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Ensuring deliveries and understanding market shifts from the current pandemic

The challenge: navigating your business through this unfamiliar global crisis

“We’re underwater as a water company”, exclaimed an overwhelmed Data and Analytics Director of a growing water company. The Coronavirus pandemic had increased demand for bottled water on top of significantly increasing sales volume over the past few weeks. Despite the welcome growth, these unusual circumstances also created new challenges.

Roadblocks like “shelter-in-place” orders meant many businesses were closing and more employees were working from home. For the water company, that meant their commercial customers were unreachable; it wasn’t clear if the customer had arranged for their orders to be picked up from the original business address or if they had simply forgotten to cancel their water service in the midst of the changes. Either way, the water company didn’t want to risk the cost of shipping, wasted products, dissatisfaction, and customers refusing or unable to pay their invoices.

At the same time, direct demand from consumers was skyrocketing. Essential retailers, like grocery stores, were highly impacted by bulk-purchases consumers were making which led to sold out bottled water. While this demand fueled accelerated revenue growth, the water company’s leaders recognized an opportunity to reach new consumers. Understanding who these customers are and correctly estimating demand is vital for the company’s future production planning, marketing campaigns, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

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The solution: appending and enriching customer data for a clearer view

To quickly respond to the rapid shifts happening in the market, the water company decided to append all customer records with enriched marketing data to their commercial and residential account information. This ensured the company had the insights to understand their consumers’ true motivation to purchase their brand of bottled water in an unusual time.

The water company has over a half a million residential and commercial customer records and expect to add more than 200K residential customers every quarter. To help determine the characteristics of commercial companies currently still open for business, who the specific buyers are, what kind of businesses are buying water products right now, and which ones are likely to buy in the future, this company purchased access to 50 items from Experian’s list of business attributes. To prioritize who to target and serve, they chose to purchase an additional 48 ConsumerView attributes most relevant to their business—marital status, combined adult age, presence of children, education model, estimated income, and more. These additional business and consumer attributes help the company better understand the buying behavior of their consumers.

To get started on their time-sensitive business initiative, the water company will send their data files to Experian to have the various attributes appended into their database in under a week. With a fast time-to-value and enriched customer data, they can now gain greater insights to better serve their customer base, efficiently deliver products to the right locations, and package their services for this new set of customers needing online delivery of a critical product in an unprecedented circumstance.

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