Marie-Helene Cusson, Lowe’s Canada: Owning Business and Customer Intelligence to Drive Conversions
- Leverage all of this data to improve online and in-store customer experience
About Lowe’s Canada:
Based in Boucherville, Quebec, Lowe’s Canadian business, together with its wholly owned subsidiary RONA inc., operates or services over 450 corporate and independent affiliate dealer stores under different banners, which include Lowe’s, RONA, Reno-Depot, and Dick’s Lumber.
Marie-Helene Cusson’s LinkedIn profile
Wonderful, so let's actually get right down to the topic of the day again So you're owning business and consumer intelligence to drive conversions with that in mind, how are you structuring your team and a lining around common goals with that?
Yeah, so what I've learned in the past month is that if your priorities are not clear, it's not good and you cannot focus on the right thing. So basically, if you don't give clear priorities to your team they're going to hand up doing everything at the same time, nothing's going to be good, nothing is going to be like super well attached. So it creates more confusion, it creates less productivity and more frustration. So at the end you don't win with that. So I've also learned that even having too much information and too much data, is not good at all. Because people, when they have tons of data, they don't know where to look in and what's the insight. So you really need to find a balance, so you really need to know your priorities, and what you need to look into as a data. So a really clear message, clear priorities and not too much information are the keys.
Absolutely so. Where the next natural side question is: what are your key sources for this, for your organization and where is this flow coming from?
Yeah, so basically super simple. It's first party data and we have our second and third party data. But we normally use all this data to create a story. So basically you have to ensure that when you look into the data, first it answers an objective, then you have a story and then you have actionable insight that you can leverage and your team can work on. So all our campaigns right now that we produce are anchored into data. So if you listen carefully to all those various sources that you have from the first, second and third party data, it tells you where you win and it tells you where are your opportunities and biggest gaps, where you need to tackle more things on your side.
And do you have any sort of internal framework that you can share about how to triage and prioritize?
Yeah, so basically what we do is first we plan the year. So let's say we have our marketing calendars and this year we're going to have seven big stores and these stores are anchored in this data, and that's the reason why we're doing that. But after that, when the big overall planning is done, we dig into every store, we dig into our type of customer, we dig into the region. For example, we're in Quebec, Ontario, where we're nationwide and the shoppers don't shop the same way in all the provinces, there's ethnicity particularity in some regions, women also that needs to be targeted in a different way. Then there you have your pro customer, your DIY customer. Once you get all this data, you know all the people that are shopping, you know exactly how to communicate and what message needs to be in the market to drive that conversion.
Now, Marie-Helene, I know that your previous role was integrated marketing manager and one of your many responsibilities was the connection between the digital experience and the actual physical store. How are you applying these insights across? Because, especially during the pandemic, digital became the first touchpoint for a lot of consumers.
Well first, to me, physical stores or online stores are the same at the end. So the consumer might not shop the same way, they shop online versus they shop in store. But at the end, physically or virtually, if they go and visit your brand that means you have an opportunity to seize. That being said, though, there is a strong connection between the two differences: the online and in store experience. Let's say that if I'm a customer that goes online, I'm going to go on a website and most of the people are going to go on the website before going into stores. It's really important to have your website up-to-date and really running well, because he's going to look for product prices, availability, what store I can go to on my next shopping trip etc ... So let's say you're going into a store, but you have a project in mind, you want to ask questions to your associates, you want to see, you want to feel and touch the product. You're going online, you see your extended assortment online, there's that color. I didn't know if it existed. So everything is connected and you just need to make sure that in store and online stay connected. You can use QR code for shopping experience when you're in a store. Or you can drive your customer to talk to an associate in store if they have questions. So it's only a matter of understanding your big ecosystem and leveraging the strength of every channel.
During the pandemic how were you able to use these insights to address concerns around safety?
Yeah, so basically clear messages and communication to our customer was always the key. So we added a survey to understand if our customer felt safe in our store. Because it was our number one priority. So with this feedback we could scale and adjust some things. But at the end we were already doing the right thing. So it confirmed that our customers were feeling safe in our store. But honestly asking the customer is always the key, because that's the most valuable insight you're going to get. So we were sending emails to say that our stores were safe, we were having paid media campaigns. We had signage in store and on our website, so it's communication and honestly to take the pulse.
And was there any learnings that made you change your pivot, which you were doing?
Well, the fact is that we were actually really good, but we wanted to make their life easier. So we deployed new things that were not existing before. So we wanted to provide tools to help the customers when they are planning their trip to stores. They don't spend too much time outside because it was stressful. Like you said, people were scared. So we wanted to limit the interaction, limit the time they were out and provide the right tool so they can feel comfortable coming into our store.
Excellent. So what's the next step for the evolution of your brand?
So to me is what helps you build the overall plan, the overall strategy. So without these insights, you don't really know anything. You can't trust your feelings. You can do the things because you've always done it, but in the end you can't be 100% sure. So you need to measure the success, you need to do a postmortem, you need to dig into the data, you need to improve what you do, you need to scale, you need to learn. So basically, data starts a project, and the data ends the project also. So there's two and three for data. So at the beginning collect everything that helps you build what you're doing. But at the end you measure your success and you do a postmortem. So you learned out of it and you make the next one successful.
Do you have anything? Is there anything still unknown?
Of course there's time to dig in again, but right now on my wish list is just that there's a lot of work that's done manually right now by my team and it takes a lot of time. So everything that can automate reports, so my team can work and dig into that and provide feedback and recommendation it's what I'm looking into right now. So really automation is key right now. So extract the report, and the analysts can concentrate on doing their job and do the analysis of the data.
Wonderful! Any closing words of wisdom for someone who's paying attention.
Honestly, I think that customer centricity is really key to success. You need to listen, there are tons of data that exists from just the sales, seasonality, the basket size, the type of category. Just start looking at small pieces and it's going to help you understand your customer, because at the end you just want to keep your customer engaged towards the brand and if you listen to him and you show your emotion and you're targeting the right way, he's going to stay with you.
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