Building the Data Warehouse

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A Retail Personalization System

Another example of the indirect use of data warehouse data in the operational environment occurs in the retail personalization system. In this system, a customer reads a catalog or other flyer issued by the retailer. The customer is inspired to make a purchase or to at least inquire about the catalog. A phone call to the retailer ensues.

The interchange is about five to eight minutes long. During this time the retail sales representative has a fair amount of processing to do—identify the customer, take down the specifics of the order, and so forth. The response time is critical; otherwise, the customer will lose interest.

While the customer is placing the order or making an inquiry, the retail sales representative finds out some other information relevant to the interchange, such as the following:

■■ The last time the customer made a purchase ■■ The last type of purchase made

■■ The market segment(s) in which the customer belongs

While engaging the customer in conversation, the sales representative says such things as these:

■■ “I see it’s been since February that we last heard from you.”

■■ “How was that blue sweater you purchased?”

■    “Did the problems you had with the pants get resolved?”

In short, the retail sales representative is able to personalize the conversation. The personalization makes the customer more amenable to purchases.

In addition, the retail sales clerk has market segment information available, such as the following:

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