So Your Retailer Is Flirting with Your Customer, What Are You Going to Do About It?

Every brand thinks that they know their customer better than anyone else. However, reading about Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods it got me thinking…who really knows the customer better, the brand or the retailer?

The Great Big Wall of Data?

Forget the walled gardens of Facebook and Google for the moment and turn your attention to the incredible information asymmetry between a brand and their retailer. To set the scene let’s use an example

Imagine it’s late in the afternoon and you stop by Woolworths on your way home from work. Your ego depleted from an exhausting day of back to back meetings your usual steely resolve slips and you pick up a Mars bar on the way over to the checkout. At the checkout (well self-serve, who really still uses checkouts these days?) you swipe your Woolworths Rewards card and make a payment (perhaps using Apple Pay and subtly checking to see if anyone noticed how cool you are) and leave with a mouthful of sweet sweet chocolate.

Now, at this moment, perhaps you are already feeling slightly guilty? Or if you are like me, you have already finished the Mars bar and are wondering if perhaps you should have bought a second. Either way, there is one thought that is likely about as far from your mind as humanely possible. Where does that information that I just bought a Mars bar (tracked through my Woolworths Rewards card) actually go?

Let Me Introduce You to Quantium.

The answer is simple. Quantium. From the case study on their website you can read the following about their work with Woolworths.

“Woolworths commissioned Quantium to build a personalisation engine to tailor communications to each loyalty club member”
“The personalisation engine needed to process approximately 5 million predictions each second to determine which offers to send to each member (equivalent to asking each member 70 million questions each week)”

Wow. According to the case study Woolworths was able to pay back the investment in this personalisation engine in just 3 months.

The power of this prediction engine is nothing short of incredible and an absolute testament to the power of data when processed skilfully.

Now do you think that Woolworths allowed Quantium to provide a similar service to Mars to help them provide a more personalised experience for their customers? The answer – not a chance in hell.

Wait, So Woolworths Has a Better Idea of Who is Buying Mars Bars than Mars Themselves?

Yes. Not only does Woolworths have a better idea of who is buying Mars bars inside their stores, they also have a better idea of how many they bought, what else they are going to buy and when they are going to buy next. This raises the question, while Woolworths have a personalised prediction engine processing approximately 5 million predictors every single second, what is Mars doing?


Written by Mike McGarry