Koala ups the ante on customer insights as part of data transformation

Australian online mattress and furniture retailer invests in data, analytics and insights function and technology

Australian mattress and furniture online retailer, Koala, is spending the next six months undergoing a large-scale data transformation to bring customer insight into every step of its decision-making processes.  

The company has brought on Qualtrics’ Core XM customer insights platform to lift its game around customer insights facilitation and analytics. Koala chief marketing and technology officer, Peter Sloterdyk, told CMO the brand has always had a strong focus on listening to customers and communities to inform its product range.  

“As the Koala business expands in popularity and in our product range, we required a more sophisticated platform to provide critical insights that can be fed into Koala's enterprise data warehouse for use throughout the business,” he explained.

Bringing on Qualtrics further enhances these listening capabilities and supports Koala’s data-driven approach to growth, Sloterdyk said. The direct-to-consumer retailer is partnering with Qualtrics Research Services to expand the value and reach of insights collected, accessing more than 90 million panellists globally.  

“The Qualtrics tool is a component of Koala’s larger data strategy that has the clear objective of bringing our customers, and the communities that they live in, further into the decision-making process at every step,” Sloterdyk continued. “Over the next six months, we are undergoing a large-scale transformation project to achieve this objective, and the Qualtrics platform plays an important role in this.”

In complement to the technology investment, Koala has been building out its data, analytics and insight (DA&I) function in recent months. This has seen it appoint Dr. Virginia Wheway as VP of data and analytics in September to transform the way the retailer listens and learns throughout the business. Wheway reports directly to Sloterdyk.

“The DA&I team has been tasked with improving the availability and use of critical information to all levels of the organisation in Koala's relentless pursuit of getting closer to the customers and communities we serve,” Sloterdyk said.

The Qualtrics CoreXM is aimed at lifting Koala’s concept ideation and testing, product development and ad-campaign testing. The name of the game is optimising go-to-market strategies and inform its product, brand and customer experience.  

Specifically since launching with Qualtrics, Sloterdyk said Koala has deployed a number of projects at speed. These include optimising the go-to-market strategy for products in international markets, creative concept evaluation for key advertising campaigns across media channels, validation of products in the concept development phase across international markets, and research to assist in informing offshore growth plans.

“To fuel Koala’s continued growth globally it’s crucial we use insights to unlock the full value of the marketing spectrum, such as TV and out of home, and personalise it for each country,” he said. “Qualtrics CoreXM gives us the ability and agility to find the information we need, and then make intelligent decisions confidently, efficiently, and at scale.”  

Sloterdyk said within 24 hours of going live, it’d already developed a use-case that was paying commercial dividends.

“Within 24 hours of signing with Qualtrics, Koala was able to use the tool to obtain feedback from Australians on a strategically important marketing campaign. The feedback enabled the team to refine the campaigns messaging and optimise the investment placed behind the effort,” he said.  

“Using Qualtrics will assist Koala to be even closer to the communities we serve with our award-winning product range.”  

Last year, Koala adopted Segment’s customer data platform to improve its first-party customer data infrastructure and management.  

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