To maintain a competitive advantage, quickly respond to customer needs, and manage supply and demand, companies in the consumer goods industry need to evaluate their digital transformation strategy. But what does it mean to transform digitally? Digital Transformation is about leveraging cloud technologies and real-time data to find new business opportunities, create new revenue streams, and improve operational efficiencies.
In the third session of the Digital Transformation Storytelling Series, AJ Von Massenhausen, ISV Partner Manager at Snowflake and Joe deBuzna, VP of Field Engineering at HVR, discussed a few common challenges and how companies in the consumer goods industry are using real-time data to provide a unique customer service experience. Here are a few highlights from the session.
Common Challenges from Consumer Goods Brands
A common challenge many brands face is disparate data silos or data residing in many different places. It isn’t easy to combine many data sources into one, single source of truth for a 360-degree view of the business. Still, it’s imperative, not only for sales but to maintain a competitive advantage. From awareness to purchase to retention, brands try their best to provide customers with the most personalized buying experience possible. The way to do that is by getting a 360-degree view of the business in order to send them the right message at the right time.
Real-Time Data Access
Before the cloud, analysts worked on reports during the day and bulk loaded data at night. The process of bulk loading data made it impossible to provide customers with quick, real-time offers and promotions. The cloud completely shifted how brands interact with customers at each phase of their buying journey.
HVR’s log-based CDC and the flexibility of its distributed architecture allows users to quickly move data from on-premise transactional systems to cloud destinations for real-time data access. Also, Snowflake’s cloud data warehouse architecture allows unlimited concurrency, meaning that analysts can pull reports during the day while data is being actively loaded into the system, eliminating barriers to extracting real-time data for business insights.
Sainsbury’s, one of Snowflake’s largest retail customers, is also the second-largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom. With real-time data access, Sainsbury’s sends mobile offers to shoppers in-store. As soon as they connect to the network, Sainsbury’s can send them relevant offers based on their recent purchase history. For example, if you drink 2% milk, they’ll send you an appropriate offer for 2% milk, rather than evaporate milk, something you’ve never purchased in a Sainsbury’s store.
These days, attention is fleeting. Brands need to get to the buyer when their propensity to buy is as high as possible. Therefore, data needs to be delivered in real-time so the brand can provide personalized offers at the right time.
Managing Data at Peak Times & Maintenance
We used to say, “You have to build your data platform for Easter Sunday.” The unlimited scalability of Snowflake’s cloud data platform gives companies the ability to spend resources on and off. Peak times, especially during the holidays, are crucial for retail brands. They need a cloud data platform that can scale with the explosion of data and keep up with business demand. Also, retail brands are on in the business of selling products, not maintaining technology. They shouldn’t have to spend time on maintenance and upkeep of on-premise systems.
When our customers migrate to Snowflake with the help of HVR, they were able to cut down their maintenance time on their data platform from 20 hours a week to next to nothing. Since we’re there to help with the technology, they can focus on what they do best and allocate that time and money elsewhere.
Here’s what companies are doing differently because of the cloud and real-time data
Rakuten Rewards, formerly known as Ebates, leverages Snowflake’s data sharing. Data sharing allows users to quickly and securely share data across Snowflake accounts. Previously, Rakuten Rewards would export millions of rows of data into a CSV file and transfer it to partners. This process required ongoing data maintenance, and updates were costly.
But with secure data sharing, Rakuten Rewards can securely share data with their brands and partners. The ongoing costs of providing data to strategic partners dropped to zero. The data is immediately transferable and ready for use.
Many companies are leveraging data residing in Snowflake’s data marketplace to improve customer experience and increase retention. For example, Instacart leverages weather data in Snowflake’s data marketplace. So if there is a rainstorm, Instacart can provide its customers with an incentive to get their groceries delivered instead of going out in the rain.
The company Starschema offers a COVID-19 dataset to the Snowflake data marketplace. If Instacart customers are in a COVID-19 hotspot, they’ll receive a unique and compelling offer to use Instacart rather than risk going to the store.
The process of digitally transforming doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take a company and its many units and cross-functional teams to commit. It may be frustrating, but it’s exciting to revolutionize your business with modern technologies and discover new revenue streams. If you’re ready to leverage cloud technologies and real-time data, reach out to HVR and Snowflake to see how we can help you on your digital transformation journey.