Customer Story

West Marine Elevates Customer Data Insights with PK and Alteryx


West Marine Key Stats

Industry: Retail
Department: Multiple
Region: North America

of annual costs saved managing customer insights

degree view of the customer journey

stores nationwide provide customer data ingestion points

Enabling, educating, and outfitting customers in the marine industry

As the nation’s largest retailer of boating and marine supply products, West Marine handles everything from boat components and parts to water sports equipment for the everyday customer looking to experience the water lifestyle. “We have 240 stores nationwide, and we handle both the retail side and wholesale distribution side where we work with marine industry partners,” says Louis Holmes, senior manager of business intelligence at West Marine. “Our mission is to outfit, educate, and inspire anyone who has an interest in the water lifestyle.”

“We’ve ramped up the culture of analytics over the years through the technology we invest in, and through the evolution of analytics. It’s beginning to spread through the organization, but we still have our issues. The main roadblock we faced was not having the ability to cleanse, enrich, and analyze our own customer data. We were relying on a third-party vendor that was using an external database that spit out reports in Excel to manage our data, but it was costing us a substantial amount of money, and nothing was interconnected. We needed to find a way to utilize our own resources, so that we could feel like we really owned our customer data, and that we could trust our data with confidence.”

Check out the fireside chat with Heather Harris
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Louise Holmes
Louis Holmes
Senior Manger, BI
West Marine

Companies have struggled to have an effective response to the pandemic, but with Alteryx we came out of 2020 very well-positioned in the market.

Turning to a trusted partner for strong collaboration

“We had previous experience with Alteryx on a different project in 2019 and decided that it was right up our alley for what we needed for this project,” says Holmes. “We turned to a trusted enablement partner in PK, and together we set out to create an effective way for us to take back control of our customer data.”

“When we first discovered the Platform, we started out with a series of trials and we built some workflows that demonstrated we could crank through multiple client lists in a way we couldn’t before.”

“With the power of Alteryx we were able to enable our teams to self-serve when it comes to ingesting, enriching, and analyzing customer data. We have numerous customer data ingestion points, including our brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce, and our loyalty program, so it was important that we had the right logic and flow with our data. PK helped deliver an automated process to create a single source of high-quality data that West Marine owns, controls, and manages, allowing us the ability to respond quickly to business and customer needs.”

“Our role was partnering and collaborating with Louis and his team to ensure that we were meeting their specific needs,” says Heather Harris, Senior Director of AI & Advanced Analytics at PK. “We brought our experience and expertise in managing customer data by providing a view of their customer that enabled a single source of truth, aligning with West Marine’s best practices. Additionally, we helped develop a consolidated view of the customer in a dashboard for West Marine’s senior leadership team so that they could gain insights to better understand customer behavior.”

Heather Harris

Heather Harris
Senior Director of AI & Advanced Analytics

Unraveling massive savings and gaining control of data

“We’ve saved 70% of our annual costs in terms of managing customer data and getting insights back from what we used to spend with our old vendor.” says Holmes. “We feel like we’re actually in control of our data now and it’s exciting. That being said, there is no letting off the gas pedal to drive insights. Eagerness from the executive team is coming in fast, and so there is no endpoint with analytics, but only evolution.”

“We’ve seen West Marine start to truly uncover the behavior of customers through analyzing and owning their data,” says Harris. “The journey gets more exciting to the point where they’re going to be able to analyze customer emotional impact data, and that is extremely powerful.”

“Companies have struggled to have an effective response to the pandemic, but with Alteryx we came out of 2020 very well-positioned in the market,” says Holmes. “We’re in a growth phase, and analytics has helped us learn how customers are flocking to the water to feel a sense of comfort and familiarity.”

We’ve uncovered that we’ve saved 70% of our annual costs in terms of managing customer data and getting insights back from what we used to have to spend with our old vendor.

Taking on new initiatives with analytics

Holmes looks forward to tackling many additional initiatives with analytics and their trusted partners at PK. “We’re focused on understanding customer behavior so that we can provide exactly what it is they’re looking for in their journey,” Holmes says. “We want to integrate Alteryx with our CRM capabilities to run customer lifecycle strategies and aid our marketing team in their efforts by providing them with effective messaging based on our insights and automating their campaigns. We also know that other teams are using the Platform as well, like accounting and audit, to understand the limitations of the programs their running are, and IT to help their tech stack work faster. Alteryx is truly like a swiss-army knife, in that you can tackle almost any problem with it.”

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