Sephora Asia details its journey to data-driven decision making

Head of business intelligence shares how the need to see digital sales in real time has evolved into an organisational intelligence program of work

From left: Christel Bouvron, Domo's Ben Schein and Paul Harapin
From left: Christel Bouvron, Domo's Ben Schein and Paul Harapin

Data-driven intelligence is key to the next-generation organisation, according to Sephora Asia’s head of business intelligence. But in order to get there, employees not only need to have access to data; they also need to be able to interrogate it effectively.  

Speaking at this week’s Domo City Tours event in Sydney, Christel Bouvron took attendees through the make-up retailer’s two-year journey to build a data-driven organisation off the back of Domo’s data reporting and analytics platform.

The initial software rollout was triggered by the need to better track sales in real-time during the annual Black Friday one-day event in 2016, Bouvron said. Sephora Asia gave Domo just two weeks to provide a solution that would help it to measure where sales were compared to targets across the eight markets it operates in.

“We added things around inventory, because in a one-day sale, you have inventory going down every time someone purchased, and we didn’t want our paid channels to advertise products going out of stock,” Bouvron explained. “We also measured traffic over hours. This was powerful, especially for marketing, because we were not advertising products that weren’t then available.

“With any big sale day, we always had stock problems around very popular products, so we didn’t want customers to be upset with us by not having that eyeshadow palette available.

“Previously, we would have crossed our fingers and waited for data the next day.”  

Last year, Sephora expanded to an omni-channel view of retail performance, bringing in in-store data. The move coincided with the exclusive launch of Rihanna’s Fenty range in Q3 and allowed the team to show daily sales across every store.

“This was a huge game-changer, especially for the retail side of the business – they knew at a deep granular level, of every SKU, what was selling well in each store,” Bouvron said.  

“Our brand partners always want updates, too. Previously, a data analyst would have to go deep into the system, pull out data, pivot it into an Excel file, and send that every day including weekends. We saved a significant amount of time doing this with Domo. So we gave brands access to the platform as well to see this information in real time.”

Today, Bouvron’s sights are firmly set on ensuring the whole organisation is data intelligent, from the 500 employees at HQ, through to those working across its 300-store network.

“Organisational intelligence is the next generation of organisation,” she continued. “But if you look at our business… I have a team of five people. If that analytics data capability just sat in my team, we are a little bit screwed.

“A truly data-driven organisation means every person, from the store managers to junior marketing executives, knows what metrics they should be tracking and the levers to their KPIs. So every morning, they know what their priorities for the day are.  

“We’re going out their educating the business on how to think about data critically. It’s not just having accessible data, but how to use it.”

Culture and function challenges

Getting to this point wasn’t without its challenges. One was the IT function. “IT typically has been a bottleneck,” Bouvron admitted, adding Domo’s cloud-based platform provided a way to bring together disparate data sets without the need for setting up enterprise data warehouses.

The second hurdle was getting people to move away from the old way of doing business. “In China especially, people are very used to Excel files and initially they wanted us to put those Excel files into Domo. That’s not the point of it,” Bouvron said.

“We had to find balance between making the transition easier for them and getting to the new. For example, we started with tables, then added in visualisations then started removing tables.

“What we are doing is really change management. I studied anthropology in college and used that a lot. We just tried to embed ourselves into their workflow. Yes we were trying to drive change but not in way that makes everyone reject it.”  

Bouvron suggested three strategies furthered data-driven decision making. The first was starting with the business and people, an approach that was based on the way Sephora as a retailer is structured.

“Second was to focus on ‘so what’. It’s not just data being accessible or visualising data, it’s around how to make better a decision,” Bouvron said. “It was important to focus on the decision, not just showing sales from yesterday.”

Third was a deliberate rollout strategy from the BI team to build champions across the business who would influence others. Bourbon’s team has also created a portal, called Domo Discovery, where people can discover what’s new, and what colleagues are looking at.

Ultimately, quick access to data insight is helping Sephora Asia to engage in more efficient decision making, Bouvron said. This could be a new store launch and understanding potential cannibalisation, or quickly gauging a new marketing campaign’s impact.

“We’re more confident in what we do,” she said. “As a growing retail business, we’re also always experimenting. Access to data is allowing us to innovate quickly, whether that’s around campaigns, or in-store innovation. This lets us see data and feedback really quickly and make a quick go or no go decision on that.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu    

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Are you sure they wont start a platform that the cheese is white, pretty sure that is racist

Hite

New brand name for Coon Cheese revealed

Read more

Real digital transformation requires reshaping the way the business create value for customers. Achieving this requires that organization...

ravi H

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

thanks

Lillian Juliet

How Winedirect has lifted customer recency, frequency and value with a digital overhaul

Read more

Having an effective Point of Sale system implemented in your retail store can streamline the transactions and data management activities....

Sheetal Kamble

​Jurlique’s move to mobile POS set to enhance customer experience

Read more

I too am regularly surprised at how little care a large swathe of consumers take over the sharing and use of their personal data. As a m...

Catherine Stenson

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Why does brand execution often kill creativity?

The launch of a new brand, or indeed a rebrand, is a transformation to be greeted with fanfare. So why is it that once the brand has launched, the brand execution phase can also be the moment at which you kill its creativity?

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in