Is your website as classy as your brand?
For Williams-Sonoma, Inc., the goal is to match great looking Web pages with top-shelf analytics to keep track of customers.
“Data science is brand building here,” said Mohan Namboodiri, VP of Customer Analytics for the San Francisco-based retailer. “We have a heritage of scouring the world for fantastic products,” he told the audience at the Teradata 2013 Partners conference earlier this month in Dallas. “We bring that same sensibility to doing our data analytics.”
While Williams-Sonoma began with a traditional brick-and-mortar store and a mail-order catalogs, the company has “come of age online,” he said.
Namboodiri explained that there are several routines and techniques the company uses to track customers. Here are some of the highlights:
Segment users by persona
- Williams-Sonoma groups site visitors into various usage clusters and behaviors. These groups can help Namboodiri’s team understand what different online shoppers are trying to do and how they’re using the site. This both helps inform site navigation and improve conversion rates.
- Each browsing session is tracked with a unique cookie to determine what customers are doing. Data is used to provide feedback to personas; allowing the company to group customers and test the performance of the personae.
Guide customers based on their actions
- Various triggers have been programmed to respond to particular customer actions. For example, if a visitor searches for an item that’s put on sale in its stores, he would be guided to the best way to buy. “It could be borderline creepy, but it is a sale and so saving customers money trumps that,” he said.
Apply online data to retail forecasts
- The more online visitors buy a particular items, the more the company stocks them at retail outlets. This information impacts Williams-Sonoma’s supply chain and even inventory decisions of stores in particular neighborhoods. Namboodiri’s team analyzes these purchases over time to help improve each store’s inventory moving forward. Given the number of different furniture styles, colors, and options, you can imagine this can be quite critical to having the right goods in the right stores.
Like any great Web storefront, Williams-Sonoma recognizes that design and analytics will always be a work in progress. That’s why Namboodiri and his team constantly experimenting with other ideas to keep things fresh. At the Teradata conference, there were no shortage of great ideas. By developing a website that elegantly weaves together design and analytics, good things happen for both company and customer.