Jonathan Staton, Data Analyst
Drives 6% higher client revenue by unifying e-commerce operations with the Tray Platform
Saves 24 weeks per year of manual reporting and analytics work
Syncs inventory data from 160+ Minor League Baseball teams to provide a single, reliable record of inventory for their web store
Snow Commerce is a leading agency that empowers clients to run successful e-commerce programs using industry-leading platforms, including Hybris, Magento, Amazon, Shopify, and WordPress. Since the company’s founding, Snow Commerce has grown 50% year over year.
“While it’s been exciting to see our company grow rapidly as the e-commerce partner for world-class brands such as NBC Universal, CBS, and Dell, working with such huge brands means we have to manage increasingly large sets of data, which is impossible to manage manually,” says Snow Commerce data analyst Jonathan Staton.
Of the many services that Snow Commerce offers its clients, web analytics and reporting were proving to be the most challenging to scale. For every engagement, the team delivered a series of custom dashboards that required weeks of manual work to assemble, often from team members with limited technical expertise. To top it off, different clients used different e-commerce platforms, which added to the complexity of setting up new data dashboards.
“Starting out, we had an immediate need for an automated solution that gathered and processed data,” explains Staton. “We rely on our dashboards not only internally to direct strategy, but we also share them with our clients to highlight performance metrics, including their top-selling products and areas of improvement.”
“Without an in-house team dedicated to building these integrations, both the accuracy and the speed of our reporting capabilities suffered.”
Snow Commerce frequently tackles challenging e-commerce scenarios that require syncing data from multiple sources. For example, the company provides the e-commerce presence for Minor League Baseball (MiLB), which has more than 160+ teams spread across the United States. Each has its own identity, logos, and merchandise.
“MiLB wanted to combine all of their products onto one store, while still allowing smaller, team-specific shops to operate,” says Staton. Specifically, the league wanted a single web store that aggregated merchandise and inventory data from each team, providing real-time information to the main site on low and out-of-stock items. “But we had no way of syncing their product and inventory info, so we didn’t have the insights to properly manage each store, such as ensuring teams weren’t overselling on specific items or tracking overall inventory in real time.”
Snow Commerce needed a platform that was flexible enough to handle multiple use cases for enterprise application integration to consolidate data from multiple applications. The team had been using a series of different tools to generate client dashboards that ultimately resulted in a disparate, difficult-to-manage collection of data stored in a spreadsheet.
Snow Commerce built out an analytics team, but still needed an easy-to-use data integration tool that didn’t require involvement from the company’s developers, who were busy building out mission-critical functionality to grow the business. The team’s first attempted fix involved a customer data platform, which ultimately didn’t offer the flexibility needed to transfer and manipulate data seamlessly. The Snow Commerce team then started evaluating other enterprise data integration solutions. It was ultimately an easy decision for the team to choose the Tray Platform, which offered a simple, low-code interface that let the analytics team easily connect multiple data sources and automate the data collection that Snow Commerce’s clients needed.
Snow Commerce’s performance dashboards serve two purposes. First, the team needed dashboards as an internal tool to guide strategic decisions, and second, the team needed a resource to share key metrics with clients, including things like customer data, product info, order history, and refunds.
Prior to using the Tray Platform, the Snow Commerce team would embark on a week-long process for multiple team members to first wrangle data from multiple e-commerce platforms, and then manually reformat it in a spreadsheet. Only after many days of time-consuming data collection and preparation would the data be ready to input into a data warehouse to create a dashboard.
With the Tray Platform, Snow Commerce was able to design fully-automated processes that connected its clients’ e-commerce platforms directly with the team’s data warehouse solution to prepare data in batches without weeks of manual work (or manual errors). Now with enterprise automation, Snow Commerce could access reliable, real-time data instantly after the team launched a new store or initiative for its clients.
“Having accurate and timely client-facing dashboards is extremely important for us. It doesn’t just help prove our value to clients. It also offers them a visual representation of how a standout e-commerce strategy affects their bottom line,” Staton explains.
“Every minor league team has distinct branding, logos, and merchandise. MiLB approached us because they wanted to consolidate all of their teams’ inventories into one site. At the same time, each team wanted to retain their own pages,” says Staton.
The Snow Commerce team knew it had to build a bi-directional sync of inventory data between multiple websites, ensuring both the main MiLB site and team-specific webpages had real-time updates on inventory to prevent overselling and ensure each team could always fulfill any order.
“The Tray Platform proved indispensable in our efforts to grow customer revenue and deliver actionable insights by unifying essential e-commerce data.” Not only were we able to create a fully unified site for all existing teams, but the platform makes it simple to add additional team pages as the league grows.”
“Before the Tray Platform, it took two team members one week to develop the necessary dashboards for a monthly report. That quickly adds up, and over a year, you’re talking about months in lost productivity,” explains Staton. “With our automated process, we can invest our resources into delivering bigger and better projects for our clients instead.”
“Additionally, our engagement with MiLB helped the league’s web store generate 6% more revenue, which wouldn’t exist without the Tray Platform. We’ve delivered incredible value, and the client couldn’t be happier with the result.”
Staton has big plans for the Tray Platform at Snow Commerce. “We’re thinking about how we can apply automation to other manual processes in our organization as we scale. You can hire three to four people to develop these processes. Or provide one person with the right tools for the job.”
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