By Marrying Disparate Databases, Sears Canada Becomes More Cust
The Sears catalog disappeared from the U.S. catalog market nearly a decade ago, but its Canadian counterpart, Sears Canada, dominates the Canadian catalog market.
As a multi-channel retailer, Sears Canada has a network of 118 retail stores, 37 furniture and appliance stores, 131 dealer stores, 15 outlet stores, 38 floor-covering centers, 66 auto centers, 108 travel offices in addition to its Web site: www.sears.ca. It is the only Canadian general merchandiser with a circulation of 4.5 million households and 2,110 catalog pick-up locations that support its substantial catalog business.
A limited view
In 1988, Sears Canada did a full evaluation of its catalog business, and taskforce was assigned to marry its disparate databases into one corporate customer database. Credit data from the Sears credit card as well as databases maintained by numerous call centers were brought in and consolidated.
The company could now view its customers' names and addresses, but its purchasing information remained scattered across the organization in numerous disparate databases. Maintained on an inefficient legacy system, data were difficult to retrieve and users were unable to determine the status of a customer's order or date of delivery. Unable to determine the value of a customer, it was mailing its 12-month buyer file only. As a result, its catalog customer file was stagnant and in decline, explains Bruce Clarkson, Sears Canada's general manager of relationship marketing.
In 1994, Sears Canada once again created a taskforce to create a single data repository from which it could create a single, complete view of a customer from any dimension. To achieve this goal, Sears Canada enlisted NuEdge Systems, a marketing automation solutions provider based in Milwaukee, WI, to develop a better understanding of customer behaviors including customer list selections for both retail and catalog.
Using NuEdge Systems' NuEdge Campaign Manager, Sears Canada started consolidating its credit and customer databases, and then integrated the Internet, including several RFM models, called Prophet by Sears Canada's internal team, recalls Mary Lou Kolodziej, director of consulting and education for NuEdge Systems.