From online activity to in-store purchases and social mentions, Walmart has more customer connections than any retailer in the world. According to Daniel Thorpe, Senior Director of Analytics for Global Customer Insights, the company sees 300,000 social mentions per week.
Thorpe leads a team of analysts responsible for using that data to understand customers holistically based on self-reported and behavioral data and leveraging big data from social media and click streams. Thorpe and Elpida Ormanidou, Senior Director of HR Business Analytics and Budgeting, discussed the analytical culture at Walmart and how their two teams work together to improve employee IQ and customer EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient).
“Elpida does a lot of work in understanding her associates, the same way a lot of us do with our customers,” explained Thorpe. In fact, with 1.2 million associates, Walmart’s employee numbers are larger than most company’s customer numbers. The company hires half a million new associates every year, and Ormanidou leads the analytics efforts within HR that include forecasting hiring needs to meet annual goals.
The two teams are so invested in learning from one another that they have developed a four-pronged way of looking at their data that encompasses associate and customer projects.
1. In-the-box behaviors. From Thorpe’s perspective, this is primarily about understanding what customers are buying. For Ormanidou, inside the box refers to analytics projects inside HR to analyze expertise built within a functional area.
2. Out-of-the-box behaviors.