Data Engineering & Data Science

Supporting an Omnichannel Data Transformation.






Data Engineering, Data Science, Marketing Services

The Story in 100 words...

For the last eleven years, we’ve been supporting Matalan’s transformation from a traditional bricks-and-mortar retailer to a thriving omnichannel business. As their trusted data partner, we’re responsible for designing and building the data architecture that connects and cleanses their vast data sets, allows them to extract customer insight at scale, and supports them to deliver a customer-centric marketing programme that extends across every customer touchpoint, online and offline.

Key Relationship Stats


Customer records in Marketing Data Warehouse (MDW)


Line items managed in MDW


Uptime for Operational Single Customer View (SCV)

Relationship Highlights

Connected Data

We designed and built Matalan’s Single Customer View (SCV), combining data from 14 online and offline data sources. This led to improved data quality, as approximately 40% of their customers were previously appearing in multiple databases.

Omnichannel Marketing Excellence

Clean data and seamless data integrations enable Matalan’s marketing to be increasingly targeted and personalised. They now have full data connectivity between tills, mobile app, website and email service providers, enabling Matalan’s teams to give shoppers a fully joined-up experience.

Optima Connect has helped us transform the way we use data for marketing. Data has been central to our board-level strategic objectives, and Optima have been a hugely valuable partner in helping us make progress.”

Head of Customer Insight & CRM

We’ve recently introduced Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It was a big project with a lot of complexity behind the scenes. We have some very specific requirements and the Optima Team have been instrumental in getting it up and running. Not many companies could have done what they did for us in the time available.”

Head of Customer Insight & CRM

The Full Story

Our data partnership with Matalan started in 2009, and the story of those eleven years perfectly mirrors the evolution of database marketing. As the retail sector has shifted its focus from direct mail to digital channels, our role has been to help Matalan continually evolve their data infrastructure to support the transition.

At every stage, that’s meant designing a data infrastructure that’s flexible and truly future-proof, enabling more channels and new technologies to be seamlessly integrated as their ambitions grow. In doing so we’ve earned our reputation as their trusted data partners and guardians of their data quality. We’re proud that we continue to play an important role in supporting their long-term transformation from a bricks-and-mortar retail network into a £1bn+ omnichannel business.

Single Customer View

A big part of our work with Matalan has been connecting their online and offline data, giving them a single view of customers. Back in 2009, eCommerce was a relatively new development for the brand. To connect their data sources, we built a marketing data warehouse (MDW) that automatically matches and cleanses incoming data from 14 sources, including eCommerce and in-store data. This gives them a complete picture of their customers and a strong platform on which to create customer-focused marketing strategies.


We’ve helped Matalan enhance their reporting and analytics capabilities considerably over the years. We initially provided analytics as a managed service, using behavioural analysis and propensity modelling to optimise targeting. We also automated end-to-end reporting and dashboards for accuracy and efficiency.

As their in-house insight team continues to grow, our role in providing analytics has shifted. We’re now responsible for ensuring they have constant access to the data they need for statistical analysis, advanced modelling and reporting. To enable this without hindering the MDW’s processing power, we built a dedicated analytics sandbox environment – a mirror image of the SCV. Now their insights team can interrogate the data freely, producing ever more complex models without slowing other database users down. This sandbox protects the integrity of the data production environment, which in turn supports the growing demands of their ever-improving data-led marketing programme.

Omnichannel orchestration

Matalan knew that having a joined-up view of customers would only be valuable if they could act on it. One of our major successes has been orchestrating Matalan’s data to allow it to flow seamlessly back and forth between their multitude of customer touchpoints, including integrating within-store tills, customer services teams, email service providers (ESPs), the website and their mobile app. This includes retaining a complete communications history for every customer, helping to refine future activity and, where required, to support customer service enquiries.

The world-class data architecture we’ve built with them enables new initiatives to be developed at pace, with minimal fuss. For example, together we’ve developed numerous rules-based campaigns that run automatically according to customer triggers. As always, these initiatives are the result of a true partnership – a collaboration of ideas, skills and effort – and our suite of successful trigger-based, model-based campaigns includes birthday campaigns, second-purchase campaigns, and a lapsed programme for customers showing warning signs of attrition. We have also co-developed an innovative Mother’s Day campaign, complete with preference centre, allowing Matalan to listen to their customers and make sure individual preferences are accurately reflected in their marketing.

Extending Matalan’s Digital Team

Matalan has a tremendously engaged audience, with rapidly growing digital activity and email open rates well above the retail industry average. The brand serves millions of communications a week, with ever-increasing levels of segmentation and personalisation. Again, the strength of their data architecture – with integrated audience selection and ESP tools – makes it efficient to manage a programme of this intensity and sophistication. To support Matalan’s digital ambitions, we’re constantly on-hand to provide overflow services where required, enabling them to run a perfectly sized marketing team with additional support from Optima as and when they need it.

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