Tag Archives: Single View of Customer

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

Matching for Management: Business Problems

So now that you understand the terminology and concepts let’s talk about business problems that can be addressed with this technology.

Inability to get to single view of customer because of matching issues

In the examples above, you can see where it can be a challenge getting the correct customer records into a single cluster. If you do not get all the same customer records together properly, you may not be treating particular customers appropriately. One example is not identifying your top customers because they are represented by multiple account numbers. Worse can be treating a very good customer poorly because you think they had only had one small transaction with you but in reality he just did not log in or use his frequent shopper card. This poor service could jeopardize the entire account. (more…)

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Posted in Data Quality | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Making Your Data Work for You

Yesterday, CIOs from Informatica, Qualcomm and UMASS Memorial Healthcare participated in a panel to discuss how to deliver business value from applications while managing “data deluge” – the ever increasing growth and fragmentation of data across the application portfolio. Having worked in the IT Applications area for 15 years, I know firsthand how big a challenge this can be for organizations.

We are experiencing an unprecedented growth in the sheer amount of data that can be made available. Sites like Facebook and Twitter provide exciting new insights into user preferences and habits and the move to electronic systems for utility companies and healthcare organizations means that an even larger set of information can be stored electronically for reference and used to gain new business insights. Even internal systems such as sales automation, marketing and support applications contribute to this overwhelming tide of data that can be extremely valuable but hard to unlock. (more…)

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Posted in Big Data, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Customers, Data Integration, Data Quality, Identity Resolution, Master Data Management | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why MDM and Data Quality is Such a Big Deal for Big Data

Big Data is the confluence of three major technology trends hitting the industry right now: Big Transaction Data (describing the enormous growing volumes of transactional data within the enterprise), Big Interaction Data (describing new types of data such as Social Media data that are impacting the enterprise), and Big Data Processing (describing new ways of processing data such as Hadoop). If you can imagine companies having problems with business-critical master data such as customers, products, accounts, and locations at current data volumes, now that problem is compounded many-fold with the growth into Big Data. That’s where MDM and Data Quality come in as the fundamental solutions. So, why is MDM and Data Quality such a big deal for Big Data? (more…)

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Posted in Big Data, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Data Aggregation, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, Identity Resolution, Informatica 9.1, Informatica Events, Master Data Management, Profiling, Scorecarding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harnessing Social Media With Informatica

Improving sales and service through customer centricity requires listening to and understanding your customers. And where are customers speaking these days?

You guessed it—social media. Just think about it. Each day, customers tweet 50 million times on Twitter and update their Facebook status 60 million times. Add in LinkedIn and user reviews and YouTube and blog commentary and more and you’ve got a customer data gold mine and a new frontier for marketing.

(more…)

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Posted in Cloud Computing, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Customers, Data Aggregation, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Integration Platform, Data Quality, Data Synchronization, Enterprise Data Management, Financial Services, Healthcare, Identity Resolution, Master Data Management, Pervasive Data Quality, Public Sector, Telecommunications, Vertical | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments