If you want to read the full case study as a downloadable PDF, you can get it here. A German version of this blog post is available as well. Fashionette is a young German e-commerce company, which...
Fashionette is a young German e-commerce company, which sells designer handbags through its online shop. The company was founded in 2008 and has overseen impressive growth since its founding. Fashionette has established itself as the largest online retailer specializing in selling designer bags in German-speaking markets.
The company achieved its position as a market leader by offering a broad product range curated by fashion experts, as well as implementing eye-catching marketing activities - ranging from influencer marketing to more classical forms of online and offline advertising.
Moreover, Fashionette’s corporate philosophy ensures that customer satisfaction remains at the very top of its priorities.
The e-commerce industry emphasizes a continual drive for innovation - without investments in UX, technology and demand generation, most companies will struggle to survive. Fashionette, on the other hand, has tackled these challenges admirably: setting one record-breaking year after another.
Though, the management team had an even bigger goal in mind: Fashionette should become a digital pioneer in its core markets. Smart data should be the driving force behind this ambition to accelerate decision making, as well as further growth and innovation. The first strategic step in this process was to create a new department called “Marketing Technology”, which would amalgamate the rest of the marketing matrix organization.
This new layer to the company's organization would in-turn connect each part of the organization and establish a technology-driven & future-proof approach to cross-team collaboration.
Maximilian H. Nierhoff, the newly appointed Head of Marketing Technology, was at the forefront of this digitalization effort: combining the best of three often disconnected worlds: marketing, IT and data.
Professional data and API management
In the process of defining and building the new data infrastructure, it quickly became apparent that it would be impossible to introduce the necessary tools with an average IT contractor. The marketing strategy needed a highly sophisticated tool to truly realize such an ambitious goal. For its data-driven daily business, the marketing team needed to integrate over 40 different data sources - from social media to CRM, adserver data and so forth.
To paint a holistic picture of all advertising activities and to analyze their ROI, it was necessary to connect data from all these marketing tools within one system. Combining such data with sales and logistics KPIs was essential for the management team to continue to make the right decisions and lead the company in the right direction.
The company needed a professional API and data management platform - something that was impossible to achieve with internal resources due to its technical complexity.
“The advantages of having a specialized platform like Adverity quickly became clear: we were immediately convinced by the professional API management and the increased data quality.”
Maximilian H. Nierhoff, Head of Marketing Technology at Fashionette GmbH
Holistic overview of business operations
Optimizing internal workflows by automatically connecting and exchanging data with every internal and external partner.
Optimized marketing performance
Introduce a near real-time overview of each campaign and cross- channel activity to produce meaningful insights and implement quick optimizations.
Digital transformation and business agility
Maximum agility and transparency for powerful analyses and data- driven decision making throughout the entire organization.
Fashionette's marketing team was confronted by a challenge that's typical for the e-commerce business: improving the return on investments (ROI) for its marketing activities and reducing the customer acquisition costs (CAC) over time.
The costs of acquisition may vary significantly by channel and campaign and impact, therefore, the lifetime value of each and every new customer. It's clear that assessing performance retrospectively is not enough - managing activities, from affiliate to social media and display advertising, in close to real time is crucial to monitor success or deficiencies quickly.
Less is more
Even though Fashionette is a comparatively young and agile company ahead of its competition, the company was still struggling to remove its data and department silos and see its marketing as an integrated, comprehensive business resources. In the past, the team generated marketing reports manually and displayed the key performance indicators (KPI) in elaborate Excel sheets.
While these spreadsheets always fulfilled their purpose, the ability to display complex data in an easily digestible way was still limited. At the same time, this resource-heavy process was quite error prone and wasn't able to provide what the marketing leaders had hoped for: aligning KPIs through a standardized scheme to blend and compare data and get the most insights from their activities.
The collaboration between Fashionette and Adverity started in 2018 after the project leaders decided to invest in a modernized IT infrastructure and a dedicated marketing data warehouse. Adverity's task was at the heart of the data efforts: acquiring, cleaning & transforming and finally providing all relevant marketing data to the warehouse. In addition, Fashionette decided to implement Adverity's visualization solution: Adverity Insights - hosted on powerful Amazon Aurora servers. This allows the team at Fashionette to visualize their data in individual dashboards that have been tailor-made according to specific user groups and hierarchies - from operational staff to the management board.
After implementation of these new tools, many workflows in the departments changed significantly: instead of logging into different tools, downloading reports and copy-pasting the numbers into sheets, the relevant data was literally waiting for its users in the dashboards, without anyone having to take care of it.
Daily reports are automatically updated and sent to each stakeholder, where the most important KPIs are displayed in relevant visualizations and connected to other data streams to deliver quick and meaningful insights.
Fast campaign optimization
The effect on productivity was even greater than the management hoped for. Thanks to the automation of integral processes, such as data integration and visualization, the decision-making process was accelerated on every level.
Also, working habits evolved quickly as a result of business data being available so openly and transparently across the organization - giving each employee an opportunity to see and analyze high-quality datasets to support their workflows. Under the previous approach, staff were required to perform a lot of manual work to aggregate and manipulate datasets.
By contrast, they can now easily implement improvements and adjust campaigns on the fly. With the ambition to get the maximum out of their advertising data, everybody is strongly committed to further enrich the big picture of marketing.
"Adverity received the highest score when it came to implementing our feature requests during the onboarding period. Our expectations for highest data quality and maximizing analytics have been exceeded."
Maximilian H. Nierhoff, Head of Marketing Technology at Fashionette GmbH
There was a strong change of attitude towards automation, data and tech - and this overall progression might prove to be the biggest benefit for Fashionette.
By choosing to pursue an agile digitized business world, daily business and working habits aren’t going to change entirely: more time can be dedicated to implementing improvements, instead of wasting valuable resources on manual data wrangling.
To further accelerate the implementation of Adverity’s software across the entire organization, Adverity adopted a "train the trainer" approach to ensure product know-how was transferred organically into each and every working group. New and existing employees should clearly benefit from the workshops that have been completed by their co-workers.
There will be dedicated analytics evangelists throughout the company who will receive specific training sessions to increase their awareness of the latest product features. They will, in turn, pass on their newfound knowledge internally. This way, the entire organization stands to benefit from enhanced internal understanding that will help foster a future-proof mindset across each department.
This process provides a lot of further advantages to the company: first of all, the internal digitalization process will be further accelerated - becoming much more than just any IT-led project.
Secondly, democratization of data will continue to shape the newly adopted business structure and empower each employee to take a look behind the curtain and better understand their direct impact on the numbers and gain a holistic picture of marketing - no more silos, no more separation.
"A comprehensive overview of our data provides everyone, from individual contributors to top-level management, the possibility to unlock hidden potential: from uncovered insights on our activities to improved data-backed decision making. We are very proud of our innovation-focused teams, who continually work on improving the company, our figures and developing themselves. While we were always able to calculate ROI and contribution margins, the quality of our forecasts and overall business numbers increased significantly, due to the simple fact that we all access a single source of data truth and are able to compare apples with apples. A real game changer for every company."
Dr. Sebastian Siebert, CEO at Fashionette GmbH
To learn more about how AWS and Adverity can help your business, visit this AWS page. Obtaining an AWS Big Data Competency means Adverity has a proven expertise in Big Data on AWS. Adverity is a loyal customer since 2014 – and a large variety of AWS services is still Adverity’s first choice when it comes to scalability and reliability. In 2019 and beyond, we want to grow with Amazon and offer our clients an optimized technical infrastructure.