Retailers have leaped from ahead of the curve: Sandeep Mittal
Retailers have leaped from ahead of the curve: Sandeep Mittal

Foreseeing the future demand for data analytics along with pursuing his entrepreneurial journey in the marketing field, Sandeep Mittal, Founder and MD, Cartesian Consulting ventured into the space to offer analytics services in 2011. Presently this Mumbai based start-up is witnessing an exponential growth in the number of retail brand opting for its data analytics services year-on-year. Unraveling the successive journey of the company and how data analytics driving changes in retail, Sandeep Mittal spoke to

What inspired you to venture into data analytics?
We came from direct marketing background. We basically knew how to communicate with the customer. The most exciting part of the profession was the relationship management, communicating with customer and that led to data analytics five years ago.
We offer services like CRM and customer value, web and social, campaign management, product analytics, assortment and merchandising, pricing analytics, marketing mix modelling, channel analytics and reporting and tracking.

You started with bootstrap or fund raised?
It was a bootstrap. We never started as an organisation that will burn cash before making some. We had to make money from the first year. If you are going to start off in the bootstrap way, you got to have that conviction. Further we are planning to raise fund.

Larger focus is on in-store or external data analytics?
Right now it is much skewed towards in-house data which includes billing data, feedback data, satisfaction data, web browsing data and social media feedback data. It's 90:10 ratio of our in-house and external data revenue. We will continue our focus on internal data with higher degree of accuracy. Compared to in-house, external data is hard it has validity, time issues and geography issues like pincodes.

Name the leading retailers you are working with?
We are working with Levi’s (India and Thailand) , Domino's Pizza (India, Malaysia, Indonasia), eBay India, Titan industries, Madura Garments Brands- Allen Solly, Louis Phillipe, Aditya Biral Retail- Pantaloons and More Supermarkets, Kaya Skin Clinic, and several others. We work with more than 40 clients and out of these 20 are retail clients and the remaining 20 belongs to hospitality, financial services, auto, consumer durables. We have 150 people staff.
In leading retail categories like apparel, departmental store, grocery, QSR and beauty services we have doubled our clients in the last one year. We use to sign two to three clients a year, but in the last one year we have signed around 15 to 20 clients. We are growing by 60-70 percent YOY since last 2-3 years.

Have retailers increased in terms of usage of data analytics?
Retailers have leaped from ahead of the curve and banks are now asking what they can learn from what retailers are doing. Retailers are capitalising and implementing data to have single view of the customers across every single touch point. Each of our retailers receives around one million pieces of feedback in a year through a dedicated effort. They work on that data to make changes as small as lighting in a trial room to move large size of merchandise from one store to another. Presently out of 10 retailers in the country one or two of them intend to invest in data analytics for which they have a charter, three year plan for it, they know what they want and they are on their journey.

How data analytics is driving changes in retail?
Today, there is a lot of awakening at the offline retail side, they are talking about Omni-channel while realising the need of data analytics for decision making, citing e-commerce have changed the game in the last two years with selling same products through promos, discounts and negative margins which has posed stiff competition to the offline retailers. In e-commerce, data analytics is a kind of built-in, one cannot run without having access to data and decision making with data. Unfortunately in retail nobody is talking about big data in terms of volumes.
Width of decision making with data has become very wide. With the customer data we are now reaching a point where retailers are witnessing 70-80 percent of sales from customer identified transactions, they know who the customer is.

Please tell us about the revenue impact of analytics?
We have tracked 7 to 9 percent top line addition through analytics led work. Brands we have started working with have seen 1.5 to 3 percent revenue growth in a year and 5 percent and 7-9 percent in the consecutive years. This growth comes from both offline and online, still there are not many retail brands which have got a significant online presence. With QSR like Dominoz, the online growth is more than 20 percent.

What are your future expansion plans?
We may look at M&A activities in a year or two down the line where we will inorganically grow either by the markets or technology. Or we may add more platforms to our portfolio. We have offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, one in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and partnerships in the Middle-East and UK. Last year we ventured in APAC countries and its now 20 percent of our revenue. In future we will venture in the US market too.

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