How Spinach is using data visualisation to help The Reject Shop surprise and delight

Illustrated graphs visualisation

When it comes to companies that utilise data visualisation, The Reject Shop (TRS) may seem an unlikely candidate. After all, TRS doesn’t have an e-commerce offering and marketing for the business is largely driven by traditional advertising like TV and catalogues.

However, the brand is well known for surprising and delighting its customers with unique or unexpected products which is particularly important for heavy retail periods such as Christmas.

The products TRS stocks and promotes during these periods are often selected by past successes of similar items or a hunch from one of the brand’s buyers.

At Spinach, we wanted to help TRS find a way to take the guesswork out of stocking and promoting items. Could there be a way to use data to predict, say, the next fidget spinner and, in turn, make TRS’s marketing more effective? And if so, how would we do it? We set about finding out.

We started off by looking to our existing third party data suppliers to see what sort of information we could leverage. Nothing quite hit the mark. Data was largely outdated or not relevant to the Australian market. But then we looked at Google Trends, real-time data from consumer’s online searches.

When we see a peak in searches on Google Trends, we know there’s a greater propensity for people to purchase that item. Take wine, for example. Google Trends tells us that searches for wine peak around Christmas time (perhaps people dealing with the in-laws).

However Google Trends has its limitations as it only gives a reflection of search trends as an index rather than in whole numbers. To overcome this, we leveraged our Google Agency Partner access within Google’s Keyword Planner to access product searches in whole numbers.

Combining these two data sets created a lot of data and when we tried to make sense of the data using Excel, it was a mess. We needed a better way to bring this data to life and that’s when we turned to Domo. Domo is a powerful data and visualisation platform that previously we had only been using for media reporting. But with a task of crunching data of this size became the perfect weapon.

Google Trends and Domo

After importing the data, we applied a number of formulas and were able to see a clear picture within the data for the first time.

For example, Christmas searches for items such as decorations, lights and Kris Kringle ideas all unsurprisingly peak in December but they peak at slightly different times. This was hugely valuable information for us and TRS when choosing the best time to promote particular products in-market.

Another category we found actionable insights in was travel. Google Trends showed us that while November and December are high traffic periods for travel-related searches, there’s also a spike in June and July. Winter is traditionally a quiet period for retail and so this was a great opportunity for TRS to promote its extensive travel range.

Off the back of this information, we ran a search engine marketing campaign. When people searched for travel products, TRS ads appeared. We also delivered a Facebook campaign targeting people identified as being in-market for travel and reached TRS loyalty customers with EDMs. The campaign was hugely successful leading to a 20% increase in sales.

By experimenting with data visualisation in new ways, we have helped TRS to start making more data-led decisions. The process has also opened up new sales opportunities with the business now looking at stocking and marketing products it hadn’t previously considered.

Importantly, we now have buy-in from multiple teams within the organisation with the buyers and the marketing team looking at Domo data together. The CEO even has a TV screen outside his office that clearly displays sales data showing which products are performing best.

Andrew Vittadello, National Marketing Manager for TRS, said:

“Domo has made it easy for our marketing team to interpret, illustrate and inform the business on how we generate relevant customer content whilst ultimately driving incremental sales opportunities.”

Xavier Cramer