7 questions for Rick van der Molen (C&A Digital Marketing Director)

He previously worked at Mexx, Foot Locker, River Island and Adidas.

1. A year ago at C&A you started building to modernize the brand and accelerate digital growth. Can you indicate what C&A generally does with customer data? Do they run purchasing and marketing?
“Obviously, all available information is important to help improve the customer experience, be more relevant and calibrate product and marketing investments with customer needs. Such as comments customers leave on our site or through customer contact, as well as publicly accessible information, such as Google search behavior. In marketing, we use customer and buying behavior to segment campaigns, initiate automated journeys, and personalize campaign content. The dimensions for segmentation are primarily product affinity, consumer value, and life cycle stage. For the lifecycle, we use AI-based algorithms to determine the different stages of churn probability.’

2. Can you tell us something about the C&A app? What makes this unique?
‘The C&A app is a fantastic platform to find inspiration for the whole family and we are constantly working to improve it. When you’ve found an item you’re looking for or like, it’s easy to complete your outfit with matching suggestions. One unique feature is photo search, which helps you find looks based on your own photos. But the app is also useful when you visit a C&A store, for example to determine if an item you have seen in the app is also available in the correct color and size at the nearest store. In the store you can also scan the article to get more general information about the durability of the materials used. If an item is not available in the store in the correct color or size, you can scan the item and order it directly in the app.

3. Can C&A also send personalized offers based on the customer’s order history? How does this work? You are already doing it?
“At the moment, the focus is on getting the fundamentals right so we can deliver a frictionless customer experience, for example by optimizing our site and app platform. Without a doubt, our ambition is to strengthen the relationship with our customers through personalization. Personalization has been found to be more likely to lead to a purchase, influence repeat purchases, retention, and make customers more likely to refer friends and family. We are working hard on our CPD (customer data platform) to further enable this and create a ‘sticky ecosystem’.

4. What do you pay attention to to stay within the limits of privacy legislation? Isn’t this too strict and what could be better?
‘Of course, we adhere to applicable privacy regulations, such as the GDPR. Rightly so, consumers are becoming more critical about what data they want to share and what is done with this data. As much as I as a marketer would benefit from more data, as a consumer I believe that customer data needs to be handled with care. The greater the challenge of building and fostering a relationship with the client.’

5. What opportunities do you still see for retailers when it comes to using ‘data streams’?
‘Developments like the cookieless future and IOS14 certainly make it more challenging and increase the need to develop your own data strategy. There are also developments that offer new possibilities.’

6. What major retail trends do you see in digital marketing?
‘In general, we see online continuing to grow, but we also see more and more online/offline integration in the sense of phygital stores. At the moment there is a lot of talk about Web3.0 with everything related to Metaverse, NFT, Dao’s, etc. etc. But Social Commerce continues to develop as well as developments like flash commerce where flash delivery will not be limited to groceries or food. Developments that we will closely monitor and perhaps experiment with, but will not immediately dive into.’

7. Any other great news about C&A that you would like to share?
Yes, have you ever researched C&A’s sustainability initiatives? Like our sustainable Forever Denim, responsibly produced at C&A FIT, our new Factory for Innovation in the Textile Industry (FIT), in the heart of Europe. You can also see the transformation of this 181-year-old brand on our site, in the app, but also in many of our stores.’

text: Peter van Woensel Kooy | photo: Matthias Morawetz

* Search here for C&A sustainability initiatives

* For more information about C&A FIT, the new Factory of Innovation in the Textile Industry, click here

This XL interview with Rick van der Molen of C&A is part of the Data Streams (MT08/’22) archive published today on MarketingTribune.

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