New Zealand's TWG leveraging technology to learn more about customers

With four brands collectively boasting 12% of total retail spend in New Zealand, The Warehouse Group is transforming through using technology that tailors solutions for its customers.

The Warehouse Group (TWG) opened the doors of its first store in Auckland in 1982. Since then, TWG has grown into the largest retail group in New Zealand, with its four brands -- The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming, and Torpedo7 Group -- representing about 12% of total retail sales in the country.

Speaking at Salesforce World Tour in Sydney, TWG chief digital officer Michelle Anderson explained that with 258 stores across the country, a strong online presence, and over 2 million people walking through its doors per week, TWG was sitting on a goldmine of data.

"We have a strong bricks-and-mortar presence -- 258 stores nationwide -- and a large online presence, in fact, our Warehouse site is the largest retail site in NZ," she said.

"In terms of scale, we have over 2 million people come through our doors every week, and when you think about this and think about the amount of data that we can actually collect on our customers, you realise the strategic asset that we're sitting on."

The problem, however, was that up until about a year ago, the organisation operated as four separate businesses.

"About 12 months ago, we were actually a fully fragmented department," she explained.

"We had four departments, we had a marketing team for each of those brands, we had six media agencies running it, we had several platforms -- we were very product-led, so merchandise was leading our business."

TWG put together a digital transformation vision that would provide a "fully scaled and integrated marketing capability", Anderson said, improving delivery for everyone from customers through to shareholders and the community.

"We don't want to just turn up; we want to really understand our customers and of course deliver them the right message in the right channel at the right time," she said.

The organisation became a "full Salesforce house", with Anderson clarifying that this meant TWG would move to using Commerce Cloud to power its websites, Service Cloud at its customer engagement centre, and Marketing Cloud to deliver the TWG message to customers across various digital channels.

The vision, she said, was to ensure that every customer touchpoint is personalised and relevant; that TWG has a single, omni-channel view of the customer across its different brands, being able to "use the power of data to connect the customer journey"; and that it is spending its marketing and media budget appropriately.

"Moving forward 12 months later ... we're a fully integrated marketing team," Anderson said. 

"What that means is we still have our brand teams that have that tight connection with the brand and its personality and those customers and categories, but running alongside that in our Marketing Centre of Excellence we have functional teams that deliver the capability required for the strategy."

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