The Electronic Retailing Association

Insight Article: The Importance of Real-Time Insights for Transforming Multi-Channel Retail by Darko Dujic

Darko Dujic, CEO Ceneje

Darko Dujic is CEO Ceneje d.o.o. and board member of Heureka Group. Heureka Shopping is the largest regional platform for online and comparison shopping present in 9 C. & E. European countries with over 55.000 web shops advertising and over 2 million buyers' visits in several thousand categories each day. Darko held important managerial positions at Google, Mercator, GfK and Interbrew. He is Co-Founder of several successful companies and investor in one of the most interesting, fast growing fintech and e-commerce startups in the region, Leanpay.

He obtained his Master's degree in the field of Strategic Marketing Management at IMB in Ljubljana and was invited to the Google Business Academy at Duke CE, USA. He is currently working on his PhD in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Darko Dujic was also a speaker at ERA Global's 2019 MCMS in Budapest.

Contact: Darko Dujic, MSci

Tel: 00386 59 0999 20

by Darko Dujic

It is obvious that the retail reality has changed and the majority of purchase decisions are made online, although still a considerable part of final act ‒ purchases happen offline.

We must acknowledge that not only online retail, but also the search for products is considerably more dynamic and faster than processes that drive traditional retail.

To manage it efficiently, we use different sets of data: own sales, loyalty, web and external market data from different data providers.

In the consumer goods category, there are still dominant offline, traditional, panel-based data sources that drive market insights.

Consumer research has changed the industry as data gathering and the statistical validity of conventional methods are becoming obsolete.

The industry is heavily disrupted - leading research companies are undergoing major transformations and some will not be able to adapt sufficiently to the new normal.

To better understand the drivers of this change in retail intelligence, we also need to understand the recent success of many platform-type businesses enabled by global internet accessibility and usage.

The new content is generated through web-based consumer platforms, either focused on a specific industry, product category, or services.

50 - 90% of users search online in different stages before purchasing. Source: Brand Performance Insights

On the one hand, this consideration may appear visionary but it is also a normal evolution of market data utilisation that follows the new retail paradigm. The fact that around 50 - 90% of users search online in different stages before purchasing, gives a lot of additional validity to an idea that comparison shopping platform data offer extremely suitable and actionable intelligence for efficient and responsive business optimisation.

Comparison-shopping platforms are taking intelligence to the next level

Large, online comparison-shopping platforms have decided to improve the intelligence and put it on the next level. They produce several billion data points related to purchases that can be added into unique real-time retail intelligence. A bi-product of this, is the possibility to track purchase behaviour in varying levels of granularity and add additional demand prediction based on relevant dynamic factors. These types of tools now enable merchants and vendors to access the market relevant data, tracking and visualisations, filters, report downloads and employ prediction models to be used daily or weekly for sales and marketing optimisation. Information regarding their product, price, marketing and retail performance with key features developed and integrated in all kinds of useful tools. They can also offer exact and focused filtering of data, sorted by brands, categories, time period and even price ranges.

Unlocking and Analysing Data is at the Heart of Business Transformation

Developing tools and business services to serve the needs of shoppers as well as sellers, is facing several challenges in the global trend of digital transformation process in different industries. The tools target data transformation, analytics and visualisation in the context of digital transformation processes that also target Artificial and Business Intelligence.

By unlocking and analysing data, tech companies are now at the heart of digital transformation, businesses are putting their data to work to improve customer experiences, streamline operations, and quickly launch new products and services.

Insights from both sides of the purchase process can increase profit

As customers who visit price comparison platforms are already deep inside the purchase journey, the presence of merchants and vendors at the main point of contact with their potential and existing customers is of high value. Following the data stream produced by both sides of the purchase process through the years, can give us most, if not all, important insights into the needs of shoppers, sellers and vendors and help them to dive deep, bring enlightenment and increase profit.

Those needs can be established through sorting, filtering and analysing data and later on developing and delivering tools which can assist in covering all important strategic and operational business decisions regarding demand, efficiency and purchase behaviour.

At the same time, by using technologically developed tools, the sellers can manage better categorisation and get brand and SKU level purchase information in the shortest possible time to react and improve pricing, sales and campaign efficiency.

There is an abundance of new consumer data that is the backbone for faster, data driven, automated omnichannel commerce.

Source: Brand Performance Insights

The extreme value of filtered data for shoppers and merchants

Finding relevant answers in a pile of data has never been as easy and at the same time as challenging as it is now. Unfiltered data cannot be used successfully and applied directly to the business due to their merged characteristics - on the other hand, data, prepared, filtered and implemented in the tools, can be of extreme value for shoppers and merchants.

Sellers or vendors are facing vast difficulties in the process of establishing new market entries with problems such as finding the optimal way of dispersing their costs among their marketing and sales activities. The uncertainty they face by relying only on their limited set of data to predict the future position of their brand, can be enormous. Also, the expense of focusing on their market rivals, if done thoroughly with additional technologies, tools and the necessary personnel, can mean a considerable increase in costs.

Collected Data Offers Consumer Benefits

One should not forget about the benefits that collected data can offer to the most important stakeholders in the ecommerce process ‒ the consumers. The importance of establishing their wishes and needs should be the first step of diving into the data. With the use of integrated behaviour data that new technologies (e.g. price comparison platforms) are now offering, the shoppers get a chance to see all relevant purchase information from others and can therefore obtain new insights into trends that other consumers see as valuable. The additional display of real time predictions can significantly support their purchase decisions.

Ceneje is developing a unique real-time retail intelligence tool

The Heureka Group is the largest regional online comparison-shopping platform, present in nine Central and East European countries and reaching 70 mio consumers, so developing a unique real time retail intelligence tool for the modern smart consumer, merchants and vendors was the next step for its leading Adriatic branch

Users are able to manage core product and brand activities daily. Source: Brand Performance Insights

Ceneje's objective was to aggregate and simplify views of data and deliver reliable insights (the next day) for users to promptly respond to market dynamics. With this, users are able to manage (daily in 8 CEE markets) core product and brand activities such as: Brand Performance Management or Benchmark, Assortment Management/Category Management, Category Seasonality and Event (Marketing) Impact, Marketing Efficiency- tracking and Evaluation, Price Positioning, Price Elasticity as well as Prediction of short-term Search Demand and SKU level analysis.

3 Different Views of Business Performance

The tool is structured in a way to show different dimensions of business performance with focus on Product Assortment Management, Price Development, Store Relationship, and Brand Management and it offers 3 different views:

- The Executive view, to get the general idea of the market development with a single glimpse on the visuals. How do I perform and compare to market? Are there any forecasted spikes?

- The Management view, to help user react to the insights gained in the Executive view. Focus on certain categories, price, channels or campaigns and developing operational improvement plans.

- The Operational view, enabling users to know on which categories, retailers or competitors to focus, and drilling down to the SKU level to make the campaigns and sales initiatives more effective. Also reacting on short term market deviations timely and efficiently.

Source: Brand Performance Insights

The tool brings benefits for all sides involved in online shopping

This tool like many others, aims to become a modern analytics and BI platform. It is a challenge to build on trends such as utilising digital culture and behaviour through transformation of data sources, creating a new decision intelligence as a framework that follows real time advance decision models that will eventually help shoppers and business scale their core capabilities, focus on their main challenges and therefore benefit all sides involved in online shopping.

Ceneje Logo

About Ceneje is the largest Slovenian price comparison and leading ecommerce search engine aswell as the leading comparison-shopping platform in the broader Adriatic region. Having more than 2.5 million unique users on their regional websites being active each month and 7000 online brands present on the Ceneje platform ‒ is the optimal purchase starting point for a modern smart consumer. In 2018 we became a part of the Heureka Group and the number of online merchants exceeded 36.000 aswell as number of monthly users in the Central and Eastern Europe reached 70 millions.

Since customers who visit the site are already deeply involved in the purchasing process, the presence of merchants and vendors at the main point of contact with their potential and existing customers is of high value. Knowing that, following the data stream produced by both sides of the purchase process through the years, provided most, if not all, of the important insights into the needs of shoppers, sellers and vendors. We are constantly learning about the difficulties they are facing in the process of establishing new market entries, problems with finding the optimal way of dispersing costs among their marketing activity and relying only on their limited sets of data to predict the future position of their brands.

Company Address: Ceneje d.o.o., Štukljeva cesta 40, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia