Customer1.0: as relevant as possible for every customer

Colruyt Group focuses more attention on the customer now than ever before. And we do so with Customer1.0, a data-driven programme designed to enable us to engage with every customer as relevantly as possible. “The right action for the right customer at the right time and through the right channel.”

Innovative and data-driven

Innovation has always been a priority at Colruyt Group. The group programme Customer1.0 enables the organisation to interact with customers in a sustainable and relevant way based on data. 

“We want to show customers that we understand them, which in turn lets us offer them the right things at the right time and through the right channel. In other words, a win-win situation is created in that we ensure the best possible customer experience, while at the same time achieving the best possible results from the relationship with the customer,” explains Deborah Nilens, business representative for the Customer1.0 programme at Colruyt Group. As a business representative, she is helping to launch the necessary systems and organisation from behind the scenes, so that the marketing department will have the right data and information. In this role, she is able to bridge the gap between business and IT.


Deborah Deborah Nilens, business representative at Colruyt Group.
The organisation needs to be able to continuously retrieve that one piece of relevant and valuable information from the mountain of raw data.

Valerie Valerie Conickx, insights translator at Colruyt Group.

Looking for the right information

The Customer1.0 programme aligns with the Colruyt Group vision to extract as much value from data as possible. This forms the basis of everything, from acquiring insight and optimising processes to relevant personalised customer communication. “The organisation needs to be able to continuously retrieve that one piece of relevant and valuable information from the mountain of raw data,” says Valerie Conickx. Thanks to her experience in marketing strategy, segment & loyalty marketing, she has been involved in the programme as an insights translator from the very start. “Together with the business, enterprise architects and data experts, we determine which data and models are needed for relevant use cases and to arrive at a solution. I help to make sure that all pieces of the puzzle fit together across the board.”

The Customer1.0 programme relies on a customer data platform. Individual communications aimed at customers form the final output, but the path leading to a result that meets the needs of both the customer and business is a winding one. Data and analysis are the building blocks of that path. “My challenge is to determine which data and models we need to achieve the use cases – and the right insights from those cases,” adds Valerie.

Transformation with a major impact

As a result of the impact that the programme has on both the customer and the entire company, the development of Customer1.0 is accompanied by a profound transformation. “At a very early stage, we began using small-scale pilot use cases to get acquainted with the technology,” says Deborah. “This allowed us to gain experience and consequently, better understand the type of changes that would occur.” An additional challenge is that Customer1.0 converges with the implementation of a new data reservoir. “So, we are focusing on more than the technology alone,” explains Valerie. “Another important component to be considered is data governance. And, of course, there is quite a lot of change management required, complete with the corresponding coaching.”

Thanks to an agile approach, the data team is successfully making progress step by step. “Our data specialists absolutely do not have to wait until it is their turn to contribute,” laughs Deborah. “We’ve been involved in the project from day one and are fully versed in the overall business context.” In other words, the data specialists at Colruyt Group do not work on an island. “You’re closely involved with the project here, which makes you very much aware of the possible impact of your contribution. And that is very rewarding.”

Ongoing evolution

Deborah and Valerie are proud of their work. They have a job with impact and clear added value for both the customer and Colruyt Group. “We do this job in an environment that is continuously evolving,” says Deborah, “and always challenging as a result.” The marketing domain and possibilities to use the data and information evolve very quickly. “Good examples are data science modelling or the integration of machine learning and generative AI to benefit the customer. It is very gratifying to be involved in these efforts,” Valerie adds.

There is always a wide range of job opportunities at Colruyt Group. “Thanks to the numerous departments and brands within the group, you can always find a position that lets you fully develop and expand your specific competencies,” Valerie explains. Another advantage is the possibility of promotion in various directions. “You may very well end up in a position that does not yet exist,” concludes Deborah. “Colruyt Group invests heavily in innovation, although we can never accurately predict where it will take us. That in itself is both positive and exciting.”

Deborah en Valerie Deborah (left) and Valerie (right).
You’re closely involved with the project here, which makes you very much aware of the possible impact of your contribution. And that is very rewarding.

From raw data to trusted data

Service Delivery Responsible Kristof Broos briefly explains the role of Colruyt Group IT. “Data & Analytics kick things off by bringing all raw data to the data lake and by converting this data into trusted data, i.e. usable and reliable information. We make sure that everything is integrated and that our colleagues are able to work with that qualitative data in an operational Customer Data Platform. In that platform we enrich the trusted data with other sources, such as checkout receipts, and by combining this data we achieve better information and customer insights. Then, our marketeers can concretise their activations:  Facebook posts, personalised e-mails or communications via the Xtra app. And all of it perfectly generated and personalised.”