How customer experience is making the difference for Dan Murphy's

Head of data and personalisation talks through how to lift the ante on customer experience in retail

Head of data and personalisation at Endeavour Drinks, Andy Sutton, had a very clear remit when he started at Dan Murphy’s 18 months ago: To transform customer experience (CX) in a way that not only drives revenue, but also drives a better outcome for customers.

The majority of the liquor industry is selling the same product, limiting the number levers around product to pull to make a difference. However, as Sutton recognises, Dan Murphy's can differentiate on CX, and it is doing this by talking to customers as much as possible.

“We are selling our own products as well as supplied products, but one of the ways we can stand out is on customer experience, service, and what the brand stands for. Customers tend to buy based on service and experience now, rather than the actual underlying product itself,” Sutton told CMO.

“The first thing we did was to get to a deeper level of communication with our customers, to really talk to customers one-to-one, in order to make more granular recommendations.

“I hate to use the word hyperpersonalisation because it sounds like one of those marketing hype words, but we really wanted a plan to get to one-to-one communication.”

Of course, the liquor supplier has to be mindful of responsible service of alcohol, something Sutton said underpins everything it does. Rather than increasing the amount a customer drinks, Dan Murphy's needed to work towards a larger share of wallet.

“Data privacy is also important, how we become more compliant, what's the stance we want to take and do we want to be a thought leader in that space?" he asked. "There are obviously some intricacies when you're working in the liquor industry. But in the main, we do have a lot of data on what our customers are buying, which give that to us when they purchase online or scan their card.

“We give back in return relevant offers, better prices and curated content and recommendations."

Data foundations

From a technology perspective, Endeavour Drinks has been an Oracle customers for several years, and just renewed for an extra two years. 

"A lot of the technology these days is just different flavours of ice cream. So it's not so much about tech as the service around it," Sutton commented. "What are the outcomes you can deliver with that tech? What relationships do you have with the account team? And with the solutions architects? And how do you align your people and process to the technology?

"One of the key things we've done with the product over the last year or so is to say the product works, but how do we make sure that we've got the right people using the product to drive the right use cases? That's how we've driven more value out of it." 

An example for Sutton is algorithms built in Endeavour's big data platform, but executed in the Oracle platform. These are designed to do a better job of predicting what people are going to do.

"We had fairly simple things in the past that were rules-based, but this moves us on to fully predicted outcomes," Sutton said. "This allows us to more effectively target so we don't target customers if we think they're not going to buy anything.

“I kind of grew up in a direct marketing paper-based channel where everything sent out the door cost $2. And if you apply that, then you're quite ruthless about who you talk to who you don't talk to. Email kind of lost the discipline, because it's free. You can just talk to anybody. But actually, who do we want to talk to?

"That's really increased our revenue - per email it has doubled and unsubscribe rates went down, just by knowing who not to target.”

Of course, getting the right mix of products is also important, something that requires the brand to closely listen to customers.

“We vary in the number of products we send to people, when we send it, what the actual product is, so customers are getting the right price point, the right variety from the right micro region," Sutton continued. “We've applied that to pretty much all of our email activities. It started with one use case, did that move on to the next one, and so on."

Discovery

Today, Endeavour is focusing on how to bring the discovery element of the brand to life. "It's not so much about actually generating revenue or reinforcing our price promise, but more about reinforcing the wider brand," Sutton said.

“We have this really wide range of products - we have 5000 wine products, for instance. How do you as a consumer choose which one of those 5000 to buy? How do we help people do that through our marketing to personalise all those experiences?"

Sutton noted one of the biggest pieces of feedback from customers is this wide range is quite intimidating for people. Another important thing to remember is delivery experience isn’t rated against other liquor retailers, but against the digital leaders and Amazons of the world. This has also seen Endeavour  working to keep raising the bar in terms of ordering and delivery.

“It’s about optionality for customers. So the ability to buy online and then go into store to collect it, or have it delivered, whether that's next day or even within an hour," Sutton said. "Those trade-offs come where some people are prepared to pay more for immediate delivery, and some people want to come pick it up five days later.

“It's following up as well to get data back on how the experience was, and if they enjoyed the bottle of wine, and capture that information to recommend it again. If they don't like the bottle of wine, then we not want to recommend it again. Those kinds of feedback loops are things we're working through currently." 

Helping support these activities is an internal team called Endeavour X, which looks at around how to expedite digitalisation. The company has also developed cross-functional teams working together to solve business problems, Sutton said.

“We want to fail fast but hopefully succeed fast, and we want to scale those successes. Now we are organised the right way to do the next big thing," he said. “That's a really good thing from a cultural perspective; Dan has always been entrepreneurial and always trying to do new things. As successful as it’s been, now it’s keeping up the momentum.”

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