce store.

The Solution

North 40 Outfitters was clear about the outcome of the recent rebranding and they knew that investments needed to be taken if they were to add value to their existing business. Building the capabilities to take their business to new channels, ecommerce in this case, meant finding the best solution to start on the right foot. Consequently, wishing to become master of their own data, for both online and in-store uses, North 40 Outfitters determined that they needed a PIM application that would act as a unique data information repository.

It’s important to note that North 40 Outfitters environment is not typical to that of traditional retailers. The difference can be found in the large variation of product type they sell. Some of their suppliers have local, boutique style production scales, while some are large multi-national distributors. Furthermore, a large portion of North 40 Outfitters customers live in rural regions, in some cases their stores are a day’s drive away. With the ability to leverage both a PIM and an ecommerce solution North 40 Outfitters is now a step closer to outfitting everyone in the Northwestern region.

Results

It is still very early to talk about results, since North 40 Outfitters has only recently entered the implementation phase. What can be said is that they are very excited. Having reclaimed their territory, and equipped with a PIM solution and an ecommerce solution they have all the right tools to till and plow the playing field.

The meaning of North 40 Outfitters

To the uninitiated the name North 40 Outfitters might not mean much. However, there is a lot of local heritage and history standing behind this newly rebranded name. North 40 is derived from the Homestead Act of 1862. The Act refers to the “North forty”, to the Northern most block of the homesteader’s property. To this day, this still holds significance to the local community. The second half of the brand: “Outfitters” is about the company’s focus on the company ability to outfit its customers both for work and play. On the one hand, you can visit North 40 Outfitters to purchase goods aimed at running your ranch, such as fencing material, horse related goods or quality tools. At the same time, you can buy camping and backpacking goods—they even sell ice fishing huts.

North 40 Outfitters ensures their customers have what they need to work the land, get back from it and ultimately go out and play just as hard if not harder.

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Cloud Computing, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proximity Marketing: The New Way to Attract Busy Shoppers

Proximity MarketingImagine walking through a mall during your weekend shopping binge.

Your arms are full of shopping bags, and you believe you’ve had your fill of purchases for the day. You even have the discipline to walk past the obligatory little bakery stand that haunts every mall with its alluring aroma.

Suddenly you feel a vibration in your pocket and set your bags down to grab it. It’s your mobile phone, and it has a special message for you.

“Julie’s Bakery Special! Buy one cinnamon bun, get one free!”

If the irresistible aroma didn’t lure you toward the baked goods, this amazing deal will.

That is the power of proximity marketing.

Proximity marketing uses Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology to send commercial messages to nearby shoppers who may be carrying mobile devices. It’s a safe bet that most of those shoppers will own a mobile phone. According to Pew Research, 90% of adults in America have cell phones (58% of which are smartphones).

This method of reaching customers is known as beacon technology.

A device is attached within the shop, store, stand, etc., and sends signals to people as they pass. One of the creative ways I’ve heard this used was by display manufacturer Universal Display in their London locations. They placed beacons on their mannequins. When customers went within proximity to them, they were given information on the mannequin’s fashionable attire via their own mobile devices.

Why does proximity marketing work?

  • Customers prefer to be informed shoppers. They want to know where the deals are. They’re already out-and-about, so it’s helpful and engaging to be updated to their surroundings.
  • The receiver is more likely to engage with the advertisement they receive. It’s simple to see why, if you imagine this scenario:

What if a shopper is bored waiting in a long line when he or she receives the message? There’s a good chance he or she is idly using a mobile phone for entertainment while waiting in line. This is the perfect time to provide a timely, relevant message that will get a lot of attention.

SMS mobile messaging is a powerful customer communication tool for the same reasons companies now believe in proximity marketing.

The quickest and most efficient way to reach customers is through their phones. Proximity advertising spending will reach $6 billion by 2015, reports MarketingProfs. The time for your business to go mobile is now. Read more about SMS mobile marketing from StrikeIron, an Informatica Company, here.

Photo credit: Nan Palmero

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CEP: Proactive Monitoring, Proactive Compliance and Customer Engagement

In the second of two videos, Scott Fingerhut, senior director of product marketing for CEP at Informatica, talks about how Complex Event Processing (CEP) can be applied: proactive monitoring, proactive compliance and customer engagement.

 

 

Learn more about CEP in Scott’s first video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUmveP07Ea8.

 

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What is CEP?

In the first of two videos, Scott Fingerhut, senior director of product marketing for CEP at Informatica, simplifies CEP: Complex Event Processing. In this video, he highlights the importance of being proactive. He also talks about how CEP can be applied: proactive monitoring, proactive compliance and customer engagement.

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