eTail West: How Big Data personalized Men's Wearhouse, they guarantee it

There is nary a channel in retail today that isn't developing programs around data and one area that is yielding measurable results is in the realm of personalization.

"We need data and luckily we have a ton of it," said Adam Harris, director of innovation, Men's Wearhouse (NYSE: MW). "We have transaction data from stores, we have Web site data to track the user experience, we have data from loyalty programs. We want to gather everything we know about them and hit them at various touchpoints within the omnichannel experience." Harris presented the results of its personalized email campaign at the eTail West conference in San Antonio, Texas Wednesday.

Men's Wearhouse started with email, a marketing tool that often comes in one-size fits all. Most retailers have very little information about an email recipient. The average Men's Wearhouse shopper visits once or twice a year and many hadn't been to the Web site in that time.

"If you know so little about these people how on earth will you personalize to them?" asked Rama Ramakrishnan, founder and CEO, CQuotient. "Take Dan — he shopped last July. What can we say to him on March 6? It doesn't appear we have a lot of data, but if you dig deeper you find a lot of very interesting ad valuable clues about what they want or don't want."

CQuotient used Weblogs and email logs to create a more three dimensional (fictional) Dan. Men's Wearhouse learned whether Dan opened the email first on a mobile device and again later at his desktop. Whether he scrolled all the way through the email, what products or product pages he looked at and from there, zeroed in on product attributes as gathered by keywords and unique descriptors within the retailer's product descriptions.

Mining any customer reviews that added attributes not found in the company-written descriptions created an even more fleshed out Dan from there. They found the customer's "affinity" and were able to assign that affinity to other less active shoppers, with less data to mine, who share some attributes.

"We started with seemingly simple surface descriptions, paired them with big data
then ascribed them to customers with similar tastes," said Ramakrishnan. "This is very important."

From there, Men's Wearhouse was able to personalize email blasts by shopper attributes. While the email looked the same to all recipients, once opened, it displayed six unique items personalized for a specific customer based on his attributes.

"Men's Wearhouse has millions of shoppers," said Harris. "When they are in stores we create a unique personalized experience. We saw a significant lift in revenue after looking at the email." Big data put to work.

Click here for more FierceRetail coverage from eTail West 2014!

Related stories:
Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank finally enter merger talks
Men's Wearhouse gets suit against Jos. A. Bank fast-tracked
Men's Wearhouse raises offer for Jos. A. Bank
Jos. A. Bank turns down Men's Wearhouse again, may pursue Eddie Bauer instead
Men's Wearhouse willing to raise bid for Jos. A. Bank