Case Study: How HSNF improves its strategy and operations using analytics


In the wake of the pandemic, the e-commerce industry grew substantially. With strict lockdowns and the urge to stock up on provisions from any vertical, most retailers realized that the shift from physical to online shopping caught them unprepared. Many came to realize the importance of investing in sustainable digital solutions and digital skills for the transformation of the retail sector.



HSNF is one of the fastest-growing UK beauty retailers, managing multiple well-known brands like Mylee, PraNaturals, and Magnitone. As HSNF operates a multitude of channels ranging from its own DTC websites to Amazon and trade partnerships, the beauty retailer is dealing with significant operational complexity and often challenging decision-making due to the lack of data availability.


Leading with Data Science


In an era of booming online orders, HSNF decided that the best way to maintain its competitive advantage, in the long run, would be to make full use of all its vast amounts of data. To this end, HSNF partnered with InsightOut Analytics and deployed a fully-fledged data warehouse and developed over 40 real-time BI reports and dashboards that now serve as the foundation for management and operational decision making.



"Data is key in running an eCommerce business. We have significantly improved the speed of business decisions and developed a collective understanding of our growth levers." - Asher Nathan, Chief Strategy Officer at HSNF


Visualizations need to be intuitive so that all stakeholders can easily interpret them, and data needs to be accurate and relevant at all times. As data flows continuously and the business changes, a dedicated team of retail-focused data scientists is helping HSNF operate its data warehouse. There are over 100 metrics and KPIs that HSNF uses to gain insight into its operations, many of which are related to customer behavior, ads performance, and product portfolio.


While many data warehousing and business intelligence projects end up collecting (digital) dust, the team at HSNF is constantly using the tool to improve its decision making. Some key numbers:

  • The data is pulled from 14 distinct sources, ranging from the ERP to ad networks and storefront platforms like Shopify and Amazon

  • The data warehouse processes more than 13m rows per month, which are turned into insights in real time using cutting-edge technologies within the Google Cloud Platform

  • At 6 months after the go-live, the dashboards are viewed more than 1.500 times per month by over 20 team members across the organization


Technology-driven competitive advantage


As the beauty retailer invests in data warehousing and analysis capabilities, its brands rank among the top in ecommerce, giving them an edge over their competitors. Today, HSNF manages to understand its business on a global scale and drive conversion rates and operational efficiency.


“Retailers are facing increasing complexity: more sales channels (own and marketplaces), increased competition, diverse product portfolios, and larger teams. Therefore, there is no more time for ad-hoc analyses in Excel or Sheets and arguing over inconsistent results across teams. If players are to break away from the pack, they must quickly reach consensus and make superior, data-driven decisions.” - Vlad Marincas, CEO at InsightOut Analytics.

Nowadays, merely storing data in siloed systems is not sufficient. It is necessary to take advantage of it: business intelligence and big data providers help decision-makers understand their business and run them more efficiently. Having all relevant insights available just a few clicks away saves time and unlocks opportunities for the further expansion of many business areas.