Whether the goal is decorating a baby's room or building a man cave, do-it-yourselfers are alive and well and buying lumber and other home improvement products from big box retailers across the globe.
In the US, DIY brings to mind chains like Home Depot, Lowe's, and Menards. In Europe, DIY is synonymous with Leroy Merlin, which operates close to 300 stores in about a dozen countries under a variety of retail identities. On both sides of the Atlantic, business analytics is a DIY trend, especially as retailers seek to understand customers better.
I recently spoke with Luca Bianchi, CIO of Leroy Merlin Italy, which operates 46 stores across the country. He shared his insight on the company's recent transition to in-depth marketing analytics from basic business intelligence reporting. It seems like he could be speaking from the perspective of any retailer, anywhere.
"Trade is the transition from the traditional way in a cross-channel, integrated way, and we need to create a relationship between us and each client," Bianchi said. "And the analysis can give us great help in making a difference."
In Italy, where the corner specialty shop remains a neighborhood fixture, understanding customers, optimizing marketing campaigns with customized offers, and enhancing customer loyalty is particularly important -- if not challenging.
"Having an analysis and marketing tool that helps us identify and know our strategic customers and build strong relationships with them focused on their DIY projects will be crucial to our future success," Bianchi said.
As CIO, he works with users in the implementation of tools that support his company's marketing strategy. For this project, Leroy Merlin Italy assembled a dedicated team of people with the necessary skills to ensure success. The team included Edoardo Rozzoni, CRM director; Anna Canazza, IT project manager; and Gianni Bientinesi, market research and studies manager.
The team will initially:
- Analyze in-store data collected as part of a proposed relational card (Carte Idea) for strategic customers
- Segment customers according to their needs and their life cycles
- Develop one-to-one personalized and relevant communications focused on each customer's needs.
The team could extend this effort to all of the brand's cross-channel customers in Italy.
"From a marketing point of view, for us it is very important to have one relationship between the sales point, the brand, and the customer -- and to be able to analyze the data we receive every day to create value for our customers," Rozzini says.
As the team works out the scope of its marketing analytics undertaking, one thing is certain: Leroy Martin wants to "know customers more deeply," Bianchi says. And that means collecting more data about them.
Today the retailer knows customer addresses, phone numbers, and information from a single invoice. Tomorrow it wants to link in information on more qualitative factors that go beyond the traditional customer database, like type of building and customer projects.
"We need more than traditional data," Bianchi says. "We need the possibility to have other indicators or elements that can give us the ability to analyze more and create different targets of customers." The goal is to create a "personal and deep relationship with our customers. We'd like to be top of mind when they want to buy something concerning housing in general."
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