Zoined is built on the analysis of data, and it’s this data that helps retail companies to innovate the way they run their business. When it was founded, the company relied on another columnar database and open source components. As it started to grow in scale and size, it realized it needed a more robust analytic engine to power its application.
“Our existing database was no longer being supported so inherent weaknesses were not being addressed,” explains Styrbjörn Torbacke, Managing Director, Zoined. “We began looking at alternatives. The other competing alternatives displayed a performance that was 10- 15 times inferior to our previous optimized solution, while Vertica was 2-3 times faster. Initially, we didn’t even consider Vertica – coming from open source, we thought it would be too expensive because it’s feature-rich and comes from a huge company. However, when we looked more closely, it was well within our budget.”
The evaluation process proved that Vertica could outperform the existing solution by two or even three times, straight out of the box.
As we empower the analytics of multiple end customers, performance was the number one criterion, followed by the global reach to support Zoined’s expansive ambitions. The company also wanted access to features such as machine learning to evolve its own product.
“It is a feature-rich platform in areas where we lack capability, so we know that, when we are ready as a company to explore new technologies, Vertica will be able to support us,” adds Torbacke.
The next challenge was then to integrate it with the existing datasets. The Vertica team provided access to a trial environment to run production tests using Zoined’s own data. Zoined then worked with the Vertica team to migrate its customers one-by-one over the course of two months. Now, new customers can be up and running within 24 hours.
“Currently, it is a strictly Cloud-based product running on Amazon Web Services’ infrastructure, however, we know some retailers consider Amazon as a competitor, so Vertica allows us to be multi-cloud and to offer Google, Azure and on-premise hosting,” continues Torbacke. “That flexibility will be essential as we grow. Currently we have over 450 databases but with multiple databases per customer warehouse, at least according to the way we use data warehouse vs. database, on Vertica with instant analytics access for users.”
Zoined brings together customer data such as sales figures, conversion rates, footfall, employee attendance or productivity metrics. It then crunches the numbers using Vertica and presents the data back to the customer in visually friendly web and mobile apps. This allows them to make smarter decisions and react more quickly anywhere.
“Customers might process tens of thousands of data rows each day and Vertica is the platform that makes sense of it all,” says Torbacke. “A great Zoined feature is that each customer can pick and choose which analytics service they want, growing their solution as analytic appetite rises in the company. For example, a leading sporting goods retailer started only with POS data, but then added E-commerce data, then footfall in stores and its loyalty scheme.”
Vertica scalability enables Zoined to package valuable data in a meaningful way and deliver it across the business as no traditional offer could. Traditional retail analytics are only made available to a handful of senior decision makers, however the Zoined app can be made available to any employee and requires next to no training.
“Zoined doesn’t charge per user, so our customers can deploy analytics to all staff and then, all of a sudden, rather than data being queried by few users in HQ, it is freely available to thousands in the organization,” comments Torbacke.
As an OEM partner, Zoined is impressed by the cost-effective, flexible pricing model and its simplicity. While many analytics product pricing schema can be complex, including factoring in CPU usage, data volume and other elements, Vertica is priced according only to the quantity of data. “It is a linear, predictable pricing structure that makes forecasting simple when you are scaling up a pay-as-you-grow pricing model for your own customer in a greenfield sector,” remarks Torbacke.
It also makes life easy for Zoined customers, who have heaped praise on its new retail analytics platform. It also makes life easy for Zoined customers, who have heaped praise on its new retail analytics platform.
“I found myself spending more time on Zoined than on my Facebook account,” stated Mark Hermann, VP Sales & Operations Global at Molton Brown, while Aarno Pohtola, CEO, Finland and Baltics, The Body Shop says: “The key tool behind our success has been Zoined Retail Analytics service. It has helped us to react quickly to changes in the market and to split our goals to a very concrete level in the stores. As a chain management tool Zoined has proved to be invaluable.”
Another example is retailer Cath Kidston where Zoined was being piloted in its Japanese operations. Before the UK deployment took place, one store manager had already negotiated access to the platform, providing a clear six months of comparative performance. On average, this UK outlet outperformed surrounding stores across a number of metrics by 20 percent, simply by having a continuously better understanding of operations.
“Without Vertica, Zoined would look much different to the way it does today,” concludes Torbacke. “And for our customers it is proving invaluable. That is the impact that our company and Vertica can offer.