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Woolworths looks to ‘gift’ of first party data

Making use of the ‘gift’ of first party data and using management platforms as the gateway to omnichannel activation underpins Woolworths in-house marketing teams’ objectives.

It’s also a sentiment shared by some of Australia’s largest corporations, with the likes of Qantas, Suncorp and Domain’s digital leads all sharing the stage at the Sydney Opera house during the recent Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium, to discuss how the respective businesses use audience data to drive value.

Chris Levings, head of 1:1 & programmatic at Woolworths, said his role with the supermarket retailer’s loyalty program of approximately 9.7 million rewards members sits in two parts – connecting buying and category teams with members on product level offers, and accelerating the “amazing data layer we have and connect that technology layer through media activation.”

Levings said Woolies saw an opportunity to enhance the customer experience through using technology by looking at the cross-channel, cross-device approach.

“To communicate with our customers and provide them with member value and offers where they’d like to consume them. “We’ve really focused on extending out the program – early days at the moment, but we are really seeing some good traction and momentum.”

With similar data assets to Woolworths large database, Sheerien Salindera, digital and merchandising lead at Qantas said the airline is “actually one of the largest online retailers” and was fortunate to have direct customer interaction.

“My team is focused on how are we using that first party data to respond to actionable intent,” she said.

Levings said Woolies’ approach is to view customer data as a “precious gift”.

“We’ve done a lot of focus groups in terms of our customers have been frustrated by un-targeted offers and un-personalised media. And we’ve really taken that to heart and focused through our partnerships on creating the most personalised and relevant experience for our customers.”

Levings noted the retailer had been able to improve results in more traditional types of media including email and direct mail – but that the next stage would involve extending its marketing reach outside of owned and operated channels, into the broader media space.

“So really using the data, and that data as a gift then personalising based on that data to create more personalised customised and relevant user experience.”

Speaking on legal challenges and customer privacy, Levings said that first and foremost, privacy of the customer is paramount. “The ability of technology is more and above what you should do and the customer being central to all of the decisions you make is my number one tip.”

Levings and Salindera both asserted major priorities for the separate companies was to invest in mobile and app , “so that it can be an asset that we draw on in the cross-device piece” and moving towards the “holy grail of a single view of the customer.”

This story first appeared n sister site, Inside Retail Australia.

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