Ross-Simons Switches to Merkle Database System

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Merkle Direct Marketing Inc., a provider of information-based database marketing services, is expected to announce today that it won a contract with Ross-Simons, a retailer that sells via catalogs, the Internet and retail stores across the Eastern United States.

The announcement will be made simultaneously at the Annual Catalog Conference in San Francisco and DM Days New York.

Merkle, Lanham, MD, won the contract after an extensive bidding and proposal process that included six competing firms. Ross-Simons has been merging data from its current systems and vendors into Merkle's system since April.

Ross-Simons, Providence, RI, will begin using Merkle's Marketing Knowledge Center, a database marketing solution, in August to expand customer acquisition outreach and improve retention rates.

Cindy Marshall, vice president of marketing at Ross-Simons, said Merkle will help Ross-Simons integrate its three channels into one database "so that we don't need to send files to one e-mail server that was maintaining an e-mail database, and to a separate marketing catalog database at another vendor, and a separate retail database ... This will give us a 360-degree view of our customers and their spending patterns."

Marshall said the system also will help decrease the number of unwanted catalogs and eliminate waste, but also "increase some [circulation] based on picking up pockets of customers and inactives that we haven't been mailing."

In addition, Marshall said Ross-Simons will gain a real-time view of its data.

"We are actually going to be feeding nightly transactions to Merkle, and then updating our file on a weekly basis," she said. Before working with Merkle, Marshall said, data was updated monthly.


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