EXASOL Customers

How in-memory analytics helps the retail industry

02 Jun 2016 | Share

Customers expect more from retailers than ever before – products need to be customizable to meet individual tastes, or at minimum, come in a wide range of preconfigured options.

Online, customers expect to see their products on their doorsteps in a matter of days, whereas offline retailers must now justify to customers why their products shouldn’t just be ordered from the web. How are retailers meeting these challenges? What kinds of data are they processing? And which analytic database solution are they using to analyze them?

This article highlights three examples of both bricks-and-mortar and online companies that use EXASOL for their data analytics to build their competitive advantage and offer their customers better products and services.

coop eG and data mart woes

coop eG is a classic bricks-and-mortar retailer, and with over 200 supermarkets, the largest consumer cooperative in the food retailing industry in Germany. These supermarkets generate vast amounts of customer data from point-of-sale receipts, but coop couldn’t access the information effectively. Because the company’s current solution lacked standard interfaces, data transfer was an extremely difficult and time-consuming affair. To make truly data-driven decisions, coop knew their old solution had to be replaced. By choosing EXASOL’s in-memory analytic database, coop was able to obtain a “single source of truth” that unifies all available information. With all data now under one hood, analytical queries benefit from EXASOL’s in-memory performance advantage. For example, coop can now calculate the amount of bakery products needed at any given time in its bakery shops based on forecasts, saving the company time and money.

According to Torsten Rehder, Head of Business Intelligence at coop eG, employees are now much more efficient: “Departments often had to wait over thirty minutes for their reports, but today they are able to get the information they need within a matter of seconds.”

Sensalytics and the need for speed to innovate

The startup company sensalytics specializes in retail analytics. By equipping stores with sensors that send back data to sensalytics for analysis, the company enables traditional retailers to use analytical tools formerly restricted to the web and wireless devices. Uses include, for example, movement profiles. As if the customer were moving a cursor on a website, sensalytics’ customers can see where shoppers walk, where they stop to look at merchandise and what they end up buying. This way, bricks-and-mortar retailers can profit from the strengths of online shops without having to go digital full-on. But as the startup’s data volumes grew, the existing database solution increasingly became a liability. To be able to continue to provide its customers with its innovative product, sensalytics chose the EXACloud in-memory offering. According to sensalytics, the driving factors behind the decision were the fact that the solution could grow with the company, as well as the fact that it was easy to implement and operate.

Omar Tello, CEO at sensalytics, on why the cloud was a perfect fit: “With EXASOL’s cloud-based solution, maintenance and administration are no longer an issue for us, and we only pay for what we actually use in the cloud.”

Zalando and how you can fit over 1.6 billion visitors in one database

The clothing retailer Zalando bases its success squarely on online-only. With over 1656 million website visitors in 2015 (according to Zalando’s annual report 2015), the business truly knows what big data volumes mean for analytics. Typical for thriving e-commerce companies, web analytics plays a vital role for its success. By retrieving information about the availability of products in real time using EXASOL’s analytic database, Zalando can optimize its stock accordingly so customers can order their preferred products at all times. Once the customer buys an item, they then receive personalized e-mails with product offers based on their shopping and website behavior. Because of such a large customer base, the amount of data being analyzed is massive – currently, the company uses the EXASOL database with over 7 terabytes of memory. With strong customer growth ahead, the solution’s linear scalability ensures Zalando remains future-proof by being able to add new capacity whenever needed.

Eric von Czapiewski, Head of Business Intelligence at Zalando SE, concurs: “As a fast-growing business, it has been quite a challenge to manage the increase in data volumes. But by implementing the in-memory database, Zalando can now benefit from a higher degree of flexibility.”

These three companies in the retail environment have found different markets, products and services to be their niche for success, yet they all share one thing in common: They power their analytics with the EXASOL in-memory analytic database.

And retail is only one of the fields where companies are being successful using EXASOL. This is the first part of a series of posts covering several business sectors that profit from our in-memory analytic database. Stay tuned for the next installment.

Want to experience EXASOL’s in-memory performance yourself? Then try it for free now: Either download the free version of EXASOL for use on your own setup, or try EXASOL in the cloud.

Are you a startup company like sensalytics? Then you’ll want to check out our startup program, too.