REVIEWER: Corey Bergstrom, Cabela’s director of market research and analysis.
BACKGROUND: Cabela’s Incorporated, headquartered in Sidney, Nebraska, is a leading specialty retailer and the world’s largest direct marketer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise. Since the company’s founding in 1961, Cabela’s has grown to become one of the most well-known outdoor recreation brands in the world, and has long been recognized as the World’s Foremost Outfitter.
PLATFORMS: We use Teradata 5500H.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Growing by double digits annually, Cabela’s needed to enable the company to continue its success in multiple channels including direct marketing, e-commerce and retail stores. The company had outgrown the systems that previously supported those various lines of business and now needed a single system that offered powerful analytics applied to a unified data warehouse. The vision was a single view of customers across multiple sales channels to better focus our marketing efforts and drive sales. Cabela’s growth in the multichannel arena provided several key opportunities to leverage data to make more informed decisions outside of the traditional direct marketing function. These opportunities brought several challenges in terms of an integrated view of the customer, product and inventory. The current systems did not have the capacity needed to support the entire enterprise. An integrated data warehouse and analytical toolset was required to capture and evaluate data so that insights could be leveraged to solve business problems.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We used SAS Analytics to create predictive models that optimized our customer selection for marketing outreach. SAS allows us to maximize our marketing dollars in our sales channels and to unify our view of the business while individualizing our customer strategy. And with Teradata as part of our unified solution, SAS analytics are in-database, allowing them to execute much faster. Cabela’s leveraged an integrated approach with Teradata as the data warehouse platform and SAS as the advanced analytical tool used to generate insights from the data. This integrated approach leveraged data from many sources to solve business issues. An example is the optimizing marketing spend to drive revenue and profits by understanding return on each marketing effort. SAS was also leveraged to support other areas of the company to use data as a corporate asset. These areas include retail site selection, store sizing, inventory and merchandising.
STRENGTHS: A big advantage of the SAS-Teradata integration is the ability to get to data in a more efficient manner and focus resources on solving problems rather than moving data. Before we deployed this solution, our data was in several silos, which created some disparities, and also required us to spend considerable time building the data warehouse instead of being more productive and working with the data. It used to be that our statisticians spent as much as 75 percent of their time just trying to manage data. Now they have more time for analysis with SAS. The company benefits by increased flexibility and agility in our highly competitive marketplace. We now ask and answer business strategy questions such as retail expansion that we would have never considered before the SAS-Teradata deployment. We provide information about Cabela’s store locations and how to improve retail performance. We never had to justify our SAS investment to upper management, because every time we apply SAS to a problem, it gives us a clear and significant return.
WEAKNESSES: The main weakness of the integration is the knowledge needed to make the system work optimally until the statistician group learned skill sets more commonly reserved for DBAs. They needed to understand how their queries impacted the Teradata system to ensure they did not bring the system down through a poorly written query or file the database by skewing an amp.
SELECTION CRITERIA: This integration was selected due to our long-term utilization of SAS and our desire to create an enterprise data warehouse that could be leveraged by SAS and other packages.
DELIVERABLES: This approach has allowed us to leverage one of our biggest assets, data, to make more informed decisions on the issues that face Cabela’s. For example, we can optimize personalized catalog offerings for Cabela’s customers, analyze locations for new retail stores;, estimate first-year store sales, optimally schedule sales promotions, and choose up-sell offers. All of these programs drive increased sales and provide a solid basis for decision-making. Response rates are up 60 percent on our direct mail programs, and up-sell has increased 300 percent.
VENDOR SUPPORT: SAS and Teradata both provide good support overall for their products.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was complete and thorough. It fully met our needs.
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