BACKGROUND: Based just north of Brussels, Belgium, C&A is Europe's number one fashion retailer. Founded in 1841, the company now operates 579 stores throughout 12 European countries.

PLATFORMS: C&A runs Decisionhouse on Compaq, Windows NT and PCs.

PROBLEM SOLVED: C&A conducts two major direct mail campaigns annually. We needed to find a customer behavior management solution that would help produce an increased return from our mailing activity through more profitable targeting of those customers who have exhibited a greater than average response to mailings. Previously, C&A outsourced their database marketing activity. As the organization's experience in collecting and using the data has grown and as the profitability of the activity has been demonstrated, it became worthwhile for C&A to bring the activity in house in the most efficient and productive manner possible. By bringing the design and execution of the campaign in house using Decisionhouse and Quadstone's consultancy, the mailing response has more than doubled and the profitability has been increased more than 20 times.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Decisionhouse transforms data into easily understood 3-D graphical representations, enabling us to recognize behavior patterns in models of customer data. The tools identify high- and low- response customer groupings and rank customers according to a target objective (i.e., response rate or predicted value) with their propensity to respond to future promotions. Through the OLAP functionality, Decisionhouse provides the mechanism to report success rates and the opportunity to identify and understand the detailed behavior patterns that lie behind the actual responses. The product enables C&A to improve our customer segmentation and targeting and to profitably optimize the communication mechanisms we use. As we expand our use of customer-focused analysis throughout the company, we intend to use Decisionhouse HouseVision to obtain business input from country-specific management to achieve improved learning from our activities across the whole of our European operations.

STRENGTHS: Decisionhouse facilitates the understanding of all available customer data at every stage of the analysis and CRM process. The advanced interactive visualization is a unique mechanism for extracting valuable business insight from data, giving our business analysts control, instant feedback and a better understanding of the subtleties and detail that comprise the database. An easy-to-use interface puts the analysis functionality directly in the hands of the business user. Decisionhouse allows us to look forward through the corporate windshield and steer our marketing in the best direction, as well as look backward to see where we have been.

WEAKNESSES: There was no built-in methodological assistance for carrying out typical analyses such as mailing response and campaign creation.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected Decisionhouse because it is designed specifically for forward-looking analysis. The product's capability and speed to interactively analyze whole customer bases is a major advantage compared to others in the marketplace.

DELIVERABLES: Decisionhouse offers multidimensional visualizations of customer behavior, cross-tabulated reports, decision tree segmentations and response models, and mailing and control cell lists.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Quadstone's support during pre- and post-implementation is excellent. The best part of working with the vendor is the positive and unequivocal advice they offer.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is very thorough and comprehensive. Decisionhouse is simple to use, and the learning potential it offers is significant.

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