Simmi Bajaj, Cynozure Associate, shares how we approached value creation with a new data and insights guided analytics team at Studio Retail.
Studio Retail is an established and multi channel retailer that has been in operation for 50 years. The recent digital transformation has seen digital account for 90% of sales, up from 50% in 2016. With digital transformation comes the opportunity to move to a more data centric enterprise and Studio Retail recognised the value in putting data at the heart of everything that it does; so what followed was a significant investment in building the capabilities of the Enterprise Data Team, harnessing the millions of records in first party data collected from Studio Retail customers.
Working alongside the rest of the Cynozure and Studio Retail team, my responsibility was to lead and own the data and analytics products for the marketing team – a specialist business unit ‘spoke’ within the Enterprise Data team ‘hub’. It’s an interesting position to be in, as there is a balance and synergy with being both product and customer focused.
A lot of information that existed in Studio Retail was in the form of reports that were created depending on the platform that the data was available in. My task was a bit like a gardener, I had to wade through the existing garden, do some weeding to focus on the reports and analysis that I really needed, and ultimately unearth some gems (or beautiful blooms!) to deliver insights that were actionable.
The garden was the product that I wanted to create, using various (gardening) tools to weed, trim, nourish and plant.
I looked for insights; little nuggets that told a story, in and amongst the plethora of data and reporting that existed in the business.
I trawled through more than 50 reports, assessed all the new requests coming into the business and spoke to stakeholders about what their objectives were.
I was curious to summarise all the existing requests in a way that I could talk about so I produced this word cloud of all business requests, which gave me a quick insight into the type of work coming into the team.
It was clear that the work the team was doing was very report focused, understandably as the tools and infrastructure for more complex analysis were being put in place but not there just yet. But we were looking to change the mindset to be more customer focused and to pivot our analysis and thinking to cover more deep dive customer analytics. This takes time, requires the right resource and the right tools. So whilst I worked on those I started to unpick reports and looked for gems.
Here are a few gems:
Whilst doing the weeding and finding hidden gems in the garden, I sowed the seeds for an insight driven culture by planting the importance of the ‘so what’ in everything we deliver. This is an art and requires a right brain approach to the usually left brained analyst thinking. With the right nudges and reminders though, this can be achieved and is essential to establish before new talent and tools are brought in.
An insights guided culture also requires establishing best practices throughout the enterprise. Studio Retail spends a significant amount of money on incentivising customers to join up on a credit account. Various incentives have been tried out in the business and , we will now be testing two offers head to head against a control group so we should get a very accurate picture of the incremental benefit of having an offer and also which offer drives the highest conversion. These best practices are essential for data guided decision making in any business.
Thirdly we were keen to improve how people received the insights they deserved by reviewing processes, and ‘nourishing’ and refining them along the way. All requests were to be channelled through one person, the lead in order to provide the best knowledge on the business background for all analytical requirements. Once all new work was logged in a system (Microsoft Planner), work could be prioritised and shared across the team so workloads became transparent and output was regularly measured.
It’s been great to see the marketing spoke blossom early on in the data journey at Studio Retail and help to demonstrate what is possible. I’m pleased this will go a long way to cultivate the wider data strategy agenda that Studio Retail and Cynozure are working on together.