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HomeCloud ComputingHow one brand grew revenue and reduced churn through scaled customer personalization

How one brand grew revenue and reduced churn through scaled customer personalization

Retailers are becoming more skilled at making individual customers feel heard and valued. This is a necessity given the fact that 66% of respondents to a McKinsey survey stated that they expect email marketing messages to be tailored to their needs. While marketing personalization expertise is growing, it’s still difficult to manage, especially at scale.

Ocado Retail, one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers, delivering to over 645,000 customers in the U.K., has made personalization integral to its success. 

Let’s look at how Ocado retail worked with Google Cloud and partner Cognizant to develop a new data platform to power its personalization efforts from the ground up. 

Unifying data for more holistic, powerful personalization

To achieve its goals of personalization at scale, Ocado Retail needed a central data warehouse that could turn all forms of merchandising, advertising, business, and customer intelligence data into actionable insights. It wanted a means to accelerate customer segment identification, as well as the ideation and launch of relevant campaigns. 

“We standardized on Google Cloud, including BigQuery, as the foundation for our data platform because we knew it was the right solution for now and the future,” says Kieren Johnson, Head of IT at Ocado Retail. “We have an incredibly lean team and we needed a partner with exceptional expertise to help build an ambitious enterprise data warehouse to provide powerful insights. Cognizant was also the clear choice to help us get there.”

Cognizant worked closely with Ocado Retail to make sure its expertise in Google Cloud and other technologies aligned with Ocado Retail’s vision to drive more advanced personalization at higher scales using machine learning. The partner helped build the foundation on BigQuery, and then incorporated other Google Cloud tools such as Cloud Run, Vertex AI, and Vertex AI Natural Language to provide no-ops, all-code warehousing, and analytics capabilities.

Cognizant also took advantage of the Google Cloud Partner Success Services (PSS) program to ensure best practices were being followed throughout the project. PSS provided advisory services that guided Cognizant through the highly complex process of building the new data warehouse for Ocado Retail on Google Cloud.

Building the enterprise data platform in this way allows Ocado Retail to leverage the full power of cloud-based analytics while maintaining a lean team. It also allows the company to greatly scale up its personalization efforts.

Making customers feel valued at every touch

The work Ocado Retail has done with Google Cloud and Cognizant has positioned it to make its growing customer base feel valued, understood, and supported in every interaction. Before launching the project with Cognizant and Google Cloud, Ocado Retail was only able to run a couple of campaigns per week and knew it lacked optimal insight into each campaign’s efficacy. 

“We now run 10 times the number of campaigns we used to with the help of the data platform Cognizant built on Google Cloud,” says Kieren. “We run multiple campaigns every day for different customer segments, and all of that increased activity is entirely driven by data insights. The positive impacts on our marketing and customer service performance have been clear. We’re now working to expand what we do.”

Ocado Retail has enjoyed solid growth since the new data platform went live, including a 13% rise in active customers during fiscal year 2022, and has also seen a reduction in churn. It attributed these improvements to being better able to tailor products and communications to specific customer preferences.

Throughout the project, Cognizant supported data clean up while maximizing the scalable, flexible, and future-proofed data analytics infrastructure offered by Google Cloud.

Increasing data-driven actions

Ocado Retail plans to provide more data-driven insights to its commercial suppliers through a product called Beet Insights. So far, Beet Insights offers suppliers with intelligence about how their products are performing on the shelves. The result has been improving the role data plays throughout the supply chain, from production to purchase and beyond.

“By putting real-time insights about costs, marketing spend, and supply-funded activities into the hands of our commercial team and buyers, we are better positioned to improve our profits,” says Kieren. “At the same time, building data analytics into every part of our business will allow us to build on our personalization efforts.”

From the project’s inception, Ocado Retail ensured that the platform would be scalable and dynamic. Now, it is working to feed more data sources and streams into the warehouse to accelerate time to insights. Ocado Retail believes this next step in the evolution of the platform will unlock even more opportunities to initiate high-impact programs that transform personalization and every customer interaction.

Learn more about what Google Cloud and partners like Cognizant can do for your customer intelligence and personalization.

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