Introducing Commerce360

Jerry Finn and Juan Carlos Plaza Alba

d&a blog

With the rise of information-driven companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, it has become almost cliché to say that a company’s most valuable asset is its data, but it’s hard to deny that the more data a business has on its clients, the greater advantage it has over its competitors. This has put small businesses at an even greater disadvantage, since they lack the resources to gather and process terabytes of data, which has become routine for large enterprises. This is the reason why we have been developing a new service that offers small and medium businesses not only have extensive data on their own clients but also have contextual business intelligence on millions of consumers throughout Spain and soon in Mexico and other countries.

Big data is not just the privilege of big business. With Commerce360 even the smallest entrepreneur has contextual business intelligence at their fingertips that exceeds their customer base in a way not even large enterprises hoped for a few years ago.

We launch Commerce360

We introduce you Commerce360, a web-based business intelligence service available to BBVA retail clients. Behind the service is a massive store of data collected from BBVA bankcard transactions and Point of Sale terminals that allows the service to offer a wide variety of summary statistics from this data after it has been anonymized and aggregated. In this way, businesses cannot trace a particular transaction or transactions to a specific individual or business, but they can analyze transactional data with several levels of granularity. Commonly, the type of insight a retail business look for is of the following:

  • Estimate how much total revenue their business is generating versus the average in their business sector.
  • Compare the average transaction amount of their business with the aggregate average for businesses in their sector and their neighborhood.
  • Examine the cyclical patterns in their business sector and/or their geographic zone by month, week, day of the week, or time of day.
  • Analyze information about the home postal code of their clients and the clients of other businesses in their sector, broken down by country, province, or postal code.
  • Learn about the demographics of their clients and the clients of other businesses in their sector and neighborhood. They can see the gender and age breakdown of their clients as compared to their competitors.
  • Learn about repeat customers in their own business, and how many customers they’ve lost.

A typical use case is that a retail business detects that other stores are receiving more clients from a specific neighborhood. Perhaps these other stores also have different average transaction amounts or different peak hours. A business could then plan an advertising campaign targeting this neighborhood, perhaps announcing changes in prices or hours of services, and then track any change in business from the targeted zone. Another use case is exemplified in this promotion video for Spain:

The Commerce360 dashboard is highly customizable. A user has 116 distinct modules they can download and arrange as they please on their desktop. By clicking options on the top-right of the module, the user can read more information on how the data was aggregated, see alerts, and see suggestions on how the information can be used to improve business, that is, the statistics are explained in everyday language so even those that don’t work with numbers on a daily basis can understand them. Here is a quick overview in Spanish:

How Commerce360 is Powered

Commerce360 is deployed on Amazon on top of Redshift, S3, EMR, DynamoDB, and Elastic Load Balancing. Updates and calculations are done regularly from the BBVA mainframes to the Amazon environment. To do this, we use a data API that anonymizes, tokenizes, and aggregates the data in such a way that all the information stays confidential and cannot be traced to any individual.  

The data API has been opened up to the general public to foster an open and innovative ecosystem. For instance, BBVA ran two Innova Challenges: in 2013 and then in 2015. Contestants were challenged to find new uses for the data made available by our data API.

The technologies used to implement the business logic are typical for a web application. The logic running on the server side is mostly Java with some R programs for behind-the-scenes analytics. JavaScript, with its advanced D3 library for visualization, makes the dashboard graphics easy to implement on the client side. CartoDB is also used, since many of the modules will explore geographic information with heat maps and other easy-to-understand visualizations.

Our Vision to Bridge the Digital Divide

Feedback from the pilot program has been positive. BBVA clients using the service had a lower churn rate than non-users and when informed about the product, and we are noticing an encouraging rate of non-clients with interest in switching to BBVA. One of the fears society tends to have about technological advance is the digital divide: the power those that have data have over those that don’t. But today big data is not just the privilege of big business. With Commerce360 even the smallest entrepreneur has contextual business intelligence at their fingertips that exceeds their customer base in a way not even large enterprises hoped for a few years ago.

If you are interested, go to commerce360.es to register. We also invite you to check our 20-minutes webinar below (in Spanish) to get a feel of the service functionalities and experience.