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Author: Kim Nash
Herbalife, a $2.3 billion company that markets nutrition, weight-management and personal-care products to 2 million global distributors, made key changes in its sales strategy over the last year that brought with them a big jump in the amount of data the IT group must manage. The info glut–more than 240 terabytes of data–required a new storage and management strategy.
The first change was the Nutrition Clubs the company started early this year–social gatherings hosted by distributors where would-be customers could sample Herbalife shakes, teas and other products while learning about nutrition. Before a club event, distributors would order extra, single-serve products to give out and sell. "Not only does this raise top-line revenue, but it results in more-frequent, but smaller, purchases," says CIO Mark Schissel. "Volume grows tenfold."
At about the same time Herbalife was seeing this increase in transaction volume, it implemented a global Oracle (ORCL) ERP system and expanded the use of data analytics and business intelligence, as well as the use of video for sales and promotions.
Videos, such as company-produced testimonials posted on its Facebook page or product explainers posted on YouTube, help Herbalife agents convince new distributors to sign on, Schissel explains. Even more effective in wooing new business is when agents access these videos via smartphones, he says. "Unstructured data is the biggest value proposition for our company."