But Heaps is pragmatic about data, too.
She is, after all, principal data scientist at Staples, the office supplies retail company, where her responsibilities include developing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning techniques to drive its e-commerce business. Her work also has implications for Staples' personalization, targeting, and pricing strategies, as well as how it approaches customer service.
“It’s not that every single piece of data is this magical unicorn that tells you everything you need to know,” she says. “But maybe there’s that one unique something that’s a bit weird, something that not everyone is going to buy, that is going to tell you something about that person. Once you have that, the conditional probability they’re going to buy something else is going to increase or decrease correspondingly.”
In this exclusive interview with CMO by Adobe, Heaps talks about how data has been a game-changer for Staples, fueling the retailer’s ability to drill into demographic clues, target each individual customer, and create a more personalized experience.