An enduring joy of personal service is the barista that knows your morning coffee order without asking; or the bartender who knows your preferred brand of malt.
Liquor delivery business Tipple is using data to bring that same level of personalisation to the online world.
Tipple’s online platform connects independent local liquor shops with customers and manages the delivery of alcohol to a customer’s home or (pre-COVID-19) office. Customers input their delivery address and are then able to select and buy the alcohol they would like to order from local bottle shops with the orders aggregated and managed by the Tipple platform.
One of the 500+ drivers working with Tipple then collects and delivers the order within 30 minutes. At present the service has broadest coverage in Melbourne, but is expanding across Sydney with additional metro growth plans afoot.
All Tipple drivers have been trained in responsible service of alcohol as well as additional training in responsible delivery of alcohol. Tipple’s Delivery App prompts and requires delivery couriers to follow RSA guidelines such as verifying a customers age upon delivery.
Demand for Tipple’s bottleshop-in-your-pocket has risen as COVID-19 has taken hold, and people limit non-essential trips. Order size has also increased from the typical one or two bottles, to larger case size orders.
That is interesting data in and of itself – but Tipple CEO Ryan Barrington knows that there are much richer veins of insight still to be mined.
Working with data and AI specialist Data Addiction the company is leveraging a range of Azure services and Power BI to take data from its largely bespoke ordering and delivery platform and make that accessible to all Tipple employees, to inform decision making and provide much richer customer insights.
By front-ending Tipple’s solutions with Power BI the company is now able to drill into its data collections to explore delivery data and customer telemetry that reveals how long they engaged with the website, what decisions they made, how many times a basket was abandoned and the like.
Ben Johnson managing director of Data Addiction explains that this allows Tipple to understand customers better and hence respond to their preferences, but also analyse its own business – for example how expanding its footprint influences operations and cost management.
In the past Barrington, who has long been aware of the power of data, would query the company data collection directly and build spreadsheets to make sense of the data.
“I’ve always loved data, we’re always using it in our businesses and in the bottle shops. I used to export all my point of sale data into Excel. So everything was Excel for me previously. I love getting in Excel and just breaking things apart. When we first started, we already had a couple of developers on. So I used to get my full stack developer to write the SQL query of all the data I wanted. I then started learning all the concepts of how he was doing the queries, so I could create them myself.”
Barrington was elbow deep in analysis – but it was him alone.
“I ended up being the barrier for the business. No one understood anything unless they came to me.” Barrington risked becoming an insight bottleneck for the business; working with Data Addiction and leveraging Power BI has allowed Tipple to democratise access to the data, and hence boost its value and impact.
The promise now is that the data will reveal customers’ personal preferences – what they buy, when, what wines they like, what spirits they prefer. Knowing that can help Tipple to market just the right selection to a particular customer to encourage loyalty and grow sales.
The insights can be revealed to any authorised user of Power BI – democratising access to the data and accelerating action to enhance the customer experience.
Tipple’s data also provides managers with insights that help them maximise customer retention and minimise churn. Operationally the insights help Tipple optimise logistics, build enduring partnerships with the local bottleshops they work with, and monitor performance against strategy and budget.
A combination of richer data insights and expanded demand because of COVID-19 means that; “Over the last four weeks, our order volumes have doubled,” says Barrington.
“By providing the teams with the tools, they are able to go as granular as required to find deep insights and make better decisions. We’ve improved utilisation of our delivery network by 20% thanks to the ability to dig deep.”
“At first it’s difficult as you switch from old ways to new, but now as we’ve adjusted it’s helped us accelerate so much further (and faster).”
Tipple’s success also piqued the interest of the 7-Eleven retail chain which took a majority stake in Tipple in 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted 7-Eleven to accelerate its online plans, and it is currently working with Tipple to explore customer demand and how it can best respond.
Barrington says a system is being tested in Victoria ahead of a planned nationwide deployment of 7-Eleven online ordering and delivery.