Online Retailer

Managing Daily Product Inventory Fulfillment with Reliable Data Insights and Visualizations.

An Overview

The Challenge

This online retailer needed to modernize their data reporting solution to drive business growth with reliable and accessible insights and analytics.

The Solution

The method for retrieving data insights was by pulling disparate data into Postgres databases where it was dumped into Excel and delivered through pivot tables. This legacy process slowed actionable insights related to meeting demand and pricing, required additional work from IT, was inefficient, time consuming, and costly.

The Outcome

2nd Watch created a modern data platform using Snowflake that would allow for easy digestion of disparate data in a centralized location. We implemented data pipeline processes for all organizational data using AWS products and developed reporting dashboards and performance visualizations with Microsoft Power BI.


The Overview

This online retailer owns, manufactures, and sells products with over a quarter billion sales in online revenue. They specialize in building and marketing consumer brands, leveraging decades of eCommerce experience and their proprietary technology infrastructure used to reach customers. The online retailer develops, acquires, and incubates growing brands to help them expand in the world’s top marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.


The Challenge

Prior to engaging 2nd Watch, this online retailer was relying on time-consuming and inefficient manual processes and Excel spreadsheets to generate and share reports. Not only did this methodology fail to deliver the time-sensitive insights necessary for demand forecasting and manufacturing, but it drove costs. Improper inventory management and the resources required to generate, distribute, and distil manual reports every day was resource and time intensive without efficient returns. Business users and leaders alike grew frustrated by the wasteful and ineffective processes.

Lacking a modern reporting solution and data platform, the organization had no centralized business logic which forced logic to be replicated over multiple processes. Similarly, data availability was dependent on IT to make current data available for reporting. The extra work distracted those teams from their responsibilities and created a barrier between teams.

Without any environment for collaboration and data sharing, data was interpreted and used differently based on the way it was pulled. The result was mistrust in the data which then required manual reconciliation to achieve accuracy. Again, these extra steps and manual processes forced users to spend an inordinate amount of time on creating reports, rather than analyzing them to influence business impacts.


The Solution

The online retailer partnered with 2nd Watch for their data modernization journey because of our focus on digital innovation, experience developing strategies, and expertise with AWS best practices and tool recommendations. As an existing AWS client, the company saw value in 2nd Watch as a Gold Microsoft Partner and Elite Snowflake Services Partner.

The 2nd Watch Data Insights team initially conducted a data strategy analysis to understand the organization’s key business needs and technology landscape. We worked collaboratively with functional and technical stakeholders to define a future state reporting architecture and an implementation roadmap to deliver improved analytics based on organizational priorities. The initial implementation focused on establishing the modern analytics platform and enabling sales and inventory performance reporting.

Centralized data was important to fostering collaboration using a single source of truth to consolidate and standardize key performance indicators (KPIs). 2nd Watch experts created a centralized modern data platform using Snowflake to support internal analysis and retailer reporting. We implemented standard and automated data pipeline processes for all organizational data using AWS products, and cleaned, normalized, and ingested internal data from transactional systems. These pipelines support sales and inventory performance and reporting to ensure consistent calculations and data definitions.

Armed with a single source of truth, business users are empowered with an intuitive data model to develop and share reports without requiring assistance from IT. Dashboards were developed using Microsoft Power BI and provide performance visualization. These visualizations explicitly identify outliers so that leaders can drill into relevant details and take immediate action to improve performance.


The Outcome

After partnering with 2nd Watch, the online retailer is equipped with modern data and reporting tools that enable them to meet their anticipated growth. When it comes to online retail, having the right product price and inventory is critical to winning search algorithms that prioritize visibility in the market. To balance supply and demand, time-sensitive sales, inventory, and manufacturing insights are required. Now, the organization’s business managers and decision-makers have easy access to daily updated information they can understand and trust, without any manual tasks. Fast and reliable performance insights allow the online retailer to drill into detailed supporting data and take the appropriate actions to affect business outcomes.


Specifically, understanding product sales performance at the SKU level, order fulfillment status, and global inventory allows leaders to manage the most critical components of the online retail industry to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Inventory management and order fulfillment have been streamlined via insights into product demand and supply. With visibility into product inventory and location, relative to sales forecasts and price performance, the online retailer can balance supply and demand to best meet prioritization requirements in search algorithms.


Through manufacturing efficiencies and data enablement, the online retailer is also able to reduce costs. Designated users can now develop, share, and collaborate their reports to support additional ad hoc requests. Without the costs and resources required when producing manual Excel-based reports, teams can increase productivity, output, and innovation.


Moving forward, the online retailer will continue to build on and optimize its data platform. In future phases, they plan to add external data from their third-party retailers, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Target, Funzies, and others. Thanks to the flexible data architecture developed by 2nd Watch, these capabilities and others are now available to further the organization’s growth trajectory.