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Pivoting Retail: Life After COVID-19

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)







For retailers, the COVID-19 pandemic has not only disrupted their business but for many mid-size retailers and franchisees, it has forced them to close their in-store services. As I speak to retailers, influencers and analysts, it is clear that what is on most retailer’s minds is how to stay relevant during shelter-in-place orders affecting most metropolitan areas in the country.

Many of the changes made today are probably here to stay. As retailers are offering new services, many are creating new positive customer experiences. So as you think about Pivoting to this new normal know that your efforts are not in vain and that what may seem as temporary could be the way of the future.


Are you Pivoting fast enough?

Through this crisis, the ability to pivot is the difference between sustainability and closing your doors. But to be able to pivot and rather quickly, you need to be able to use business intelligence that allows you to understand various facts and play out various scenarios.

The Problem: The number one issue that I hear from retailers is the inability to view the supply chain as a whole, this term is often called an “Omnichannel” view versus a “Multi-channel view”. This is a rather difficult task for most retailers because whether large or small, most are using different systems for their eCommerce, loyalty and in-store POS systems.


Start Here: Start with the beginning, demand starts the supply chain process so starting with merging POS data so that you can get “one” view of your sales and loyalty data. Alteryx provides an easy way to grab data from various POS systems, and helps you clean, and blend the data. If you have not used the fuzzy Matching function before, this is a great tool to help you link data together that does not have a Unique Identifier in both locations that you are trying to blend. https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Knowledge-Base/Tool-Mastery-Fuzzy-Match/ta-p/45485 Here is a great tutorial from community that will help you use this great tool. I only bring this up because although we would all like to think that we are so organized as to have the exact same UPC code in all POS systems, we all know that is a joke!


Are you consolidating fast enough?

The Problem: Now that most of your business has moved from either online sales or reserve-online application, fulfilling these orders can be tough unless once again you have an omni-view of your inventory, this includes in-store inventory(that are presumably closed), in distribution centers, as well as what has already been committed to from suppliers.


Start Here: Begin by consolidating store, are there stores that can be used as a virtual distribution, curbside-pick-up, and shipping centers? For this you will want to understand inventory levels at all stores, consolidate the view into a spatial grid using geo-coding and use the trade area to build out Hull trade that reflects the distance to service a certain population. Once you have your data consolidated, start looking at drive time for employees again using the distance tool, see how quickly you can consolidate your workforce, perhaps some although they may be asked to drive further, they may be willing to do 3 days 12-hour shift (as a reminder if your employee is usually taking public transit, be sure to consider walking time as well). Look for a way to collapse functions as needed, focusing on facility capacity, employee proximity, and accessibility for curb-side-pickup. Remember Uber, Lift and Doordash drivers are looking for opportunities, Alteryx lets you optimize routes for drivers through its Non-Overlap Drive Tool!


Is Pivoting a challenge for you? does this resonate? If you are encountering different problems, please let us know. Remember that our virtual help center is available to help you during this crisis.


We would love to hear your thoughts and discuss ways to start working through these issues.


Best regards,

Anne-Queline Keller


9 - Comet

Those are two very common & very complex issues in the Retail world.


As the Covid19 situation hit us  at 7-Eleven, we had to quickly come up with a quick view of our Supply Chain from top to bottom, for the most important/needed products during this time. 

A dashboard was created,just so the organization gets the whole picture in one place & can make better decisions.

The process included: Combining all the data sources --> Bringing the data into one place (Data Lake) --> Using that to create the Dashboards (& mini Analysis). 


Besides this the business was proactive in rebranding some of our upcoming initiatives & launching them now. Extra work has been put in from the development side, store managers, analysts, field etc. to make sure we can adapt to our customers needs & provide them the service in the most efficient way. Also, the safest way.




Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

Hello Raghav,


Thank you for sharing 7 Eleven's experience! you mentioned using a datalake, I was wondering is this datalake in the cloud?


Warm regards,

AQ Keller

9 - Comet

Yes, Anne.

We use Microsoft Azure Databricks.