Carhartt Taps Consumer Data for Personalized Shopping Journeys

Carhartt apparel

As brands and retailers race to offer the most targeted, relevant consumer journey, Carhartt is leveraging data to transform the omnichannel experience.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Jennifer Slegers, director of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) at the workwear brand, noted described data-backed personalization as “the holy grail” for retailers today.

“That’s what consumers are expecting right now. They expect that you know something about them, but you don’t want to know too much. You want it to be seamless,” Slegers said. “We have a variety of SKUs at Carhartt. So it’s really important to use that data to know what people might be looking for.”

In addition to individual consumer data, Carhartt factors in geographical considerations and seasonal variations. For instance, the brand tailors its product recommendations based on weather conditions specific to the customer’s location in an effort to improve relevance and utility.

The company uses digital tools from Bluecore to get more granular with its data efforts, Slegers said. For instance, Carhartt has been able to isolate the behaviors of new and repeat customers, learning that those in the former group tend to engage with the brand via brick-and-mortar stores, especially in this post-lockdown period, whereas the company’s digital channels are more likely to attract returning shoppers.

Slegers highlighted the successful launch of the brand’s women’s gear as an example. By identifying potential interest among existing customers, such as noticing that women were often making purchases for the men in their lives, and leveraging media channels for education and promotion, Carhartt drives consumer interest from discovery to purchase.

She noted that the brand’s rewards-based loyalty program “does allow us to connect what they’ve bought online and in store so that we can improve their shopper journey.” Through this digital integration, she said, the brand has learned, for instance, that its softest products over-index on brick-and-mortar, where consumers can feel the fabric directly.

Consumers want loyalty incentives. The PYMNTS Intelligence study “2024 Global Digital Shopping Index: The Rise of the Click-and-Mortar™ Shopper and What It Means for Merchants,” commissioned by Visa Acceptance Solutions and drawing from a survey of nearly 14,000 consumers across seven countries, found that 75% of U.S. shoppers expect digital coupons to available for both in-store and online shopping.

Plus, data-backed follow-up campaigns further enhance the customer journey, encouraging those who showed interest but did not make a purchase initially.

Consumers, for their part, want some degree of personalization. The report “Personalized Offers Are Powerful — But Too Often Off-Base,” a PYMNTS Intelligence study created in collaboration with AWS and drawing from a survey of more than 2,500 U.S. consumers, finds that 71% of consumers received personalized offers and are interested in them, and another 12% did not receive personalized offers, but are interested in them.

Implementing data-backed personalized experiences comes with its challenges, including data fragmentation across platforms. Looking ahead, this is a key area for innovation to make the brand’s targeting all the more effective for omnichannel shoppers, especially as the future of cookie-based targeting becomes increasingly uncertain.

“What you know about your consumer might live in one platform, versus you want to personalize another platform,” Slegers said. “That is by far the biggest challenge. Where does your data live? What do you want to do with it? And then how do you get it into the right system so you can activate against it? That’s where we’re looking at consolidating some of our tech platforms so that we can be … more nimble.”