How can Norwegian store chains become more data-driven?

Lars Thomte has extensive experience with digital communication and e-commerce from several large retailers such as Flisekompaniet, Byggmakker, Bohus and now as Marketing Director at Skeidar. Kåre Andrè Jevanord works as Chief Digital Officer in the electronics chain Power, and has extensive experience with digitalisation, online shopping & marketing from both the agency and retail side.

We have asked Lars and Kåre Andrè what it takes to become more data-driven.

panel discussion at OmniTalk 2022

What does it mean to work data-driven?

“To work data-driven is not a goal in itself,” says Lars. “For us at Skeidar, it’s more about going from being a reporting company to becoming an analysis company. Shifting the focus from historical data to predicative data. Data that shows why things are the way they are and what we can do about it. Look into the future.”

“In Power, we’ve had a lot of bad data since the dawn of time,” says Kåre Andrè. “For us, it is therefore about focusing on good data. Data that can be used for prediction. If we know that you have just bought a washing machine, we may not show you advertisements for washing machines. But this is based on historical data. What is much more interesting for us to know is what you are interested in now! What is the next product you are looking for and want to buy?”

“We use, among other things, popularity data (e.g. most visited products in the online store) for product scoring, and constantly create new hypotheses that are tested. E.g. we are now testing using external purchase data for prediction. Constantly testing new hypotheses and seeing failure as useful learning is an important part of working data-driven,” concludes Kåre Andrè.

How do you use data from user reviews?

“We at Power use data from user reviews in our purchasing work, e.g. for the development and improvement of our own brands, as well as in negotiations with suppliers – to get them to improve their products,” says Kåre Andrè. “Constructive criticism via user reviews is very useful. We have a lot of data today. So the goal is not more data, but rather how to get it further into the organization so that more people can make use of the data.”

“User reviews are an effective way of discovering defects in products, which we report to our manufacturers,” says Lars. “It is important for us to capture negative feedback, so that customer service can follow up on customers – and try to correct dissatisfaction, whether it concerns the quality of the product, delivery time, perceived service or other things.”

“We have also worked for a long time with dashboards for the stores, based on Google Maps”, continues Lars. “For a long time, only the operations department had access to this system. But it is important for the stores to monitor these user reviews on a daily basis, so that they have the opportunity to deal with both good and bad feedback – straight away. Instead of getting a message from the operations department afterwards.”

How do you get started with data-driven work?

“Skeidar is a traditional furniture chain that started an online store in 2020, and only then did we start working data-driven.” says Lars. “So starting an online store is a great way to get started!

We have chosen to link up with third-party suppliers who are experts in their areas. The advantage of this is that you get ready-made systems that work and easily can be integrated with existing systems. And then you can build on it bit by bit. We started e.g. by collecting user reviews in the online store. We then started collecting user reviews on a couple of stores. And then we build on, store by store. And are becoming increasingly data-driven. For us, this has been much better than going on expensive IT projects. And it helps to have a culture of sharing, innovation and development!” concludes Lars.

“You have so many sources of data, many departments that work with data in their own ways, and who are used to using their own sources, across departments.” says Kåre Andrè. “So working data-driven is in many ways also about change management. It is important to find internal ambassadors who want to do things in new ways”

Want to learn more?

Read the summary from Ole Martin Evensmo’s lecture“How to use user reviews as part of an omnichannel strategy?”

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