Innovative Retail Technologies

NOV-DEC 2016

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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Office Depot subsidiary Viking reduced its customers' time on site while doubling click-through rates and driving conversion beyond 50 percent. A t first glance, Jonathan Newman's title — international CIO and VP of e- commerce and marketing operations — indicates the guy has a lot on his plate. With a little investigation into the mar- riage of technology and marketing in modern retail, however, his title makes perfect sense. Newman serves this seemingly dual capacity at Office Depot, the office supplies and furniture mega-merchant that boasts some 1,800 retail stores, serves consumers and businesses in 57 countries, has a number of e-commerce sites, and has B2B offshoots that generate more than $14 billion in an- nual revenue. Newman had been serving Office Depot Europe for nearly two years as VP of e-com- merce and marketing operations when the company's then-CIO departed a little over a year ago. To find the CIO's replacement, execu- tives at Office Depot thought it instructive to analyze the demand drivers for IT services at the company. E-commerce and marketing were the far-and-away frontrunners. "Given that the bulk of the company's demand for IT resources was coming from my area, I was tapped on the shoulder to assume the CIO role," says Newman. It didn't hurt that his re- Personalization Drives Clicks, Conversion At Office Depot We've consistently asked our team to demonstrate a 15x return on our investment, and we've continued to meet or exceed that goal. Jonathan Newman, international CIO and VP of e-commerce and marketing operations, Office Depot sume boasts executive e-commerce and retail tech leadership dating back to the early 1990s. Evolving A 25-Year-Old Catalog Business One of Newman's top priorities at Office Depot is managing the evolution of Viking, a traditionally catalog-based B2B/B2C supplier of office supplies and furniture to European markets. In the print realm, Newman says Viking's direct marketing pedigree is marked by a two-part success strategy: data driven optimization that enables explicit targeting of its catalogs to specific buyer personas and buyer-specific personalization of those catalogs. "Data optimization allows us to target individual customers with deals that are relevant to their purchase patterns," says New- man. "It also empowers us to continuously test and learn about catalog performance, which further optimizes the targeted catalog effort." Personalization — which he says can look as simple as printing a customer's name in a catalog and offering promotions for relevant products on the anniversary of that customer's first purchase — drives a consistent 20 percent increase in response rate in the catalog world, according to Newman. As more of Viking's B2B/B2C commerce BY MATT PILLAR Nov-Dec 2016 24 Proven Innovations moved online, however, Newman found the company's digital personalization capabilities lacking. In late 2013, the company engaged digital personalization solutions provider Monetate to help change that. A 90-day pilot run in the U.K. began during the first quarter of 2014, and Newman says the return on investment realized during the pilot was a multiple of the costs incurred. "We were skeptical that we would meet our fairly aggressive objectives, but the campaign setup support we received from Monetate brought to bear the benefits of the personalization toolset, our technical and marketing ramp- up was quick, and we actually exceeded the criteria we set," says Newman. The company has now successfully completed a full-scale deployment of Monetate's cloud-hosted

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