Solving data puzzles and pioneering promotions at bol.com Behind the screens with Jelle Mutter

5 min.
1 September 2021

In this blog series we dive into the world of work at bol.com. Who are the people behind the platform? What are our roles? How do we work together? And why do we love it here? Whether it’s IT, Logistics, Platform or Commerce, we each have something unique to contribute and it all adds up to make us who we are. That’s how we make bol.com ‘de winkel van ons allemaal’ (the shop for everyone).

 

Imagine that bol.com is an enormous shopping centre with so many unique shops you don’t know where to start. It’s got everything — clothes, home appliances, e-books. Together with the store managers, Jelle Mutter makes sure that promotions are designed and run as effectively as possible. The goal is to anticipate demand and show every customer the most relevant items for them.

Jelle nods: “Yes, that’s a good description. I’m responsible for the Lifestyle cluster. This includes fashion, sports and outdoor products. As Promo Excellence Specialist I support the Promotion Specialists who work for the different shops within bol.com. I provide dashboards and data-driven recommendations, and back these up with personal contact. I do that for the various clusters of shops we have.”

Data by the terabyte

Jelle first came to bol.com for an internship in 2020. That’s when he first experienced the company’s rapid growth. “I noticed that this growth generated large volumes of different types of data. We already have a lot of good stuff in place, in that respect. Our IT teams have a range of data sources. We have literally terabytes of entries and it’s all properly documented and well managed. We can already do a lot with this data, but there’s still so much to gain. I wanted to be part of this, to help make it happen.”

“I love puzzling with all kinds of data points. But that’s not all I do. I spend a lot of time with the teams who manage the bol.com shops. We talk, brainstorm and share our ideas. They are my clients. I want to help them as best I can to get the best possible results. Together we look in the bol.com app and on the website while the promotion is ongoing. But it’s just as important to see what’s happening before and after the promotion is run. We can offer advice anywhere our products can be promoted. It’s a huge challenge. As you can see, I have a very varied role!”

Migrating to a new network platform

“We help the Promo Specialists get the best possible results from their promotions. For this, we don’t just use data from our own systems, that’s mostly commercial data and results of previous promotions. The campaign teams also look at external data such as long-range weather forecasts. If warm weather is expected, we’ll recommend promoting garden and BBQ products. We also provide dashboards so they can monitor the performance of their promotions.”

Jelle and his team don’t just work for their own colleagues. “We’re migrating to a new network platform,” Jelle explains, “so we’ll also be able to assist our 39,000 partners to be successful on our platform, too.”

Complex queries and dashboards

“We use Google BigQuery to collect data for the dashboards. Writing the complex SQL statements needed for this are the kind of puzzle I love to solve. We also use Google Data Studio to present data in an attractive and logical way.”

“We want our colleagues to turn the dashboard dials for themselves, so they get the best possible insights. It’s our job to ensure the dashboard is logical, easy to read, and user-friendly. And this is an aspect of my work where I can really be creative. To supplement insights from the dashboard, made with Google Data Studio, I sometimes create ad hoc analyses in Excel or Tableau.”

Creative ways to share knowledge

“Another thing I love about working at bol.com is sharing my knowledge with colleagues. We’re each responsible for this. And because we are growing so fast, it was becoming more difficult to bring the new Promo Specialists up to speed with the tools. I needed a smart solution. So I created an e-learning module on promotions, which contains all the technical know-how. Now new colleagues can get their training when it suits them.”

E-learning is part of our internal StudyBol platform, which all bol.com employees use for training and personalised development programmes. Jelle continues: “It’s fun to create an e-learning and it doesn’t take long. It’s a series of short videos. It means we can easily keep colleagues up-to-date on topics, like pricing policy or how to monitor a new campaign.”

“So you see, my colleagues in the Promo Teams do much more than just data analysis,” Jelle emphasises. “We look at the commercial opportunities highlighted by the data. And, as our work is about making recommendations to colleagues and partners, it goes without saying that we have to work well together, too.”

And like everywhere else at bol.com, something’s always happening. “We are all very flexible. Within the team, we regularly try new ways of working. We give each other feedback and are there for each other. Each of us can create our own e-learning to share our expertise. We don’t like to stand still. We move forward together!”