customer stories

Heroes at MCPen: Shop Assistants Using Big Data Increased Average Sales by 30 %

McPen empowered their shop assistants by giving them access to data.

Pavel Doležal

Written by
Pavel Doležal

October 11, 2018

Business intelligence is not about how sophisticated tools you use to manage your data. On the contrary, pen and pencil were the only tools you needed in the past to run your business. Everyone had that, but the key ingredient for growing your business is knowing what information you need to make better decisions. That means everyone in your company needs access to that data. Everyone needs to understand what they can do to succeed. That is why the most successful companies are the ones where data is used by anyone making decisions. MCPen is a company where shop assistants once given the access to data in the form they can easily read, approach and search through helped to raise the average purchase by 30 %. How was that possible?

At Keboola we teach companies to make business decisions based on their companies data. And for that you do not need to have a large IT department analyzing links between two variables that no-one knows what they stand for (usually with the help of AI, machine learning and complex sophisticated statistical algorithms). Data Driven Management means each and every employee has the right information to behave effectively and to earn more money (for the company as well as for themselves). Thus the reports the employees need do not have to be complex, they must give answers to the right questions. They must work seamlessly.

McPen’s shop assistants using reports in the ARC report by Ascoria

The recipe for success was actually quite simple. The company knew it needed to increase revenues. Strategy was put forward to generate an up-sell on transactions of CZK 200-500 (which accounts for about 10-20 USD) as these created most of the turnover of the company. This was not an easy task to do, as only one in ten purchases was in this range. No surprise it was opposed by the employees. Thanks to data, they realized that the greatest space for up-sell appears in the transactions up to CZK 50 (i.e. less than 3 USD) as they constitute 42% of the company’s purchases. In other words: With every other transaction the simple question “Would you also like an eraser or a sharpener with your pencil?” helped to increase the average amount of purchase.

This report shows that receipts under CZK 50 (i.e. less than 3 USD) generate 9% of all income, but 42% of all transactions —  source ARC report, Ascoria s.r.o.

How to become a data driven company as MCPen did?

1 - Collect and create data that reflect your business (activities).
2 - Make the data accessible in a comprehensible form.
3 - Use the data to make decisions every day.

To be really effective, do not expect someone else to just copy and paste a solution that worked somewhere else for you. If you want to use your data and make them matter, you need to understand where the numbers come from and believe in their accuracy. That is why you need to be at the data and reports creation process.

Start small. Concentrate on one issue. The most crucial question you need an answer for to grow your business (as was true for MCPen: Which products should I offer for up-sell?). Then you need to make sure that people who read the report have the capacity to make sensible decisions and feel responsible for their work. This is the moment when you need the second report category that describes how successful the individual is in comparison with others.

The purpose of the report below is to show how a given employee is doing in carrying up the plan in comparison with others.

The grey area shows 100% execution of a week’s plan, the current execution is in blue, and red shows the average execution of the entire team.

Thanks to cloud technologies, “Big Data” and “Business Intelligence” are no longer services that are available solely to large corporations or data engineers with a certain skill set. You can collect data about your own business, make it accessible to your employees and have a qualified team that will be able to use this information to bring about positive changes in your company. What are you waiting for?

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