GNC Holdings, the nation’s largest specialty retailer of health and wellness products, has selected dunnhumby, the world’s leading customer science company, to upgrade all facets of GNC’s marketing and to help engage more with customers at GNC’s 6,200 retail stores and online. This will include personalized communications and offers to shoppers through both online and offline channels.

David R. Sims, Vice President CRM at GNC Holdings, explained the company’s decision to partner with dunnhumby.

“When our Gold Card program offered only first-week-of-the-month benefits, we were capturing partial data on our customers’ behavior,” Sims told Loyalty 360. “As a result, we didn’t give customers a reason to self-identify outside of Gold Card week. The catalyst for the decision to partner with dunnhumby was the switch to our new every-day Member Price program in April. We were looking for a partner that could dramatically improve our capabilities in understanding and acting on our now full visibility into customer behavior. dunnhumby has real credibility in that arena.”

Sims said GNC is serious about making the customer the focal point.

“Our stores have always done a great job of this – focus groups with our customers show that their relationship with us is with their store, and often a specific person in their store,” Sims said. “Our partnership with dunnhumby is a way to drive that customer-centricity into every aspect of our relationship with the GNC customer – and ensure that it is mutually beneficial for us and for them.”

At GNC, Sims believes education is a very important part of the job.

“It’s easy to do on 1:1 scale but gets tricky with a customer base of millions,” Sims explained. “So while the dunnhumby business case might be based on more of our best customers shopping more frequently, for example, we know that we only do that if we help people live better lives. If we recommend products that aren’t right for them we lose their trust. Our customers come to us looking to achieve something – get stronger, get leaner, get bigger, feel healthier – and if we help them do that we become one of their trusted advisers. So when we recommend something else that does feel relevant to them, they are more likely to try it.”

When GNC didn’t have visibility to full customer behavior, Sims said it was difficult to recommend a fish oil, for example, “because they might be a great fish oil customer already but buying it outside of Gold Card week. Now that we can track full regimen, it’s easier to understand who they are, what they are trying to achieve, and how we can help.”

Sims said GNC likes dunnhumby because “they showed us the risks of assuming that two households, living next door to each other, with the same income, same number of kids, are likely to be similar customers. Instead, they create an individual DNA – for each of our customers. So the plan to have that relationship on 1:1 level – always the goal – starts with relevant content.” 

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