Case Study

A Tier 1 Department Store retailer records YoY revenue uplift of 190% with Big Data Recommendations

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“Again you are one of the best teams I have had the pleasure to work with. I trust Zone given the close history between the teams. You are all very hard working and smart and it shows in everything you do. Keep up the good work and here is to a successful 2019!”

VP of Data Science and Data Science Engineering
Tier 1 Retailer

Our Client

In late 2014, this US$ 19Bn, 1100 store US Department store giant initiated a program with Zone24x7 to build a personalized omni-channel big data recommendations platform.

At that time, our client was already a customer of the leading omni-channel personalization product used by most of the large retailers in omni-channel retail.

However, our client has made its mind to develop a solution from ground up due to many disadvantages and shortcomings of a commercial off the shelf solution.

Challenges

When an organization such as our client whose core competency is in retail and not in technology decides to take on an ambitious project into Big Data & data science, it is bound to face multiple challenges. It was on a path to create a bespoke alternative to an industry standard offering which raised eyebrows of quite a few people due to the shear odds stacked against them.

First, it had to create an in-house team of experts in Big Data and Data Science. Next, it faced the challenge of convincing the internal key stakeholders on its ability to take on such a daring project in a relatively nascent field of technology within a short time period without losing ground to competitors.

The team had literally months to develop the first cut of a working Big Data recommendations solution and integrate it with its online store on time to be tested during the first peak holiday season in 2015. The plan was to test the new recommendations platform side by side with the commercial recommendations platform already in use to prove that it could deliver on its promise and secure further funding for the next phases of a multiyear commitment.

Retailers focus on multiple touch points during the customer journey to influence purchases. Our client required that the new solution provide recommendations to Desktop, Mobile, Tablet, Kiosk, and Native Apps (iOS, Android) and emails.

How We Helped

The online store of our client has offered the convenience of online shopping to millions of its customers since it was first launched in the year 2000.

Over the years, it has evolved to keep up with the latest technologies and trends. Many vendors have collaborated in these improvements including the industry leader in Omni channel personalization. In building the new solution from the ground up the Zone24x7 Big Data and Data Science specialists brought in many skills and expertise including the following.

BigData

  • Our team worked on streamlining scattered data, data sources across the large retail organization and centralized them
  • Expertise in data pipelining and Extract Transform & Load (ETL)
  • Building and maintaining scalable storages using the latest technologies
  • Implementing scalable, effective and efficient data processing
  • Converting data into meaningful insights and then building visualization techniques using the latest tools to present the insights
  • Integrating data and analytics to core business functions
  • Taking big data and analytics solutions to production in quick time

To date, this solution is enhanced with more and more capabilities to supplement evolving customer needs and competitor offerings. The bespoke solution benefits from enterprise design standards and leading edge big data tools and technologies. It is also noteworthy to mention that the strong emphasis on product and program management played a key role in the successful production deployment of many increments of the solution with zero business disruptions.

Our technology specialists have achieved zero downtime of the solution even under peak loads as experienced during the peak week of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We have successfully tested the solution up to 5000 transactions per second with milliseconds response times.

Impact of Our Work

Since 2015, the bespoke Big Data recommendations platform was consistently adopted and tested alongside the commercial product to validate and verify its benefits. Over the next 3 years the bespoke solution was gradually spread into all key customer touch points.

The testing phase culminated successfully in August 2018, as the new Big Data recommendations platform outperformed the industry-leading commercial product with 14% more sales attributed to recommendations. With this outcome, the Tier 1 retailer replaced the commercial product with the new solution built by Zone24x7.

Immediately after this major win, the new personalized Big Data recommendations platform contributed to a record-breaking holiday season. During the peak week of 2018, which included Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the new solution contributed to a staggering

190%

YoY revenue increase attributable to Big Data recommendations

41%

YoY increase in revenue
per visit

204%

YoY increase
in orders

Our client was ranked among the Top 4 US retailers for online transaction during the peak week.

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