RedMart cuts analytics time by 70-80 percent with Tableau & Amazon Redshift



RedMart is a Singapore-based online grocery marketplace. To track success, RedMart analyzes customer behavior on web and mobile channels. But business users didn't have easy access to the data. Report generation took days—and the information was usually stale by the time they were delivered. They needed a new solution that was easy to implement, but powerful enough to handle their needs.

Customers can order groceries directly from RedMart's website, saving time and money.

RedMart offers competitive prices on a wide range of groceries and household essentials, with the convenience of home delivery seven days a week.

With its mission to save shoppers time and money for the important things in life, the company decided to invest in Tableau to enable real-time insights into buying patterns and trends.

RedMart uses Tableau across various departments within the company including merchandising and commercial, marketing, customer service, corporate development and finance. Tableau helped the company improve customer service, business efficiencies, and operations.

Using Tableau and Amazon Redshift, RedMart has been able to:

• Cut down the time spent on analysis to about one fourth of the original
• Gain real-time visibility into data, facilitating quicker decision making
• Reduce report creation timelines from days to hours


Using data to gain useful, actionable insights

RedMart, a Singapore based online grocery marketplace, has a mission to save shoppers time and money for the important things in life. It offers competitive prices on a wide range of groceries and household essentials with the convenience of home delivery seven days a week.

Founded in March 2011 by Roger Egan, Vikram Rupani, and Rajesh Lingappa, the company is backed by well-respected investors and advisors, including Toivo Annus (Skype Co-founder), Eduardo Saverin (Facebook Co-founder), Jason Ackerman (CEO of FreshDirect), Visionnaire Ventures, and SoftBank Ventures.

The company management believes that customer centricity is the key for any e-commerce company, and is constantly looking for ways to become more customer centric.

RedMart maintains a 100,000 square foot warehouse, which can store tens of thousands of items. The company regularly stocks more than 16,000 products, with more added on a regular basis. Fast, updated insight into inventory and shipment data is important to ensure RedMart meeting its customers’ expectations.

RedMart’s business intelligence (BI) team also wanted to keep close track of customer behavior on the web and mobile channels. They knew that data could give them insights necessary to deliver personalized experiences, determine optimal pricing, and improve customer service.

But while the team had the data they needed, they had no mechanism in place to get timely insights that could guide business decisions.

Earlier the team was using a SAAS-based business intelligence tool that had limited reporting capacity, supporting only canned reports.

Unfortunately, most of RedMart’s data was in different silos and the reporting mechanism allowed for only one report at a time from each data source. Even worse, business users were not able to access the data themselves—instead the IT department was required to handle report generation. Ad hoc reports took so long to create that the answers were stale by the time the reports were delivered. And if newer data became available, the report had to be run again—a process that could take days.

As a result, departments often resorted to producing their own analyses in Microsoft Excel, which isn’t an ideal tool for this function since it takes longer and brings down the reliability of data. This process prevented management from making fast, informed, data-driven decisions.

“We were keen on a tool that could produce useful, user-generated reports,” said Prashant Parashivapgol, BI Architect, RedMart. “From my experience, I knew Tableau was the best solution to help us transform data from multiple sources into useful information.”

In our organization, Tableau has undoubtedly paid for itself. The best ROI is that it has helped us put a smile on our customers’ faces. You can’t put a number on that.

Tableau + Amazon Redshift: Better business insights across departments

“In September 2014, RedMart decided to move to a BI platform built on Amazon Redshift and Tableau. We chose this solution because it was easy to build and fast to implement,” said Prashant.

In about a month’s time, two developers set up a collection of executive dashboards and reports. Now, RedMart has heads of each department using Tableau and interacting with the data for day-to-day operations.

The BI team has integrated data from various systems—fulfillment systems, warehouse management systems and other disparate sources like APIs, Google Analytics, and more. All of this data is stored in Amazon Redshift. Analysts build their data analyses in Tableau Desktop, which offers a native connector to Redshift. They publish completed reports to Tableau Server, a server-based collaboration solution. Business users can log into the Server and securely view and interact with any data analytics they have permissions to view. There is no need to share files or require any special connections.

Today, the Tableau plus Redshift solution is used across RedMart. For example, the merchandising and commercial teams use Tableau to study margins and analyze category performance for optimal product selection. And the marketing team at RedMart uses on Tableau to study the uptake of various initiatives and improve promotional offers.

The customer service team uses Tableau to track the number of customer contacts for any given day or week. The team can also analyze based on the type of contact, whether it is about a broken item or delayed delivery. They track this data on a weekly basis to identify trends; customer service measures are put in place accordingly.

The Operations team looks at Tableau analyses to improve warehouse usage. They rely on Tableau to track entry and exit of each item to ensure optimal stock levels.

And because employees can access the data to answer their own questions now, the BI team is spending less time on report generation. Instead, they are free to focus on strategic efforts such as data integration.

Tableau has been a catalyst for cultural change in the company as it brought in the data-driven culture.

Data-driven culture and happier customers

With Tableau, departments have reduced report generation effort by 70-80 percent compared with their prior Excel-based effort.

Using Amazon Redshift and Tableau, report creation is quick, even when analyzing millions of rows. The time taken to create a report has gone down from days to hours. Users can refresh existing reports without having to create an entire report from scratch in complicated query languages.

“Tableau has been a catalyst for cultural change in the company as it brought in the data-driven culture,” said Prashant. “Every team today has access to data that they rely on for day-to-day decision making.”

Greater data visibility has also facilitated more useful, informed discussions and meetings. With Tableau, data can be sliced and diced and summarized in numerous ways, which makes it easier to run promotions, source merchandise and execute operations efficiently.

“In our organization, Tableau has undoubtedly paid for itself. The best ROI is that it has helped put a smile on our customers’ faces. You can’t put a number on that,” said Rajesh.

Since Tableau is easy to learn, users can create their own reports even without expertise in data reporting tools, since Tableau is intuitive with its drag and drop features.

With RedMart planning to venture into Southeast Asia next year, it expects to confront different business problems and a much larger user base. But the team believes that Tableau will provide a strong foundation that will make it easier to enter new markets since it has data readily available from day one.

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