Case Study for Wine + Data: How It Actually Works

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“We already have lots of our own data. The problem is that we don’t really know what to do with it, or how to interpret what it says. So how can we use data to move our business forward?”

That’s the refrain, time and again, that we’ve been hearing lately, particularly in the last six months of 2018. Sometimes it’s operational data, sometimes it’s DTC data, sometimes it’s viticultural data. The common denominator is that the data’s going unused.

Maybe you can relate. You’ve been in business awhile, you know you’ve been accumulating data about your business, but how do you transition from HAVING the data to USING the data?

This week I’d like to shine the spotlight on the process, to illustrate in detail how this actually looks in practice. The steps below reflect our work with small to midsize wineries, though the process is similar for larger projects as well.

1. Make the decision to share the data outside your own walls.

You’ve worked incredibly hard for your data, especially if we’re talking about customer lists and sales records. We respect that, deeply. That’s why we have protocols in place to keep your data safe, and why we’re contractually forbidden from using the data without your consent for any reason other than your specific project.

Still, it’s a mental shift that needs to happen on your side first.

2. Send us a sample file of the data you want to maximize.

Typically we receive data in spreadsheet format, as Excel or csv files. Send us a sample file – 100 lines, say – that’s characteristic of what you’re looking at on a day-to-day basis. Make it relevant to your bottom line. Make it relevant to the questions you want answered. Let it reflect the areas of your business that you think you can maximize for performance.

We’ll have questions, undoubtedly, about what you send. We’ll come back to you for clarifications, especially around the KPIs that you want to track. And we’ll explain what we think is possible given the parameters of what you’ve sent.

3. Give us time to massage the data.

If or when we decide to move forward, and after you send more complete files, we’ll need some time to work with it. Usually this means “massaging” or “transforming the data,” which is an analytics term that means cleaning and standardizing it into a regular format. Then we package it and visualize it through an interactive dashboard that is built around the KPIs that you’ve designated.

4. Visualize.

The more people I talk to about their data, the more convinced I am that visualizing it is a key step in this process.

When most people think “data,” they think numbers and spreadsheets. When I think data in terms of Enolytics, I think images and visualizations.

The image at the top of this post is an example. We’re working with a winery now who went through steps one to three; it’s step four, however, where the data comes to life.

We built a dashboard using their sales data (anonymized here, of course) and the scatter chart you see is one of the ways we can visualize all those numbers in all those spreadsheets. What you see is sales volume plotted along the bottom, revenue along the left side, and wine names along the right side. The size of the bubble represents the price of the wine.

First thing to notice? This is a lot easier to read than a spreadsheet of numbers.

Second thing? This image happens to show two years worth of sales data. We could easily and dynamically narrow what’s visualized to just October-November-December, say, or to just red wines or etc.

Third thing? The top half of the graph and in particular the top right quadrant of the graph is where you’d like all your wines to be. What about that cluster of wines in the bottom left, then? They are unpopular and don’t generate much revenue, which means you have some decisions to make.

Maybe you consider dropping those wines from your portfolio and focusing instead on the wines in the upper right quadrant. Maybe you experiment with a shipment of those wines to your club members, and track popularity and re-orders. Maybe those are the wines that need more of your marketing attention. Or etc.

The point is that this is what you can do with the data you already have. Visualizing it is an important step in interpreting it, so that you can actually use the data to move your business forward.

Does that make sense?

Please let me know. We’d love your thoughts, and to hear how this strikes you.

Thank you, as always, for reading.