Coupons, coupons, coupons. The more the merrier, right? That depends…
If you’re a deal-seeking customer, coupons are fantastic staples you can’t imagine shopping without.
Out of all coupons cluttering my mailbox, my favorite ones come from Bed Bath & Beyond.
And I’m not alone. These coupons cultivate insane customer loyalty as savvy shoppers everywhere adore these find-an-excuse-to-shop coupons (you know, the blue beauties for 20% off one item and $5 off a $15 purchase).
Who doesn’t appreciate saving money, while picking up a few necessities?
Bed Bath & Beyond coupons: Don’t leave home without ‘em!
Coupons, plural… (You caught that, right?)
I’ve been enjoying using Bed Bath & Beyond coupons for years—I never seem to run out!
Because I get multiple coupons every time they send out their catalogs and mailers.
How is that possible? (I’ll dig into that later…)
If you ask Bed Bath & Beyond about these coupons, their sentiments might not be as favorable as mine. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, these coupons pose complicated issues, negatively impacting Bed Bath & Beyond’s bottom line: profit. Executives at Bed Bath & Beyond blame the popularity of the coupons and their associated costs for contributing to their 25 percent stock plummet and 10 percent profit loss last year.
What can they do about this coupon conundrum?
Coupons, Coupons Everywhere
First, let’s review how customers get their hands on these coupons. Thinking in terms of data and data collection, I tried to guess why I keep getting multiple coupons. I retraced my interactions with Bed Bath & Beyond and realized a few things:
- I’ve purchased items online at http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com, which required standard shipping and delivery information at checkout. This interaction triggered coupons.
- I’ve also shopped at the local Bed Bath & Beyond and registered to join their mailing list at checkout for more coupons. That time, I entered my mailing address in a different format (i.e., I put my apartment number on the second address line instead of keeping it on the top line, like I normally do).
- Years later, I signed up online through their pop-up registration form using my new email address, which placed me on another subscriber list.
So that’s how I think I landed on so many different customer lists: I subscribed through different channels, at different times over the years, with different interactions.
Still baffled about why I was receiving multiple coupons, I took a closer look at the coupons themselves to see if I missed something. And the answer was staring at me in the face: my address was formatted differently on each coupon!
Masking my personal address (for data privacy, of course!), these example coupons (shown below) display the address variations I mentioned earlier. Keep in mind the permutations are endless if you include differences in names. If a customer enters a nickname while registering a second time (e.g., James and Jim), this will also generate multiple coupons.
Example 1: Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon showing the suite number in the same line as the street address.
Example 2: Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon showing the suite number in the second address line.
Since I’ve been receiving multiple coupons in the mail for several years, it’s probably fairly safe to assume that Bed Bath & Beyond does not have a consolidated single customer record for me.
This means their systems and customer mailing lists are probably not synced, cleaned, or updated regularly. What’s more, they’re not removing duplicate records or merging partial duplicate records.
Bed Bath & Beyond is facing a dirty reality with disconnected, duplicate customer records triggering multiple coupons to be mailed to customers like me.
Bed Bath & Beyond’s Best Bed Buddy: Data Quality
How can Bed Bath & Beyond address this issue? Data quality. Cleaning their customer databases regularly and applying last-mile data cleansing to these customer lists would help:
- Eliminate duplicate coupons from being issued, thus naturally lowering the number of coupons used
- Reduce coupon costs associated with printing, mailing, and distribution
Clean your dirty data with REV, excel beyond Excel
Cleaning data is a best practice that needs to be done regularly to avoid having multiple records scattered across different systems for the same customer.
While the IT department can incorporate data quality tools and MDM to help tackle this enterprise challenge, marketers and other employees can also help. How? By being proactive about cleaning lists before uploading new contact records to their marketing automation and CRM systems, as well as after pulling lists to start new campaigns or promotions.
The problem is, a lot of employees are not always formally trained to clean spreadsheet data. Not only do they lack expertise, but they don’t have the patience or time to double-check massive customer lists properly for duplicate or partial duplicate records in Excel.
But if Excel is a time-drain for you or if you’re tired of using complicated Excel formulas to manipulate data, you can reshape and clean up your spreadsheets in minutes with REV. (Or, you can continue to spend hours in Excel. But you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save with REV’s automated data prep shortcuts.)
(Confession: I’m not an Excel pro, so I really love how REV guides me through common data prep and data cleansing tasks. If I tried doing these things in Excel, it would take me hours.)
I encourage you to sign up for a free REV trial and test out the “Resolve duplicates” feature to weed out those pesky duplicate records. (It’s a no-brainer way to fix your spreadsheets fast!)
This is how I remove duplicate data in spreadsheets using REV:
- Get Data: Export a customer list you want to double-check (it can be in CSV, Excel, or TXT format).
- Open REV: Log in to REV at https://rev-app.informatica.com
Sign in to REV using your email address and password.
3. Get started: Click “New Project.”
Click “New Project” at the top.
4. Name your project and goal. Click “Continue.”
Name your project and goal.
5. Import Data: Click “Files” and choose your file type: CSV, Excel file, TXT. Click “Import.” (Your list will upload to REV and you can start working with it!)
6. Dedupe Records: Right click on the top column you want to double-check, either by last name or email address. Find and remove duplicate customer contact records by selecting the “Resolve duplicates” filter (shown below).
7. Merge and Delete: Edit the row of data you want to keep and click the row you want to delete. REV will automatically isolate the partial duplicates for you, so you can modify the fields as needed.
Aha! REV automatically found two similar records for John Smith. Using the “Resolve duplicates” filter, you can quickly edit and consolidate his contact information to avoid sending him two coupons.
The Coupon Conundrum
Bed Bath & Beyond needs to clip this coupon conundrum quickly. They simply can’t afford to wait any longer to fix it. By identifying some of the underlying problems and incorporating some data quality best practices, they can manage and monitor their data better and prevent new duplicate records from contaminating their systems.
From the customer perspective, these coupons rock. Taking them away from customers is not the answer. (Doing so would probably traumatize loyal customers, to say the least.) I, for one, probably wouldn’t shop there as often if I didn’t have those coupons to tempt me.
From Bed Bath & Beyond’s perspective, I can understand why they might have mixed feelings about these profit-crushing coupons.
Addressing their data quality issues head-on will enable them to eliminate duplicate customer records, one of the sneaky culprits fueling this coupon explosion.
(Confession: I told you I love these coupons, but I also hoard them, keeping them on hand for future shopping trips. Most people don’t know these secrets, but you can use one coupon per item while you’re checking out, and even though there’s an expiration date posted on the coupon, they never expire! Bed Bath & Beyond has made me a customer for life by honoring that policy. Good for me, semi-bad for Bed Bath & Beyond, depending on how you look at it.)
How would you rate your data quality? What steps or strategies do you have in place to monitor and ensure data quality at your company? What tools do you use to clean your customer lists? What would you do if you were facing Bed Bath & Beyond’s coupon conundrum?
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