Canada: Loblaws leads in data analytics

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By: RickFerguson |

Posted on March 16, 2016

Over at Canada's Marketing Magazine, Russ Martin outlines how Canadian supermarket chain Loblaw's PC Plus loyalty programme practices state-of-the-art data analytics to deliver targeted, relevant offers to their best customers. According to Loblaw senior director of loyalty and customer analytics Peter Danforth, the company now has the ability to market to its customers on a one-to-one basis.

Speaking at the Canadian Marketing Association�s recent CMAinsights conference, Danforth delivered a number of interesting insights of use to any company embarking on a data-driven marketing strategy. Among the insights Martin reports:

  • No two customers are the same. Early in programme development, Loblaw tried to segment customers for offer simplicity, but soon found that "variances in shopping patterns were too vast to deliver meaningful offers on anything other than a one-to-one basis." The result: No two Loblaws customers receive the same offers - meaning the long-heralded future of one-to-one marketing has finally arrived.
  • Don't put the message before the technology. According to Danforth, many companies get so excited about pushing their message that they rush the technology implementation. "With PC Plus, Danforth said Loblaw tested, adapted and, perhaps most importantly, invested in getting the offer algorithms right before taking the programme to market."
  • Collaboration between marketing and analytics is crucial. Danforth revealed that some Loblaws marketing executives faced a steep learning curve in understanding how data analytics could help drive their business, and resisted collaboration. Money quote from Martin's article:

    "For marketers especially, [Danforth] said it�s crucial to collaborate with data scientists and understand the work they do. 'If you don�t have a direct line to the data scientists who are doing your personalisation for you, they are running your marketing programme � you just don�t know it,' [Danforth] said."

The Bullet Point: Data analytics are now sophisticated enough that leveraging insight on your best customers has now become table stakes for top-tier retailers around the globe. What Loblaw's is doing is par for the course for major chains in other markets: Sainsbury's in the U.K., Kroger in the U.S., and many other retailers aside. What Danforth demonstrates is commitment, and a belief that delivering targeted, relevant offers to Loblaw's best customers will benefit both the retailer and its customers. That's a commitment that should pay dividends for Loblaws, its customers, and its stakeholders.

Read Martin's article here.

- Rick Ferguson

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