Wickes is a home improvement retailer and garden centre that has more than 230 stores across the United Kingdom.

Using machine learning, Wickes was able to develop personalised communications for its two target audiences – everyday consumers and the professional market. 

Machine Learning and Targeted Advertising

In 2021, Wickes had to figure out how to satisfy two very different types of customers: everyday consumers and tradespeople. Whereas shoppers primarily associated Wickes with individual products rather than an entire project, professionals usually only purchased from six categories or less, supplemented by items from other brands. To grow its market share, the retailer needed to convince consumers to think and buy more holistically.

Through their Mission Motivation Engine, developed in collaboration with Team ITG and Emerald Thinking, Machine Learning was used to address this issue. The machine learning model took into account online and in-store transactional, search, browsing, engagement and third-party data. It also looked at how consumers click on social media content, display ads and website content.

Source: ScienceDirect

The customer behaviour was then broken into missions and motivations, alongside an analysis of the aptitude motivation for each segment – especially the level of ability and willingness to take on a project.

Data to Deals

The Mission Motivation Engine identified 10 DIY/showroom missions, seven trade professional missions, seven motivational trade segments, 11 TradePro programmes and 10 DIY/showroom programmes.

Wickes used this data in order to target shoppers, which then resulted in the retailer being able to guide consumers through their DIY project with a variety of different channels. These channels included email, app, social and landing page. The concept was also creative and swapped talk of sales for friendly hints and tips instead.

The data showed that tradespeople typically shopped on Sunday evening and Monday morning to get ready for the workweek. The team created weekly personalised communications with a header of ‘The Week Ahead’. This new method included a changed tone of voice and a personalised ‘to-do’ list to help make Wickes the trade’s go-to supplier.

By segmenting their target market using machine learning, Wickes not only won a Marketing Week Award, but they generated an extra £7 million in revenue within half a year.