Farm-to-Table, Served Azure Style
By GENNA JOUDREY
Today, subscription boxes are everywhere. You can order a week’s worth of meals, outfits, or fitness gear and have it shipped directly to your doorstep within days. Convenience is king! That’s why Boston company, ButcherBox, decided to start delivering boxes of frozen grass-fed beef, chicken, and pork to homes across the United States. The company has continued to grow exponentially, which means the collection of data became even more important. Initially, data was recorded in Excel spreadsheets. However, the founder, Mike Salguero, knew that there needed to be a major change because the documents were not providing the insights their team was looking for. That’s when ButcherBox decided to adopt Azure as its cloud platform. The company has been able to utilize Microsoft’s Power BI data visualization tool and Azure Databricks to analyze feedback they’ve received from subscribers.
Azure Databricks, designed in collaboration with Microsoft, is an analytics platform that streamlines workflows and creates an interactive workspace between data scientists and business analysts. It has shown to increase productivity, protect data on a secure cloud, and scale without limits. That being said, ButcherBox utilized Microsoft’s Power BI data visualization tool to interview subscribers, while Azure’s Databricks analyzed the feedback and organized into readable reports. Much to ButcherBox’s surprise, the findings revealed that the number one reason people were canceling their subscriptions was not lack of freezer space – which was their initial thought. The top complaint was value. The results motivated ButcherBox to offer members discounts and special products to ensure the paying shoppers were happy.
While freezer space isn’t the top concern, it is still a topic of conversation for management. “A lot of people think of a freezer as a savings account. It’s there for a rainy day, not necessarily the place you go if you want to eat dinner tonight,” CEO of ButcherBox Mike Salguero says. Azure technology is helping the company determine what people are eating through a meal-planning app, with the end goal of motivating them to move food from the freezer to the dinner table. If customers are given a simple recipe to follow that night, they are more likely to cook the meat sooner, rather than save it for later.
Azure is also assisting ButcherBox in becoming more proactive to improve the overall shopping experience for buyers. They have been focusing on using data science and analytics to provide more personalized services for their customers. “It doesn’t make sense to show someone beef if they’re really a chicken or salmon member,” states Head of Technology, Kevin Hall.
While Hall’s statement may be true, the company is also going to focus on aiming to get customers to try new products. Data showed that regulars who buy certain types of boxes will eventually end their subscription. They can use their current findings to focus on showing new advertisements for returning customers who constantly purchase the same box. “We’re giving people more flexibility to switch to a plan that comes less often,” says Reba Hatcher, ButcherBox’s Chief of Staff.
Azure is helping ButcherBox transform one day at a time. Instead of living in the unknown, their team can view a dashboard full of numbers. They can make decisions based on real results, rather than continue to make assumptions. “The culture has really moved to a reliance on the data that we have. People trust the data, and it’s only getting better and better”, Salguero states. The amount of success ButcherBox has experienced by using cloud-based data is motivating for the future of all companies, as well as customers.