Creative tech brand adds over $20MM in sales and strengthens customer relationships

This Alloy customer is a leader in the hobby industry. As consumers sought out their products during the COVID-19 pandemic, Alloy enabled them to react quickly to meet the demand spike and significantly grow sales.

Highlights
  • The Sales team freed up hours every week normally spent preparing reports, enabling them to identify and take advantage of more short-term sales opportunities, such as writing Walmart Store-Specific Orders and developing promos
  • With a complete view of their cross-channel business in one place, they confidently and efficiently makes strategic investments, including where to focus geographically and major inventory buys, knowing the risks and how they can be mitigated
  • Alloy helps Sales and Supply Chain collaborate to keep up with consumer demand, consistently fill orders in full and share valuable insights with their retailers, building trust and turning the brand into a strategic supplier
Opportunity

The brand was experiencing the growing pains of becoming a more data-centric company. They wanted to make great decisions based on data and had a lot of data available to them, but they couldn’t meaningfully use it to understand and run their entire business, including total demand from across their retailers and the company’s ability to meet that demand. As a result, on any given week, they might short orders from one of their top partners by 10-15%.

A major challenge was simply getting the data itself. One sales analyst dedicated to one account estimated it took him 2-3 hours per week just to pull point-of-sale and inventory data from the retailer portal for analysis – aided by automated retailer-specific scripts that he spent 2.5 years building from scratch. For others, it would take 7-8 hours per week to extract the data.

A Data Operations team then had to integrate all the disparate data in one place and harmonize it to produce cross-retailer reports for executives. There was always the worry of introducing human error into the process, too.

Beyond the data, change management and user engagement were also critical. Especially for non-technical team members, driving data-centricity meant making it quick and easy to check their gut feelings against data, so it wouldn’t be seen as a barrier slowing them down. Any software investments could not fall by the wayside because they were too hard to set up and use, a problem they had faced with past tools.

 

Solution

Alloy was chosen as the company’s partner on their data-centric journey because the product and team met these needs holistically, as well as providing clear ROI.

"We appreciate the value that we're getting from Alloy and the fact that you're right there helping us make sure we utilize it to the fullest extent and have a great user experience - that’s a key piece for us.”
-EVP Sales and Marketing

The Alloy Data Platform automatically integrates and harmonizes data from across their key retailers, including Walmart, Amazon and Target, so the team can look at it all together, instead of just one segment of their business at a time. It not only saves valuable time processing data, but also unlocks new forms of analysis. For example, they can easily evaluate the impact of Prime Day both on Amazon sales and sales through other channels to determine if it provided an overall lift or not.

The intuitive but powerful analytics empower everyone in their organization, from data novices to senior analysts. People who struggled with general Business Intelligence tools are now easily creating their own dashboards in Alloy, no longer having to wait for the analysis they want. On the other hand, analysts love the freedom they have to slice and dice the data different ways across products, locations and time frames to help identify different insights, not limited by canned reports that only provide the data a certain way.

The same flexibility describes Alloy’s Data Operations and Client Solutions team. They can get into the details and have technical conversations about the data to support specific analysis needs, as well as train new users and conduct strategic conversations about business goals and how Alloy can support them. This robust support architecture drives adoption and helps facilitate change.

Within six months of the relationship, a breadth of teams have used Alloy to identify new sales opportunities and confidently make strategic decisions:

  • By analyzing how their sales shifted geographically after a store count increase, they validated their theories about where their core consumers live, guiding executive decisions on where to focus and make investments
  • With sales increasing dramatically during COVID-19, the analyst for the Walmart account quickly identified stores in need of additional inventory and wrote 2-3 Store-Specific Orders (SSOs) per week, a normally time-consuming task (see Alloy in Action for details)
  • After identifying older SKUs that were not performing well, sales and marketing partnered to execute a promotion that greatly increased velocity
  • When a retailer asked them to hold extra safety stock in their warehouses that amounted to a multi-million dollar inventory investment, Sales justified it based on recent triple-digit growth in every category and addressed the risks by showing exactly how long it would take to exit the inventory at other retailers for every item
  • During cross-functional planning meetings with demand planners, product managers, sales and executives, they use current point-of-sale data to to make intelligent decisions on how much to order, instead of relying on historical trends
Alloy in action
As told by Kyle, Senior Sales Analyst

“I’ve leveraged Alloy to deliver an extra $20MM+ in revenue on the Walmart account alone. Because of the platform’s speed, data harmonization and ease of use, I’ve been able to write more SSOs to keep up with rapidly increasing demand and maximize sales.

Before, I could write one, maybe two SSOs a week because it would’ve taken me 7-8 hours just to pull the data and manipulate it to identify opportunities. I want to look at on hand units, Weeks of Supply, shelf space and store-level sales to determine where inventory will be most productive. Especially while we’re strapped for product right now, I want to ensure I’m sending it where it will sell-through quickly. With Alloy it takes me 30 minutes, and I’m just pulling in sales from anywhere I can find.

Delivering an SSO without errors also requires doing your break packs correctly, so you’re sending in the right amount to the DC and allocating it across the stores so the math works out and there are no extra units. It’s critical to proving yourself to Walmart and building trust with your Replenishment Manager (RM). Having Alloy makes that much easier and much faster to do.

Ultimately, it made everyone happy. The team was happy because I tripled our sales goal for the quarter. Walmart was happy because they saw us really producing and making them number one, sending them inventory as quickly as possible. And our customers are happy because we have as much product as possible in store, ready for them to do their crafting projects in a difficult time.”

Results

Increased sales. By eliminating manual data manipulation, Alloy enables the team to get away from being reactive and fixing problems to identifying insights and seeing opportunities. They can focus on driving additional orders to ensure product is on the shelf and avoid lost sales. They better understand what’s working and what’s not to help run more effective promotions.

"The greatest advantage to making Alloy your partner in the retail space is having harmonized, up-to-date and clean data that you can use to reactively fix issues and proactively increase your sales - with a very low learning curve and great partnership along the way to make sure you get what you need done quickly and effectively.”
-Senior Sales Analyst

Stronger customer relationships. With a clear view of total demand and continuously updated forecasts, the company is filling orders in full and servicing the customer well. They also go beyond providing standard reports to sharing value add insights with their retail partners, which shows their care and sophistication and builds trust that in turn helps increase sales.

Time savings. On a weekly basis, Alloy saves each account team 5-7 hours putting together regular reports for executives, internal stakeholders and customers. Every audience wants to see the business differently, but instead of spending Monday mornings preparing data and configuring each report, they have them ready to send. The time it takes to prepare for other meetings, such as line reviews, demand planning meetings or meetings with the CFO, is also cut. What might otherwise take a week or more can take as little as an hour.

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