Farro had large volumes of data, but were experiencing frustration with their ability to access , visualize and analyze it in a timely manner
“The challenge that we were facing in our business was we had a huge amount of data that we were not using in a critical way. We didn't use it because it was it was very time consuming to analyse and get actionable insights from it. So we wanted to use that data to help understand our customers better and make better business decisions. “
Watch a video of how 11Ants has transformed Farro’s ability to obtain actionable insights from their data.
FARRO VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
The customer question's really important, because we launched our Friends of Farro loyalty program about seven, eight years ago; and when I came on board about three years ago... We had a huge amount of data, but really little was being done with it. So to try and understand what our customers were buying on a Monday compared to a Friday, or this store compared to another store, different demographics... was very, very difficult.
The challenge that we were facing in our business was we had a huge amount of data that we were not using in a critical way. We didn't use it because it was it was very time consuming to analyse and get actionable insights from it. So we wanted to use that data to help understand our customers better and make better business decisions.
Before 11 Ants came along...we had decades worth of data, of transactions, customers, their interests, their purchasing habits, stored in any number of databases and being able to access that meaningfully was.. challenging. When we had an idea of what we were looking for, we would then sort of identify where that particular set of data was held, extract it, dump it into Excel and try and pivot it. Not always easily; and certainly not quickly.
Before 11Ants, the way we solved some of these issues were....over the course of years, develop template upon template upon template where we could data dump, adjust formulas, and manipulate data to get you close enough to make the right decision.
Lots of challenges - most of them were around being able to pull data out of our system in a meaningful way, in a nice efficient way. It was quite slow, quite tough, was unstructured, and very time consuming.
We weren't getting the growth that we were expecting in the business; and so we were trying to dig underneath those layers of data. Peeling back the onion to try and understand why we weren't getting that level of growth. So to try and understand the customer, what they were buying, or what they weren't buying, and try and come up with some actionable solutions. That was really the key thing we were after.
There were just so many questions we just struggled to answer and we ended up guessing. So we ended up doing a little bit of marketing over here, and a little bit more investment here... And it was not a cohesive solution, and we didn't know the cause and effect. You know, I love to do something and then see the effect of that. We couldn't have seen that; and it was quite disappointing. We ended up getting into 11Ants because of the graphical representation that, it shows the information in the data. With a lot of the other solutions, they really provided the engine, and then you still had to provide that user interface to be able to see and analyse and look at the data.
A light bulb moment which made us realise that we needed a new solution, was when our customers started to tell us more and more 'You should know us, you've got our data.' So it was actually not only a demand that came from within the business, but it actually came from our customers as well.
And then one day 11Ants came up; and we basically sit there with our jaws on the floor thinking, can I have this? Can I have this now? We'd never sort of realised there was the accessable capability to coherently merge all of our data and actually find something out about it, as opposed to simply regurgitate numbers and figures...until 11Ants came along. It's where do we find the money? Because we want this.
I still remember that afternoon, we were in the local meeting room going through that and how quick it was to download that data and to show what was working, what wasn't, what store's were working better and what weren't. The greens and the reds, the different size boxes, the way the flowcharts work, and then the way you can so quickly manipulate that data. And then if you want to get it out and put into Excel, you press a button, and it's done. It was...it was extremely user friendly.
It was a tool that we had never seen a business tool like this before that could have such a wide scope across our business. One of the biggest risks for Farro in using 11Ants is the fact that it wouldn't have been adopted across the business. This definitely wasn't the case! It has been a business tool that has been used from store level to executive level.
Part of any supermarket business and consumer business is that things change, categories change, consumer behaviour change. You need to add another store on, more work on online. Part of the concerns we had is if you install this data warehouse, put the visuals over the top of it and our business changes... what happens to the existing system? Do you have to then go and rewrite or reinstall, or do that? So that was one concern I had, in my position. What I found was and what we found was that as long as we change the data in our point of sale system, it just flows automatically through the 11Ants process. We've recently had quite a major change in some of our categories. The great thing is I can now go and look back a year, and two years, and can see those changes that we've made now are flowing back. So therefore, you can compare this week with last week, this month, last month and this year to last year - and that's very powerful as you start to change and modify your business, based on those consumer trends.
With a lot of the other solutions we did look at, the amount of data manipulation or changes that we had to do to get our data ready to be uploaded, was potentially of a concern. You know, I didn't want to have my team spending months, or weeks of time having to change the data, and then change it again and again to make it ready for the 11Ants process. Once we handed over our files, it was uploaded in a matter of - I think of - hours, and we could see what the system looked like. So it was amazingly quick, to get our data configured to the 11Ants process.
Our experience with the deployment process... We were nervous going in. We thought it was going to be complicated. We thought it was going to be time consuming. But we were very pleasantly surprised just how easy it was and the fact that it took less than ten days to actually deploy.
From the very first meeting we had with 11Ants, it was very clear to the marketing team, myself, that there was a great deal of of information, and worth in this product. We needed to find a way to demonstrate to the board, that spending money on this would provide a good return on the investment. We worked closely with 11Ants over a period of time...two or three months; and got our data into the system, looked at some things that we had never been able to look at before, took some actions from that. And within, or by the end of that proof of concept time, we were able to go back to the board and say 'we took these actions, and we saw that this return on the money that we had spent'. Which very clearly demonstrated to the board, there was a very high return on spending some money on this product; and it didn't take the board long to come back to us with a yes at that point.
11Ants has improved the effectiveness of me doing my job...just dramatically. Every day, I'm in it finding out information that has spread across the business to the stores, to management, marketing, categories - it's an incredible tool. Jobs that took me up to three days, are now done within fifteen minutes. And that gives me enough time to go back and find out more information and to get an actionable result out of what we're looking for.
Primary benefits for me...is just it's just time and being able to make decisions quickly. For me personally, I've got over 450 suppliers, nearly 5,000 product lines. So to be able to make decisions quickly, be able to understand performance of individual products. Whether it be a supplier coming in for a meeting, or whether it's an opportunity we need to explore, or whether it's just that we need to clean up based off margin and profitability. It provides a really, really quick way to find that information and make these decisions in a more efficient manner.
So...the use of 11Ants has improved my effectiveness, just with the sheer amount of data and how quickly we can analyse it. I think everyone in the business uses Key Measures every Monday morning to review the last week, and very quickly identify sort of the 80/20 rule, you know. What worked really well and what's not working so well; and be able to instantly put plans in place - that week - to respond to those. And in FMCG that's so important.
Using 11Ants has helped our business, because it's enabled us to know our customer and understand our customer better. Through that we've been able to personalise our communications, our service, our product, and actually serve them in a better way. Another benefit of using 11Ants is we've been able to improve our segmentation, our personalisation to our customers, build segments, and off the behaviour from the customers that we've identified... so through the segmentation, we've been able to tailor our marketing, and achieve a very positive return on investment.
We look at the return on investment from 11Ants in a couple of ways. One, quite simply from promo evaluation on the marketing activities that we do, most weeks. Using the Promo Evaluation Tool, we can clearly see, through those activities the uplfts, the margin gains that we've got. Those analyses used to take us sometimes weeks, now can take us a matter of five minutes to actually run, which is fantastic. So then that actually benefits us, getting those insights more quickly. We can adapt our marketing activities to be more tailored to the results that we're getting. How I know that this has been a successful implementation for Farro, is the fact that every day that we're talking about, we're making decisions that are data led; and we're talking about 11Ants, and have we actually seen what the data is saying? What our customers behaviour is telling us through 11Ants? So our decisions are not based on opinion anymore, they are much more based on what the data is giving us...those insights that we can act on.
11Ants has increased our capability, because it's provided us a framework to actually analyse our data in a more efficient way. We are a small, nimble, company that needs to act in a fast-paced way; and 11Ants has enabled us to do it. It has given us the horsepower of big companies, but enabled a small company, like ourselves, to actually have that competitive advantage.
One of the interesting questions that was raised when we first went through the return, or payback, the ROI of 11Ants was...you know, it should drive margin growth, profit growth, sales... for the business. It's been really difficult to try and determine exactly what has been attributed to 11Ants. But I think when you step back and have a look at - now - how embedded the 11Ants program visualisation is within our business, that myself uses it, all my direct team uses it, the stores use it, the categories are using it extensively for those guiding principles; and the categories analysts use it every day of the week. If we took it out, it wouldn't just leave a hole, it would just leave this gaping chasm, where we just wouldn't be able to guide the business anywhere near as well as we guide it now.
I already have recommended 11Ants a number of times to retailers that I know. It's a fantastic tool, it's easy to use. I use it every single day, and the results that it gives you are actionable and reliable.
If I was speaking to someone in my role at another retailer, I would definitely recommend 11Ants. Our ability to very quickly focus on that 80/20 rule, find products and promotions that are really working and driving our business, has dramatically increased since the uptake of 11Ants.
Absolutely I'd recommend 11Ants. Mainly for the time savings it's given me, but also for their willingness to work with us to build a better program.
Our overall experience using the 11Ants product has been fantastic. 11Ants have been a partner with us. We have loved how they have adapted their modules with our business needs.
It's a great tool. It is. It makes life easier, more informative, and it gives such reliable results.
If I was speaking to another retailer, I would recommend 11Ants, because it is a very in-depth, enabling, business tool, that you can use throughout your business to help you make better decisions, get closer to your customer, know them more. So then, in the end result, you will achieve better results.
I can easily show any retailer the value that we get out of 11Ants. The ease of manipulation, the ease of changes, and visually how well it shows the results of our actions. I would certainly recommend 11Ants to any retailer. The power of the data, the ease of use...is something that I have never found before. I would highly recommend 11Ants.
Tangible Business Benefits
Key business benefits realized by the retailer include:
Massive time savings.
Greatly enhanced understanding of impacts of various business activities.
Delivers value to stakeholders across entire business from executive to store level.
Ease and speed of implementation.
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