Nordstrom Gets Real with Decision Making

Last week at the Teradata PARTNERS User Conference in Dallas, Texas Nordstrom explained how it "got real" with real-time decision making services. These Real-Time Decision Services enable the retailer to expand delivery of superior customer service across existing and new channels of business. Luckily, Nordstrom had a technology vision and implementation strategy that provided the foundation for customer personalization and omnichannel retailing, making the steps to omnichannel enablement a natural process.
Early on, the retailer set technology goals to be met throughout the integration process:
  • Operational decision making: front-line employees can access the data warehouse for active information and service levels for information access to be less than 10 seconds.
  • Near real-time loading of enterprise transactions: XML messages via the enterprise service bus and trigger-based asynchronous processing
  • Event driven architecture: monitor business activity to detect business events and issue alerts for making informed decisions
  • Workload management: support for multiple workload scenarios and ensure service levels for all user types
  • Integration across the enterprise:  Web sites, portals, Web services, enterprise service bus, etc.
  • High availability: support for 24/7 availability as needed
Achieving these goals has helped the retailer to achieve: a single view of the enterprise information, find fast answers to complex questions to make informed business decisions, support both strategic analytics and day-to-day operational decisions, save time and money, and be flexible enough to support the evolving business needs.
The active data warehouse (ADW) is different from a traditional data warehouse in the way that it handles business events. Processing data to help the retailer make decisions, the ADW provides historical data combined with near real-time data, using pre-defined rules to activate a business action.
Nordstrom's use of real-time decision services has improved the refresh rate for Sales Flash data, enabled the retailer to incorporate social feedback into the shopping experience both online and in-store, improved Web analytics to better understand online conversion and cart abandonment enabling trigger marketing, and provide relevant product recommendations for customer online and in-store.
Looking to the future, the retailer strives to leverage social media to drive inspirational content in stores (I.E. showcasing top Pinterest items by customers on in stores). This will help connect the digital and physical spaces through a customer driven, crowd sourced merchandising strategy.
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