Dutch-based brand sharpens competitive edge with real-time ecommerce insights powered by Elastic’s search and analytics platform.
The Dutch-founded variety retailer is one of the most well-known retail brands in the Netherlands, with more than 750 stores across its home country and six further countries globally. The retailer offers a wide range of competitively priced household goods, including clothes, furnishings, toys, kitchenware, and groceries.
The retailer's business model historically relied on high-volume, low-margin transactions at stores. To streamline operational costs, it outsourced most of its IT infrastructure, including its ecommerce website.
This approach served the business well for many years while it focused on running stores in the Netherlands and neighboring countries, but growing consumer demand for ecommerce and new online competitors led the company to realize it needed to expand its ecommerce operations. To achieve this, the retailer brought its IT infrastructure back in-house and began the search for a modern, flexible solution to access, view, and analyze operational and business data. This included real-time analytics for sales operations, stock availability in stores, and insights on the effectiveness of promotions and customers’ behavior.
Easy-to-use, cloud-based ecommerce technology
The first step in the expansion of the retailers ecommerce operations involved migrating the majority of its ecommerce technology from Microsoft eCom server to Salesforce Commerce Cloud and implementing workloads on AWS. While this was a key milestone, it didn’t give the retailer an end-to-end view of its online retail operations.
The retailer's Manager of Architecture, Infrastructure and Platforms says, “We wanted to pull in additional data from our legacy systems to get the complete picture of our ecommerce operations and respond to new opportunities based on this information.”
After researching options, it became clear that Elastic was the best match for this goal. The retailer has deployed Elastic Enterprise Search on Elastic Cloud, aligning with its cloud strategy for large-scale, low-cost, and low-maintenance technologies.
Elastic provides flexible data integration that enables the retailer to combine data from business systems in the cloud, on-premise, or hybrid environments.
Real-time insights support rapid retail growth
Once the retailer was able to combine data from its legacy systems with the new cloud-based, ecommerce infrastructure using Elastic, it identified several opportunities to integrate and streamline retail processes and boost online sales. These included stock visibility, sales analytics for individual products and categories, and a clearer understanding of the effectiveness of promotion plans.
One of the most significant changes is the stock system. Inventory and sales data are imported into Elastic to generate immediate insights into sales performance, including analysis of product promotions.
The retailer also uses Elastic to monitor logs from approximately 200 microservices, APIs, and website processes including shipments, customer loyalty, and product information.
Additionally, the retailer is using Elastic Observability to monitor IT security and generate alerts triggered by data anomalies, other threat indicators, and crashes that would otherwise hinder the website's performance and other customer-facing systems.
Rapidly responding with sales and promotions
The retailer can confidently build out its ecommerce operations knowing that it can respond quickly to online sales opportunities and external events that shape buyer behavior.
The retailer can now proactively address technology issues before they disrupt sales and the wider business. “In the past, we sometimes received messages from customers telling us that a website feature wasn’t working. With Elastic, we’re alerted of any problems long before they impact our audience. This helps us fix issues before they affect too many customers and minimizes lost sales,” says the Architecture, Infrastructure and Platforms Manager.
Digital transformation delivered
Elastic has played a central role in the retailer’s digital transformation strategy. In just a few years, its ecommerce business has grown significantly without putting pressure on budgets and resources. “With Elastic, we can start small and expand our ecommerce operations at a pace that doesn’t disrupt our lean IT model,” says the Architecture, Infrastructure and Platforms, Manager.
This flexibility was critical during the Covid-19 pandemic when the retailer closed brick-and-mortar stores during public health lockdowns. “Elastic helped us quickly ramp up our ecommerce operations to pivot from traditional retail to modern, multi-channel sales seamlessly. For instance, we’ve implemented a “ship from store” functionality using Elastic,” the manager says.
The retailer sees further potential to expand Elastic usage as the retailer builds out an end-to-end monitoring framework and deploys a cloud-based data warehouse to provide additional performance insights.