Bloom and Wild Finesses the Workflow of Flower Deliveries
London-based Bloom & Wild is bringing joy to the flower delivery market, one bouquet at a time. With operations in Ireland, Germany, France and its headquarters in the U.K., Bloom & Wild is working toward market leadership in every area they operate.
Unlike most e-commerce industries where companies can hold on to inventory without concern, flowers must be picked and packed at the perfect time, with reliable, calculated forecasting to ensure there is little wastage. To ensure they maximize their operational efficiency throughout all departments at the company, Bloom & Wild turned to Sisense to supercharge their data analysis.
Unlocking actionable insights
Bloom & Wild had already deployed Sisense for a few months before its data team had been fully built and utilized. The analytics platform was only used by a few developers and wasn’t really being leveraged to its full potential to create actionable insights across the business.
“With the cadence of reporting we wanted to achieve, we needed a more automated solution for our growing data team and other disciplines,” said Dave Marshall, Lead Data Scientist at Bloom & Wild. “For other requests, people were exporting data out of the internal system, putting it in Excel and pivoting, and some people were doing that every half hour.”
Bloom & Wild began to embrace Sisense’s potential as a complete BI solution, expanding the number of users on the platform from four to close to 60. Today, nearly everyone at the company accesses Sisense regularly. The ability to combine and track multiple data sources intuitively fits perfectly for Bloom & Wild’s wide range of uses. Marshall is a big fan of Sisense’s high-performance Elastic Data Engine, which simplifies the process of blending data sources together to form a single source of truth for all departments.
Its operations team uses Sisense to track how many flowers they have in stock, to know whether packages are delivered successfully, and to look ahead to future delivery orders to order more flower supply. Its marketing team tracks email performance, evaluates the various sources of website traffic and researches the value of inbound customers from different channels.
The finance team also tracks its core metrics through Sisense, while the development team keeps an eye on performance related to changes they make to the website. Finally, the customer delight team pays close attention to customer queries through the platform to improve the brand’s service every day. By automating the routine across every business function, Marshall and the data team are then able to focus on personalization of customer experience.
“Our data team acts not only to deal with the incoming requests for data, but also drive other teams to use data to the best of their abilities,” said Marshall. “These metrics are critical for our management team and really everyone across the business, so we try to make our data process as much self-service as possible and encourage them to view the dashboards directly in the system.”
Tracking The Biggest Days of the Year
The decision to become more data-driven paid almost immediate dividends. As they prepared for a holiday rush around “Black Friday” in 2016, Marshall realized the company hadn’t had any clear way of answering some critical questions surrounding one of their busiest days of the year.
“We’re selling a fresh product, so if we don’t act immediately when problems come up the bottom line is immediately affected,” said Marshall. “So, we’re a day away from one of our biggest sales days, and I’m thinking ‘How are we going to know that everything is okay?’ That’s the moment when I realized, we have Sisense now — no one’s really using it, but this is exactly how we can solve this problem tonight.”
That same night, Marshall and a colleague spent 20 minutes on a whiteboard sketching out all the most critical data questions they wanted to evaluate. Marshall then built Bloom & Wild’s first series of charts that tracked normal expected performance against what they anticipated for Black Friday, all that same evening. Their charts were able to evaluate not just broad questions like whether they would hit their targets, but also drill down on specific issues, like whether users were mistyping discount codes, or whether they were trying to buy flowers that were unavailable.
“The result was that everyone at management level who needed to be reassured everything was okay had everything right in front of them,” said Marshall. “People sending emails could know the right codes were being used, which helps marketing know they are hitting their targets. And our operations team can also keep a close eye on stock.”
Marshall estimates that the first iteration of his Black Friday charts were built in about 20 to 30 minutes. Two years later, those charts still live on today as the company’s main daily metrics tracker.
“The thing that really shines for me about Sisense is its simplicity,” said Marshall. “We first came to it as a rapid prototyping tool around Black Friday, and I still have that mindset about it, so I love the fact that it’s one click to bring data from a table to a chart of any type I want.”
While Black Friday is an important sales day for Bloom & Wild, Mother’s Day each March is the company’s true biggest day of the year. In 2018, Mother’s Day was accompanied by a wicked snowstorm in the U.K. that blanketed most of the country with snow in the days leading up to it and threatened to create a chaotic scene for flower delivery trucks.
To tackle those issues head-on, Marshall built a virtual war room with leaders from the operations team and C-level executives, tracking delivery data in a real-time Sisense dashboard and using those insights to take immediate action to ensure every mother received her flowers.
“Without real-time data analysis, there are two inefficient approaches to flower delivery in a snowstorm — either you send replacement flowers to every area that has snow and might have delays, or you send nothing and hope for the best with the original orders,” said Marshall. “But, in this case, with Sisense feeding us up-to-date visualizations on shipping times and statuses, we could easily see live information on which specific deliveries were impacted and send out replacements from another carrier so no one is disappointed on Mother’s Day.”
Sharing, Training & Growing
Sisense is primarily an internal tool, but Bloom & Wild also embeds its analytics dashboards to share with suppliers. That allows them to automatically give suppliers a simple, sanitized view into their system and explain what deliveries look like for the weeks ahead.
“Sharing Sisense externally means our suppliers can have access to how we see the world, at their convenience, which is far better than having us regularly rebuilding and sending them a report,” said Marshall. “At peak times, things are changing significantly here every 15 minutes, so it’s good to be able to give them easy, timely access in a way they can get on demand.”
“As we grow more internationally, all our operational concerns will become more important as there are more deliveries to look out for,” said Marshall. “Sisense is ideal for tackling exactly those types of problems, and it’s just going to be used more, to give us deeper segmentation, deeper drill-downs into understanding our channels and more ways to improve the customer experience.”