Home furnishings and fashion retailer Laura Ashley has outsourced its customer databases to help expand its online and catalogue businesses.
Laura Ashley has signed a three-year deal to shift its online, catalogue and store card customer databases to GB Group, which will design and host the new GBHeadstart Oracle customer database.
The new database and GB Group data tools will provide the retailer with greater analysis and reporting functions, allowing Laura Ashley to improve communications with customers by gaining a greater understanding of how they interact with different sales channels.
GB Group, which replaces Laura Ashley's original database partner appointed two years ago when the retailer first decided to outsource, will also use data cleansing software to help comply with growing privacy legislation.
"The legal requirements around data ownership and privacy are becoming more onerous, making it beneficial to outsource it to a data company experienced in dealing with this," said David Selby, head of mail order and e-commerce at Laura Ashley.
The company will also use the new database to analyse a range of data sets allowing it to monitor customer buying behaviour, and measure the success of marketing campaigns and their impact on mail order, e-commerce and store card sales.
"Our catalogue and online businesses are going from strength to strength. To maintain our momentum we must be able to analyse our customer data to a deeper level so we can take a more targeted approach to marketing," said Selby.
The retailer, which produces two main home furnishing and four fashion catalogues annually, saw mail order sales grow 35 per cent last year and hopes to improve sales further through better understanding of customer socio-demographics.
"Through the databases we are now able to have a clearer view of who are customers are and make key business decisions," said Selby.
Laura Ashley also plans to make further cost savings by improving targeted mailing campaigns using data cleansing software.
Data will be transferred electronically from Laura Ashley's operations to GB Group's data hosting centre using an encrypted network.
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