Urban Outfitters signs Merkle for data and analytics

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Multichannel apparel merchant Urban Outfitters Inc. has selected database marketing agency Merkle Inc. to manage data, analytics, strategy and build a comprehensive custom-built database infrastructure called a Knowledge Center for executing multi-channel marketing programs in the US. The deal encompasses all of the company's retail brands, which include Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People.

“We see a trend in the retail space of going away from really basic data processing to taking CRM more seriously,” said Scott Cone, SVP and client team lead at Merkle. This is particularly true for any brand that has “a high engagement factor,” such as fashion apparel brands, and an opportunity to engage with customers in store, online and via a catalog, he continued.

From Urban Outfitters' perspective, the move will enable it to promote its brands more consistently to customers.
“In selecting Merkle, we are taking a new approach to consistently promote each of our brands to customers in a unique way, while also gaining critical intelligence regarding consumer buying behavior across a complex array of channels and marketing programs,” said Calvin Hollinger, chief information officer at Urban Outfitters, in a statement.

Retailers such as Urban Outfitters are increasingly making a commitment to integrated database marketing because they see “the possibilities to improve their marketing, services and relationships with customers,” Cone said.

The marketplace will begin to see the results of the retail industry's increased focus on CRM over the next 12 tp 24 months, Cone predicted. It will be evident in revamped loyalty programs that target customers in different markets, for example. Right now, “people are adding capabilities and testing a lot of things,” he noted.
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