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Big retail companies worldwide often face the challenge of distributed data across their multiple business units. Although Central Group, a Thai multibillion-dollar conglomerate, had personalisation solutions and customer engagement tools, they saw an opportunity to build a unified resolved user identity, requiring a CDP.
Thus, the company’s Central Retail Digital team identified the opportunity to unify all their data offline and online across their business units, such as Central Department Store and Supersports, to build centralised customer engagements in-store and online. To achieve that, they needed the right infrastructure to consolidate customer data.
“To have a data privacy compliant tool where we could store all the customer data, enrich it, transform it, and share it with the different destinations where we could use it for actionable use cases, we needed a CDP,” said Devam.
They identified the need for a CDP to capture, integrate, combine, and manage all the data from Central Group’s retail stores’ online and offline channels. Additionally, they needed a CDP capable of transforming data into intelligent insights that teams within the company could understand and utilise.
Using Twilio Segment's unified database, Central Retail Digital leveraged unique CRM automations. They underwent a re-platforming process to revamp customer touchpoints across Central Group's affiliated companies, encompassing websites and apps. This would enable them to create personalised, omnichannel customer experiences and help nurture and re-engage Central Group’s customers.
“Segment’s event streaming capability stands out for its ease of use and seamless integration with PubSub. Leveraging this powerful feature, we constructed a state-of-the-art Variational Autoencoder Collaborative Filtering model. Utilising the reliable and clean clickstream data provided by Segment, we can ensure near real-time 1:1 prediction. This integration empowers us to leverage advanced AI techniques to build a highly accurate and personalised recommendation system,” said Gustavo Bramao, Group Advanced Analytics Director at Central Retail Digital.
Saving thousands with in-house Customer Data Platform implementation
Having years of experience in customer data and engagement, the Central Retail Digital leadership could state the value of having a CDP to Central Group. They explained that making intelligent data readily available to the marketing team rather than having it go through the tech team for consolidation, which can take weeks, is a key benefit of having a CDP. The discussion then didn’t linger on “why” it was needed but rather on “how” it would be implemented.
To implement the CDP, Central Group had two options. The first was to hire a system integrator (SI) – a one-stop-shop solutions provider capable of implementing multiple solutions within a single stack. The second option was to implement in-house and build the internal skill sets and capabilities to use and maintain the solution. According to the team, the first option would save time for the company, as implementation would be easy, and they no longer need to worry about training the in-house team and own the solution.
However, having an SI partner would mean Central Group would have a lock-in period with the provider. They could not let go of their partner even after the implementation. Hiring an SI is also more expensive than having their internal team build their stack in-house.
For these reasons, Central Group opted for the second option of handing over the reins to their internal team to implement them from scratch. In doing so, the company is also developing team members' skill sets working on the project.
“The proactive support from the Segment’s onboarding & professional services team made the implementation feel effortless. Although we defined the implementation roadmap internally, having the team available when needed boosted our confidence,” said Devam.
The decision to use internal resources rather than outsource implementation and management of their CRM systems resulted in Central Group saving thousands of dollars, which system integrators normally charge for their services.
Boosting revenue by 10x with dynamic Recency, Frequency, and Monetary implementation
For Central Group’s department store arm, it’s not unusual for some customers to take a break from shopping or discontinue purchasing from their stores. Central Retail Digital, however, aimed to re-engage and bring back these customers using a dynamic RFM (recency, frequency, and monetary) analysis to segment and send them targeted communications.
An RFM analysis allows companies to understand and categorise their customers based on recency, frequency, and monetary value. It helps them identify different segments of customers and tailor their marketing strategies.
Using Segment, the Central Group quickly identified and segmented customers who were either churned out or were in a relaxing phase. They then implemented reactivation campaigns to their normal automation journeys that record very low yield.
As a result of the RFM implementation, Central Group saw a 10x increase in revenue from campaigns that generally do not provide high revenue.
“If you know how RFM works in companies, they do segmentation once every month or update it once every 3 or 6 months. Then based on that, they send communications – mostly traditional marketing going around RFM, which doesn't work on dynamic models. We wanted to make our implementation more dynamic and have more data. We could not have done that without Segment’s capability to connect with our warehouse and dynamically run queries,” said Devam.
The team is also working on making their RFM implementation more personalised, in which each user’s segment will be based on their customer journey with Central Group’s stores.
Working towards 80 use cases with Segment for enhanced Customer Experience
Central Group uses different point solutions for their engagement platform and feedback system. The challenge for the company, however, is to get these two tools to work together and communicate data with each other.
For instance, if a customer writes a negative review about a product, the feedback is captured by their customer experience system. However, they could not send the data directly to their customer engagement platform to trigger the next steps, such as having the team contact the customer.
The reason? There was no direct connection between the tools.
This is an area where the expertise of the Central Retail Digital team and the company’s CDP powered by Segment play a crucial role.
On the CDP, the CRM team wrote a destination function that allowed negative feedback from the customer experience tool to be sent directly to Central Group’s customer support team. They could then send the customer a message or a voucher code within a day of receiving the review.
Devam added: “Now, we have all this data flowing into our systems. We have built some bad buy experience journeys alongside the CDP.”
Additionally, the customer support team currently only has access to customers’ history of orders, which is a limited view for team members trying to resolve customer issues. Using Segment’s Profile API, Central Retail Digital is building an intelligent customer support infrastructure to give them more context, including previous orders, NPS score, and total revenue, when contacting customers through calls or online messaging.
“This was an untouched area, and we couldn't find a solution other than creating a highly technical solution. But now, it is something we can build on our own. Because of Segment, it’s easier for all these use cases to go live,” noted Devam.
With Central Retail Digital’s expertise in maximising their CDP, Central Group is working to have 80 different use cases where Segment touches the customer journey, which includes personalisation, customer engagement, customer feedback, and customer support. At present, the company has more than 20 use cases utilising Segment.
Unifying online and offline data with “The 1” loyalty program
Retailers often face a big challenge: providing consistent, personalised experiences for online and in-store customers. This is mainly because getting customer information in-store is not as easy as collecting customer data online.
Therefore, Central Group launched a loyalty program called The 1 to capture data from their offline customers. The way it works is that The 1 members only need to scan a QR code when making an in-store purchase to get points, and Central Group captures all their relevant info (i.e., customer details, items purchased, order value, etc.). Approximately 80% of Central Group’s in-store purchases are linked to The 1 loyalty card.
With Segment as their infrastructure, the Central Retail Digital team is working with The 1 team to consolidate online data from online purchases and offline store information. This move will enable Central Group to provide personalised omnichannel experiences.
“As we enter the next phase of our digital transformation journey, Segment's ability to put the customer at the heart of our business by unifying customer data across previously disparate sources will empower us to deliver richer, unique & hyper-personalised retail experiences across all customer touchpoints,” said Arak Bhokanandh, Group Marketing Director at Central Retail Digital.
Central Group can now:
Consolidate all the data from Central Group’s different stores and brands in their CDP powered by Twilio Segment
Utilise intelligent insights coming from Segment to design automations and create personalised campaigns
Communicate data to various tools and teams quickly (i.e., sending time-sensitive feedback to the customer support team)
Provide consistent online and offline customer experiences using online customer data and in-store purchases
Onboard and implement different CRM tools from scratch, including helping other internal teams onboard Segment
Re-engage inactive customers by implementing reactivation campaigns, increasing revenue from low-yield customer journeys
Make customer support more attentive -- trying to build a more intelligent customer support system with data inputs
“Segment is a highly compatible and customisable solution that does what it does best – it provides us a place to store customer data. It unifies customer data and provides that data to the destinations where we need to take action. It makes our data actionable, and that is what we expect from a CDP.” – Devam Saxena, Vice President and Group Head of CRM at Central Group
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