Cloud computing
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Fashion retailer moves data out of the ‘lake’ and into the cloud

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Harnessing customer-specific data is paramount for RueLaLa to engage shoppers and foster long-term customer relationships.

However, the road to uncovering the right information has not always been a smooth one. The membership-based e-retailer’s enterprise data warehouse stored all of its structured information, including how many shoppers visited its e-commerce site, where they were going and what they ordered — the foundation needed for marketers to “understand the sales funnel, according to Erick Roesch, RueLaLa’s director of business intelligence and data warehousing BI/DW, told Chain Store Age.

As the retailer connected with shoppers through more touchpoints, it collecting a new data stream — unstructured data. These details are related to raw, unorganized data that is often created through social media, and email and clickstream activity filtering through RueLaLa’s website and mobile app. Besides enters the company at very high volumes and velocities, this unstructured data began straining its enterprise data warehouse, making it “difficult to get insight into the upstream stages of the sales funnel,” he said.

To harness this swelling information, RueLaLa created data lakes, or repositories designed to hold vast amount of raw data. Besides creating a siloed “islands” of information that were disconnected from its enterprise data, these disparate repositories made it impossible to leverage information needed to create personalized email campaigns.

“Each interaction, or even answering one single question, became a complex engineering effort,” Roesch said.

The struggle pushed the retailer to create a next-generation database platform to house all of its data. The ideal solution was a cloud-based platform that could hold information from databases and data lakes, and scale as the velocity of data increased.

“A cloud-based platform would enable us to build out data storage without a large capital investment,” Roesch said. “This also would give us direct access to analytics unique to our needs.”

After choosing a platform from Snowflake, RueLaLa spent three months curating data from the data warehouse and data lakes in its new centralized repository. By the third quarter of 2016, “we had a complete view of our all data, from emails and click streams to traditional information,” Roesch added.

With data combined in one location, buying and merchandising teams can easily analyze previously viewed and purchased product — a move that improves merchandise buying decisions, as well as drives more accurately curated information online. And with insight into viewed merchandise, brand affinities, and past purchases, marketers have details needed to personalize emails.

“Unlike mass emails, our communications feature between five and eight products tailored to appeal to each specific member — a move that drives higher open and click-through rates,” Roesch explained.

The data also helps RueLaLa understand negative experiences.

“By applying analytics to understand churn rates, we can create new incentives to engage them, improve the shopping experience and close the sale,” Roesch said.

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Vineland
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Big center going up near Disney World

BY CSA STAFF

Williams Company Southeast has announced plans to break ground on what it claims will be the biggest to be built in Central Florida for years.

Vineland Point, a 447,500-sq.-ft. project developed by O’Connor Capital Partners on I-4 and Daryl Carter Parkway in Orlando exceeds the size of The Crosslands, another O’Connor project constructed by Williams that opened in Kissimmee in 2015.

O’Connor estimates that 185,000 vehicles pass the location each day and that 48 million visitors annual shop the immediate retail market, which includes the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets.

Available are retail spaces ranging between 9,000 sq. ft. and 60,000 sq. ft. and restaurant spaces from 7,000 sq. ft. to 30,000 sq. ft.

Williams, which has built more than 400 Target stores, is one of the Southeast’s largest construction companies.


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albertson
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Albertsons makes exec appointment

BY CSA STAFF

Albertsons Cos. on Monday appointed the president of its Jewel-Osco division, Mike Withers as executive VP, retail operations, Albertsons.

Withers will lead the company's East Region operations, while current executive VP, retail operations Susan Morris will lead the West Region. Jim Perkins, executive VP, retail operations Special Projects, is focused on targeted initiatives to accelerate growth. All three executives will continue to report to Wayne Denningham, president and COO, ALbertsons.

"Mike is an exceptional leader who understands our business and market areas from coast to coast," said Denningham. "Throughout his career, Mike has worked closely with many members of our current leadership team, and his management experience and operations expertise will help all of our divisions run really great stores."

Withers began his career with Albertsons in 1976 in Boise. Like many of the company's executives, he started as a courtesy clerk.

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