CATEGORY: Web Analytics & Web Services

REVIEWER: Stephanie Garcia, director of e-commerce merchandising for Restoration Hardware, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Restoration Hardware, Inc. is a specialty retailer of home furnishings, functional and decorative hardware and related merchandise that reflects the company's classic and authentic American point of view. The company prides itself on offering products of lasting value and classic design, all imbued in a brand that speaks to superb taste and a free-spirited individuality. Restoration Hardware has more than 100 retail stores nationwide and also sells through catalog and online.

PLATFORMS: Coremetrics is an ASP.

PROBLEM SOLVED: We relaunched our Web site in 2002. At the time, we only had company-wide analytics that were not specific to the online channel. We couldn't tie sales to our online merchandising presentation and did not have the ability to track internal and external online marketing campaigns. In order to develop a 2003 online marketing strategy, we needed to test the value of smaller initial marketing campaigns by correlating marketing spend with specific revenues and product purchases. We were seeking approval for a larger marketing campaign across a variety of mediums, but recognized we first had to justify spending with reliable data from the online channel. Coremetrics addressed our needs by providing a platform for collecting and storing comprehensive data about all visitor and customer site behavior, including transactions, source of acquisition, retention marketing responsiveness and lifetime clickstream activity. Reporting from Coremetrics Marketforce for Retail allowed us to prove the value of an initial marketing test by correlating marketing spend with specific revenues and product purchases. Armed with this data, we were empowered to seek approval for a larger marketing campaign across a variety of mediums.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Marketforce for Retail is an outsourced marketing analytics platform designed to provide a powerful set of tools with which to decrease customer acquisition costs, boost retention marketing results, improve merchandising decisions and optimize Web site design. The company's LIVE (Lifetime Individual Visitor Experience) Profiles keep a complete record of individual customer activity and help us to clearly identify the effectiveness of marketing programs.

STRENGTHS: The design of the product reflects a deep understanding of a direct marketing retailer's point of view. The reports are designed to give users easy access to key marketing and merchandising information, and the depth of data available on marketing and merchandising does not exist in competing solutions that we evaluated. With detailed data on product-by-product sales across different categories, placements, promotions and price points, we can make better data-driven merchandising decisions.

WEAKNESSES: The clickstream reporting is not quite as easy to use as all the other reports, which are highly intuitive and aligned with our business objectives.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Coremetrics clearly understands the merchant point of view, and Marketforce for Retail has a terrific interface that is both user friendly and easy to understand. Other solutions offered general "site analytics" information that could provide rudimentary information applicable to any type of Web site, but Marketforce for Retail came out on top because its reports were designed to deliver the information in the form most useful to retailers.

DELIVERABLES: The Marketing Management Center is a module within Marketforce for Retail that automatically tracks and measures all of our keywords, banners, affiliates and e-mails. In a single, easily sortable interface, we can compare all of our online marketing initiatives and determine which campaigns are working and the profitability of each one. The Marketing Management Center has become our main point for monitoring all online marketing efforts. We also access a customized merchandising report, designed to provide business performance information. We crafted a unique report which pulls together all of the most critical data by department, sub-department and category into a single view that allows us to look at product sales and drill down from the highest levels of the business to the lowest details. Marketforce for Retail also delivers reports that measure the effectiveness of our home page and key pages within the site. On a link-by-link basis, we can measure revenue generated, individual product sales and conversion rates.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The support has been excellent through the implementation process and training as well as ongoing support. We have weekly calls with our Coremetrics account executive to brainstorm new ways to view the business and slice the data.

DOCUMENTATION: Manuals were provided during the training session, but we could easily have used the product without documentation.

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