Affinity add-on sales is a function which identifies items that appeal to a customer’s preferences, and presents those items as potential add-on sales when the customer places an order. During order entry, you can view a of upsell items selected for an individual customer’s preferences by selecting Customer Affinity from an options menu in order entry, or you can set up your system to automatically display the pop-up window when the customer places an order.
The Affinity function tracks each customer’s order history to determine the for specific Attributes of the items you offer for sale, and specific Values of those attributes. For example, a customer might have a preference for the attribute Fabric type, and prefer linen or cotton. You can link these to items or SKUs you offer for sale. When a customer places an order, the system suggests upsell items from your current offer which match the customer’s preferences.
You can supplement the upsell items recommended in the Select Affinity Items pop-up window with upsell items recommended by the Net Perceptions function. Net Perceptions is an application you must purchase separately. See .
In this chapter:
Attributes are item characteristics, used in affinity add-on sales, for which a customer may have a preference, for example: Fabric type.
Attribute values are specific types of an attribute used in affinity add-on sales. For example, Cotton or Wool would be values of the attribute Fabric.
You might have a customer who prefers cotton, and frequently orders cotton garments. Another customer might frequently order wool. In order to upsell your customers by suggesting items of clothing that appeal to the their preferences for fabric, you would assign a Fabric attribute to each item of clothing you sell, and a specific value to describe the fabric.
Example: An item of clothing you sell could be assigned the attribute Fabric, and one of the values Cotton, Wool, or Linen. The same item of clothing could be assigned the attribute Style, and one of the values Dress, Casual, Weekend, or Athletic.
You can link an item or a SKU to an attribute and value using the Work with Items (MITM) menu option by entering 24 next to an item or SKU at the Work with Items screen or Work with SKUs screen. See Merchandising , for more information on attribute assignment.
Important: You must link either a base item or its SKUs, but not both, to an attribute value. If you link both the base item and its SKUs to an attribute value, the Affinity function will perform duplicate updates of the customer’s net quantity when the customer orders a SKU; the SKU will be counted twice.
The system tracks each customer’s buying history to determine the Customer Affinity Preferences for the attribute values you have defined and assigned to items. Each Customer Affinity Preference record is linked to a specific attribute value. The first time a customer orders an item linked to this attribute value, the system creates a Customer Affinity Preference record, and on all future orders tracks the customer’s ordering history for this attribute value. When the customer has ordered enough items with this attribute value to qualify for having a preference, the system flags the customer for this Customer Affinity Preference, and allows you to view a pop-up window of upsell items which match this preference when the customer places an order.
Example: The first time a customer orders a Linen item (an item linked to the attribute value Linen), the system creates a Customer Affinity Preference record to track the customer’s ordering history of linen items. When she has ordered enough linen items to qualify for having a preference, the system will flag her as having a preference for Linen, and when she places an order, you can view a pop-up window of other linen items which are in the offer from which she is ordering.
• Net quantity (the number of units of linen items the customer has ordered over her lifetime)
• Yearly frequency (the number of linen items per year the customer orders)
• Change in frequency (a recent increase in the customer’s rate of purchasing linen items)
By setting , you set the goals you want a customer to meet for each attribute value before the system flags that customer as having a preference for the attribute value. In addition to meeting one of these goals, the customer must meet the threshold.
You can, if you wish, manually flag a customer for a preference, using the and Option 26 = Affinity. For example, if a customer tells you she prefers linen clothing, you can manually flag her for a Linen preference, even though she may not meet any of the Affinity thresholds you have set for Linen.
You can also flag all customers who have ever ordered an item with a particular attribute value, using the menu option. For example, if you are running a special promotion on linen clothing, you can flag all customers who have, over the course of their buying histories, ordered linen clothing. You can then upsell items in your special promotion when any of these customers places an order.
How soon can a customer qualify for having a preference? Besides meeting at least one of the threshold values you have set up for an attribute value, a customer’s buying history for the attribute value must satisfy the minimum qualification time you have set up for this value, before the system will flag the customer for a Customer Affinity Preference. Minimum qualification time is measured in days from a customer’s first order of an item with this attribute value.
Example: If you set the Minimum qualification time for the value Linen at 60 days, then the system will not flag a customer as having a preference for linen until 60 days after her first order of a linen item, even if she qualifies for a preference by meeting one or more of the affinity thresholds for linen. Minimum qualification time prevents you from qualifying a customer too soon, when the calculation for the customer’s yearly Frequency would be misleading.
The system uses three different measurements to determine whether a customer should be flagged as having a preference for an attribute value:
•Net Quantity: the number of items linked to an attribute value which the customer has purchased over her lifetime buying history.
•Frequency rate: the average number of items per year of this attribute value that the customer buys, averaged over the length of her buying history from the time she first ordered an item linked to this attribute value.
•Frequency change rate: the increase, or decrease, in the customer’s frequency of ordering items linked to an attribute value.
You set threshold values for each of these calculations using the . If the customer’s total quantity, frequency, or increase in frequency is greater than or equal to the threshold for an attribute value, and the customer has met the for this attribute value, the system identifies the attribute value as a customer preference, which you can use to upsell the customer during order entry.
Example: Net quantity: For attribute Fabric, value Linen, you have set the Net quantity threshold to 25. When a customer has, over the course of her lifetime buying history, ordered 25 units of linen items, the system will flag Linen as a preference for that customer. Whenever the customer places an order in the future, you can, optionally, upsell other linen items in the offer from which she is ordering.
Example: Frequency rate (Yearly average): You have set the Frequency rate threshold for Linen to 5/year. One of your customers has not yet ordered 25 linen items, but if she is averaging, over the course of her lifetime buying history, 5 or more units of linen items per year, the system will flag Linen as a preference for her, and you can, if you wish, upsell other linen items when she places an order. See Frequency rate for information on how the system calculates this measurement.
Example: Frequency change rate (Change in yearly frequency rate): One of your customers has recently shown an increase in ordering linen clothing, although her lifetime purchase quantity is low, and her yearly average is low. You have set the Change rate to 1.00. Your customer for the first two years of her buying history ordered linen items at the frequency of 1/year, but has recently ordered three linen items. Her yearly frequency is now 2.2/year (5 items averaged over 2 years and 3 months). Her average has changed from 1 per year to 2.2 per year -- an increase of 1.2. Because this increase is greater than the Change threshold of 1.0, the system will flag Linen as a preference for this customer. See Frequency change rate for a calculation formula and explanation of this measurement.
Upselling the customer using the Affinity function: When a customer who is flagged for one or more preferences places an order you can view the , which lists all items from the current offer (the offer associated with your customer’s source code) which are linked to the customer’s preferences.
Example: The customer’s source code on the order header indicates that she is ordering from your FALL offer, and she has been flagged for a preference for linen. The Select Affinity Items pop-up window will list all items in your FALL offer which are linked to the attribute value Linen, excluding items which are already on the customer’s order.
Upselling the customer using Net Perceptions: If you are using the , the Select Affinity Items pop-up window will include items suggested by Net Perceptions, a third-party application you can purchase to integrate with CWDirect. If you are using Net Perceptions, you can display the Select Affinity Item pop-up window for all customers, regardless of whether they are flagged for customer preferences. If a customer has been flagged for one or more preferences, the Net Perceptions-recommended items will be added to the customer preference items suggested by the Affinity function; if the customer is not flagged for preferences, then the Net Perceptions-recommended items will be the only items listed in the window.
There are two ways you can view the pop-up window:
• Automatically view the pop-up window when you accept an order for a customer who has been flagged as having one or more preferences. You must use an order entry method which includes the , and you must set the system control value to Y if you want to automatically view this pop-up window.
You can use this list of preferred items to upsell the customer, and if the customer wants one or more of the items, you can add to the order by selecting items from the pop-up window.
Affinity items or Net Perceptions recommendations which are added to the order are identified in the Order Detail file (OEORDT); the ODF upsell/cross-sell field will be set to P for Net Perceptions-recommended items and A for Affinity-recommended items. However, this information will not display on any screen in CWDirect. To access the information in this field, you must query the file from a command line on the iSeries system.
The system updates customer affinity preferences:
When you accept a customer’s order or process a customer’s return, the system updates the Customer Affinity Preference records for each attribute value for which she has a buying history:
If the order or return includes an item linked to the attribute value
For an order: the system updates all values in the Customer Affinity Preference record for that attribute value.
Example: If a customer’s order includes a linen dress, the system will update all dates and all calculations in the Customer Affinity Preference record for Linen. If the new calculations qualify Linen as a customer preference, the customer will be flagged for a Linen preference, provided has been met.
For a return: the system updates all values except order dates.
Example: If a customer returns a linen dress, the system will update all information except order dates in the Customer Affinity Preference record for Linen. If the return was performed by entering an order with a negative quantity, the system will also update the Last order date field at the top of the screen, but no other order date fields.
For an order: the system updates the Last affinity update, the Last order date field at the top of the screen, and the customer’s Lifetime frequency rate for the attribute value.
Example: A customer’s order does not include any linen items. The system will update the Last order date and Last affinity update at the top of the screen. The system will recalculate the customer’s Lifetime frequency rate (number of items per year) for all Affinity Preference records, including the one for Linen. This average will decrease, since the customer has ordered the same number of linen items over her lifetime buying history as in previous calculations, but over a longer time period. If the new average drops below the Lifetime frequency threshold, a customer who was previously flagged because of her lifetime frequency, may be unflagged.
For a return: the system updates the Last affinity update and the customer’s Lifetime frequency rate for the attribute value
Note: A return processed as an order with a negative quantity is updated as an order.
Example: You accept a return for a customer which does not include any linen items. The system will update the Last affinity update field and the Lifetime frequency rate in each of the customer’s Affinity Preference files, including the one for Linen. The system will not enter the current date in the Last order date field at the top of the screen unless the return was processed by entering a new order with a negative quantity.
When you run the Batch Affinity Update function to update your records (the Initialize field on the Batch Affinity Update screen is set to N), the system updates all Customer Affinity Preference records for each attribute value. The system control value determines whether the system uses the current date or the customer’s last order date for calculating Lifetime frequency. Valid settings for this system control value are:
Affinity: The system updates affinity preference calculations as if the customer placed an order on the current date and as if the order or return does not include an item linked to the attribute value
Last order date: The system recreates affinity preference calculations and dates made when the customer placed her last order. If you have changed threshold values since the customer’s last order, the customer’s preference flag may be different from what it was on the date the order was actually placed.
If you add to your inventory new items which you link to pre-existing or new attribute values, you can create Customer Affinity Preference records for the new items by running the function to initialize the records. (The Initialize field on the Batch Affinity Update screen is set to Y). The most recent record will be created based on the customer’s last order date, or on the current date, depending on whether the system control value is set to Order or Affinity. Past and past previous values for all the customer’s Affinity Preference records, including any new records which reflect new attribute value items, will be recreated based on all customer orders which included an item linked to the attribute value on the Customer Affinity Preference record.
You may wish to flag all customers who have ever ordered an item with a particular attribute value, regardless of whether or not they would otherwise qualify as having a preference for that value. For example, if you are running a special promotion on linen clothing, you can flag all customers who have ever ordered linen clothing, to upsell items in your special promotion when any of these customers places an order. When you run the Batch Affinity Update function with the the Set system preference indicator field set to *ON, the system will flag all customers who have an Affinity Preference record for the attribute value:
• if the customer is already flagged for this preference: the Batch Affinity Update function will make no change to the Customer Affinity Preference file.
• if the customer is not flagged for this preference: the Batch Affinity Update function will flag the System override affinity field on the customer’s Affinity Preference record to Y.
When you run the Batch Affinity Update function with the Set system preference indicator field set to *OFF, the system will unset the flags which you changed through this function.
A customer who has been flagged for a preference because her Lifetime net quantity is above the threshold you have set for an attribute value will remain flagged indefinitely (unless you change the threshold to a higher value). Similarly, a customer who has been flagged for a preference because her Lifetime change rate is above the threshold you have set for an attribute value will remain flagged until her next order of an item linked to the attribute value. However, if she has not ordered any items linked to this attribute value for a considerable time, you may wish to stop upselling this type of item, and to delete these items from her . You can delete outdated Affinity Preference files using the , where you can specify by date which files to delete.
• Display Customer Affinity Upon Order Accept (G58): This value controls whether the system will automatically display the Select Affinity Items pop-up window when you accept an order.
• Display Backordered Affinity Items (G59): This value controls whether or not the Select Affinity Items pop-up window will include customer affinity items which are currently unavailable.
• Customer Affinity Recalculation Method (G60): This value determines whether the system uses the current date, or the last customer’s last order date to update customer affinity records when you run the function to update records.