Garden.com Grows Business Into Offline Marketing Programs

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Garden.com is preparing to launch several personalized online promotions and offline direct marketing campaigns based on a clustering analysis program it developed with Knowledge Discovery 1, a retail-oriented software vendor, the company said this week.


Garden.com, Austin, TX, which offers more than 16,000 gardening-related products through its Web site and print magazine, has been sending targeted e-mail promotions to customers for several years. However, the new campaigns, which will be constructed using Retail Discovery Suite, the retail reporting and analysis software application it implemented in September from Austin-based KD1, will be more personalized because they will analyze customer-buying behavior.


The company will use the software for profiling around clusters of behavior. Here, it selects a sample of people that it wants to send personalized e-mail messages to from its retail/data model database. Then, it will decide what offers should be matched to these segments. This information will be sent to a third-party execution house, which sends out personalized e-mails to the appropriate consumers.


"[RDS] looks at all purchases and then clusters customers based on several key metrics," said John Stansbury, information manager at Garden.com. "Those clusters include information on the plant hardiness zone in which each customer lives. This will allow us to tailor promotions to the type of customer. The technology to personalize has been around nearly as long as there's been browsers. [RDS] helps us make personalization relevant to each customer."


Garden.com also uses RDS to help it figure out which products are moving well or which ones aren't on its Web site. With this information, it can make decisions on things such as product placement and pricing. If a product isn't selling well, for example, it may decide to lower the price or place it in a more prominent spot on the Web page.


In the future, RDS will give Garden.com site performance information, such as how long a consumer has been on its site, how long he spends on a certain page and how many detailed product views he has requested. This information is based on how customers click-through a Web page, so "they get to understand which part of the site is working well and which part needs improvement," said KD1 president Joe Dalton.


KD1 was acquired last month by Net Perceptions Inc., Minneapolis. The acquisition combines Net Perceptions' real-time recommendation technology with KD1's ability to analyze and integrate customer information. Net Perceptions will enable Garden.com and KD1's other customers to do even more targeted Web personalization.


According to Dalton, after Garden.com sends a personalized e-mail message to a customer and after that customer clicks through on that e-mail and enters the site again, the site will be personalized for that particular customer.
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