Analytics Unite Brings Data to Life During Captivating 10-Year Anniversary Celebration
Thursday, May 4
Bringing Data to Life Through Sustainable Partnerships
During the breakout session “How Data and Analytics Are Leading to Healthier Food Choices,” Matt Weber, Kum & Go’s director of business insights and analytics, and Johnny Stoddard, MarketDial’s chief customer officer, spoke about how the retailer used data and analytics to drive a strategic initiative for a healthy food launch.
Kum & Go is a Midwestern convenience store chain with about 400 stores in 13 states, and the chain was recently acquired by Maverik. The retailer began its healthy choices initiative by conducting analysis to determine the consumer to which healthy food would appeal along with studying first-party data from its loyalty program to discover if these consumers were already shopping at its stores.
Kum & Go partnered with MarketDial to test and understand the success of this initiative. MarketDial designed an A/B test analyzing Kum & Go’s first-party data in which it selected a set of stores to implement the healthy food initiative. The analytics problem statement was: How to design a test where it could reduce bias, but also work within practical business constraints? Some of the constraints were time, speed to market, test size, test length, and expense. Broadly speaking, the solution was to design a non-biased sample group and then pick a well-matched control group to measure against. MarketDial analyzed data to find a non-biased sample of 30 stores that would represent the different formats of the 400-store fleet.
Kum & Go started with a traditional convenience store food program, and conducted construction to change the store layout to accommodate made-to-order food along with the new equipment and technology to retail it. Assortment changes in the center store were also necessary to compliment the new food program. Additionally, a complete app redesign was needed to accommodate made-to-order food retailing.
“The big reason you test is the unknowns like what are the unintended consequences — the things you didn’t anticipate,” Weber said.
In 2021, Kum & Go started with an operational test in one of its Des Moines, Iowa, stores to determine construction plans and equipment. The retailer then began a full brand refresh and store remodel along with the made-to-order and grab-and-go healthy food product launches in its 30 designated market areas for the next 26 weeks.
“One of the great parts with test and control is we didn't just see an impact to the food,” Weber said. “We could measure impact to other categories. For instance, which categories were impacted positively or negatively? And it really gave us some insights into when we go into that next round of what do we need to do?”
For example, cold fountain sales were impacted because the station was closed for a long time during the remodel. Kum & Go was able then to adjust the remodeling schedule. Kum & Go also showed through its loyalty program data that a huge shift to pizza occurred, so the retailer expanded grab-and-go options in its made-to-order initiative. Signage and equipment also were adjusted based on data.
In the second phase of testing, Kum & Go conducted some ethnographic studies to examine customers’ experiences. What the retailer found was one of the greatest barriers to trial of the new food program was habits and mission-driving shopping. In turn, the retailer created a little bit of friction to motivate consumers to notice the new menu and food program. Kum & Go will be moving into new markets this year and will be optimizing its kitchen and staffing after insights from its trial.
“If every idea that we had worked, then you wouldn’t need to do A/B testing,” Weber said.
Building an Analytics Organization With a Value-First Mindset
In “Leveraging AI to Break Down the Physical Walls of Retail,” four industry experts dug into the topic that’s top of mind for every executive in the retail and consumer goods industry: The potential impact of generative AI and how best to prepare for it.
Christopher Stephens, former head of data at American Eagle, joined Daniel Feldhusen, VP, AI, and data solutions at Eviden, and Jacque Istok, VP, Data, VMware, in a discussion facilitated by Michael Jafari, VP, head of Americas sales, resource, and services at Eviden, that was framed as a way for businesses to understand all the necessary perspectives when thinking about upleveling the capabilities within an organization. This includes what the business wants (via Stephens); how organizations can wrangle data and create insights from it (via Istok); and who the partners are that can help (via Feldhusen).
While opinions varied, the discussion was rooted in the foundational belief that today’s retail and CG leaders must recalibrate their business, their tech stack, and themselves to prepare. What’s more, transparency and ethics will be critical to success, as it will ensure customer experiences remain humanizing.
“How is the company protecting the human aspect of the people working here?” Feldhusen suggested companies ask themselves. “This is an augmentation to your existing skill set to give your customer a better experience. You should be spending your time talking to your customers.”
Analytics Solving for Tomorrow’s Disruption
What are today’s consumer goods and retail executives most excited about regarding supply chain changes they’ve seen across both industries in the last few years?
Pradipta Saha, executive director of digital supply chain at Estée Lauder, and Ashok Viswanathan, director of supply chain analytics at Best Buy, both agree that a major supply chain change comes from organizations looking to enhance and evolve their strategy and investing in a more holistic manner so that long-term capital investments create the supply chains of the future.
“The supply chain now has a more important role to play in measuring and providing solutions for all these organizational decisions,” said Viswanathan.
Saha emphasized that it’s not that supply chain teams have changed, so much as priorities are now more geared toward resilience, supply visibility, and, at the core, getting away from functional silos to see everything from the lens of the consumer. It’s about asking, “What is the end-to-end impact of everything you do?”
Read the extended coverage here.
Automating Experiences for Predictive Results
How can companies better leverage data to deliver personalized consumer experiences?
According to Darrin Samaha, VP of marketing at Yesway, automation is a key focus area, and we’re only just now starting to scratch the surface of what it can do in terms of influencing CX.
“When you look at things we’re able to do today that we weren't able to do even three years ago, it’s incredible,” he stated during a panel discussion. “What will we be able to do three years from now?”
Samaha was joined by Mark Edmonson, chief marketing officer, Materne North America, and Andy Walter, strategic advisor, P&G (retired), who moderated the conversation. The three of them discussed their own organization’s data journey, where they stand on the road to predictive analytics for personalized results, and how loyalty programs play a role.
Read the extended coverage here.
The Power of Cross-Domain Data in the New Analytics Economy
“Pursue the problems, not the business cases,” was the first core principle Rob Birse, VP, global advanced analytics and AI/ML technology at the Kellogg Company shared with the audience at Analytics Unite.
Talking about the customer problems that need to be solved is a good way to start the conversation, he said, because “it creates a common language between the analytics and the commercial around your business.“
He pointed to the three horizons the company uses to plan against: now, next, and beyond. A ‘now’ horizon use case focuses on what can be done today to visibly move the needle in the eyes of the stakeholders in the shortest time possible.
The "next" horizon involves enterprise-grade operationalization with a deeper investment in scaling. The "beyond" horizon “brings the shock and awe to your story; it’s the sizzle in your analytics, the shiny object.”
Read the extended coverage here.
Friday, May 5