7 questions for Rick van der Molen (Head of Digital Marketing C&A)

He has previously worked for Mexx, Foot Locker, River Island and Adidas.

1. A year ago at C&A, you started building to modernize the brand and accelerate digital growth. Can you indicate what C&A generally does with customer data? Do they manage purchasing and marketing?
‘Clearly, all available information that helps improve the customer experience, be more relevant and calibrate product and marketing investments with customer needs is important. Such as feedback that customers leave on our site or through customer contact, as well as publicly available information such as search behavior on Google. In marketing, we use customer and purchasing behavior for campaign segmentation, initiating automated journeys, and for personalizing campaign content. Dimensions for segmentation are mainly product affinity, consumer value and phase of the life cycle. For life cycle, we use AI-based algorithms to determine different stages of churn probability. ‘

2. Can you tell us something about the C&A app? What makes this unique?
The C&A app is a great platform to find inspiration for the whole family, and we are constantly working on improvements. Once you have found an item you are looking for or like, it is easy to complete your outfit with matching suggestions. A unique feature is photo search, which helps you find looks based on your own photos. But the App is also useful when you visit a C&A store, for example to determine if an item you have seen in the App is also available in the right color and size at the nearest store. In the shop you can also scan the article for more background information on the durability of the materials used. If an item is not available in the store in the right color or size, you can scan the item and order it directly in the App. ‘

3. Can C&A also send personalized quotes based on sales order history? How does it work and are you already doing it?
‘At the moment, the focus is on getting the basics in order to be able to offer a friction-free customer experience, for example by optimizing our site and app platform. It is certainly our ambition to strengthen the relationship with our customers through personalization. It has been found that personalization is more likely to lead to a purchase, influence repeat purchases, retention, and make customers more likely to recommend to friends and family. We are working hard on our CPD (customer data platform) to further enable this and create a ‘sticky ecosystem’.

4. What are you aware of in order to stay within the framework of privacy law? Is this not too strict and what could be better?
‘Of course, we comply with applicable privacy policies such as the GDPR. Consumers are rightly becoming more critical of what data they want to share and what is being done with that data. Just as much as I as a marketer would benefit from even more data, I as a consumer believe that customer data should be handled with care. The greater the challenge is to build and nurture a relationship with the customer. ‘

5. What opportunities do you still see for resellers when it comes to using ‘data flows’?
‘Developments like cookieless future and IOS14 certainly make it more challenging and increase the need to build on your first-party data strategy. There are also developments that provide new opportunities. ‘

6. What major retail trends do you see in digital marketing?
‘In general, we see that online continues to grow, but we are also seeing more and more online / offline integration in the sense of phygital stores. Currently, there is a lot of talk about Web3.0 with everything related to Metaverse, NFT, Daos, etc. etc. But Social Commerce continues to evolve as well as developments such as fast trading where flash delivery will not be limited to groceries or food. Developments that we will follow closely and perhaps experiment with, but which we will not immediately dive into.

7. Is there any other good news about C&A that you would like to share?
Yes, have you ever researched C & A’s sustainability initiatives? Such as our sustainable Forever Denim, produced responsibly at C&A FIT, our new Factory for Innovation in the Textile Industry (FIT), in the heart of Europe. In addition, you can see the result of the transformation of this 181-year-old brand on our site, on the app, but also in many of our stores. ‘

text: Peter van Woensel Kooy | photo: Matthias Morawetz

* See here for C & A’s sustainability initiatives

* For more information on C&A FIT, the new factory for innovation in the textile industry, click here

This XL interview with Rick van der Molen from C&A is part of the Data Streams file (MT08 / ’22) published today in MarketingTribune.

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