The owner of a large supermarket chain approached CGI with how difficult it is to retain customers and attract new ones, especially in their large urban and suburban stores. He felt they were losing sight of their loyal customers and what makes them stay or go. Back when they were a small, local grocer, they knew their customers personally—their likes, dislikes and family members.

CGI is now helping this company use big data to regain this knowledge. For example, we use loyalty card data to identify shifts in shopping behavior. Insights are shared through customer-facing channels to prompt cashiers to invite customers into a dialog with a store service representative, assign a call center agent to contact a customer, or adjust mailings accordingly. These are examples of using omni-channel management to create a better customer experience.

The retailer is also working with CGI to develop more intelligent ways to identify loyal customers and keep track of them after their initial registration. This includes identifying when loyalty cards are used by unidentified customers, which results in stores losing track of their base and missing opportunities to identify potential new loyal customers.

For example, when purchase patterns typical of an elderly woman suddenly changed to beer, chips and video games, it turned out she had given her card to her grandson. The company was able to detect this change and responded by inviting him to receive his own loyalty card. Based on his preferences, they also activated their store app on his mobile phone. The app allows customers to communicate with stores, share shopping experiences and menus with other users, and arrange to meet up for coffee while in the store. The company is taking the app even further by organizing user shopping lists to match the floor plans of their stores, and notifying users of discounts and products they might like, based on past behavior.

It all starts with the customers opting in.

Conversations with customers begin by explaining the potential benefits of opting in and how the shared information is used. Since this is a sensitive topic, the company has established a data-ethics committee that evaluates all of their big data initiatives, so they don’t cross the line of being “big brother”. None of the information is shared with third parties, as their policy is based on being a trusted advisor.

Basically, this very-large enterprise is applying the three key principles they have had since they started their first store so many years ago:

  • Know your customer.
  • Engage in a conversation with customers.
  • Work as a trusted advisor, always safeguarding the information customers share.

By using today’s big data technologies, they can apply these principles on a much larger scale to continually improve customer satisfaction and grow sales. In essence, they are bringing back their ability to connect with their customers in a digital world, and on their customers’ terms.

CGI is proud to be of service to this company based on our customer intelligence services and in depth experience in customer analytics.

About this author

Picture of Henk van Roekel

Henk van Roekel

Cross-industry practice co-leader, CGI big data analytics

Henk has more than 20 years of experience in big data, business intelligence and information management, working with global clients in key industries. Henk is a Business Intelligence Professional certified by The Data Warehouse Institute (TDWI).

Add new comment

Comment editor

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Blog moderation guidelines and term of use