Case Study #5 - Data Mart

Danny Ma · June 20, 2021

Introduction

Data Mart is Danny’s latest venture and after running international operations for his online supermarket that specialises in fresh produce - Danny is asking for your support to analyse his sales performance.

In June 2020 - large scale supply changes were made at Data Mart. All Data Mart products now use sustainable packaging methods in every single step from the farm all the way to the customer.

Danny needs your help to quantify the impact of this change on the sales performance for Data Mart and it’s separate business areas.

The key business question he wants you to help him answer are the following:

  • What was the quantifiable impact of the changes introduced in June 2020?
  • Which platform, region, segment and customer types were the most impacted by this change?
  • What can we do about future introduction of similar sustainability updates to the business to minimise impact on sales?

Available Data

For this case study there is only a single table: data_mart.weekly_sales

The Entity Relationship Diagram is shown below with the data types made clear, please note that there is only this one table - hence why it looks a little bit lonely!

Column Dictionary

The columns are pretty self-explanatory based on the column names but here are some further details about the dataset:

  1. Data Mart has international operations using a multi-region strategy
  2. Data Mart has both, a retail and online platform in the form of a Shopify store front to serve their customers
  3. Customer segment and customer_type data relates to personal age and demographics information that is shared with Data Mart
  4. transactions is the count of unique purchases made through Data Mart and sales is the actual dollar amount of purchases

Each record in the dataset is related to a specific aggregated slice of the underlying sales data rolled up into a week_date value which represents the start of the sales week.

Example Rows

10 random rows are shown in the table output below from data_mart.weekly_sales:

week_date region platform segment customer_type transactions sales
9/9/20 OCEANIA Shopify C3 New 610 110033.89
29/7/20 AFRICA Retail C1 New 110692 3053771.19
22/7/20 EUROPE Shopify C4 Existing 24 8101.54
13/5/20 AFRICA Shopify null Guest 5287 1003301.37
24/7/19 ASIA Retail C1 New 127342 3151780.41
10/7/19 CANADA Shopify F3 New 51 8844.93
26/6/19 OCEANIA Retail C3 New 152921 5551385.36
29/5/19 SOUTH AMERICA Shopify null New 53 10056.2
22/8/18 AFRICA Retail null Existing 31721 1718863.58
25/7/18 SOUTH AMERICA Retail null New 2136 81757.91

Interactive SQL Instance

You can use the embedded DB Fiddle below to easily access these example datasets - this interactive session has everything you need to start solving these questions using SQL.

You can click on the Edit on DB Fiddle link on the top right hand corner of the embedded session below and it will take you to a fully functional SQL editor where you can write your own queries to analyse the data.

You can feel free to choose any SQL dialect you’d like to use, the existing Fiddle is using PostgreSQL 13 as default.

Serious SQL students will have access to the same relevant schema SQL and example solutions which they can use with their Docker setup from within the course player!

Case Study Questions

The following case study questions require some data cleaning steps before we start to unpack Danny’s key business questions in more depth.

1. Data Cleansing Steps

In a single query, perform the following operations and generate a new table in the data_mart schema named clean_weekly_sales:

  • Convert the week_date to a DATE format

  • Add a week_number as the second column for each week_date value, for example any value from the 1st of January to 7th of January will be 1, 8th to 14th will be 2 etc

  • Add a month_number with the calendar month for each week_date value as the 3rd column

  • Add a calendar_year column as the 4th column containing either 2018, 2019 or 2020 values

  • Add a new column called age_band after the original segment column using the following mapping on the number inside the segment value

segment age_band
1 Young Adults
2 Middle Aged
3 or 4 Retirees
  • Add a new demographic column using the following mapping for the first letter in the segment values:
segment demographic
C Couples
F Families
  • Ensure all null string values with an "unknown" string value in the original segment column as well as the new age_band and demographic columns

  • Generate a new avg_transaction column as the sales value divided by transactions rounded to 2 decimal places for each record

2. Data Exploration

  1. What day of the week is used for each week_date value?
  2. What range of week numbers are missing from the dataset?
  3. How many total transactions were there for each year in the dataset?
  4. What is the total sales for each region for each month?
  5. What is the total count of transactions for each platform
  6. What is the percentage of sales for Retail vs Shopify for each month?
  7. What is the percentage of sales by demographic for each year in the dataset?
  8. Which age_band and demographic values contribute the most to Retail sales?
  9. Can we use the avg_transaction column to find the average transaction size for each year for Retail vs Shopify? If not - how would you calculate it instead?

3. Before & After Analysis

This technique is usually used when we inspect an important event and want to inspect the impact before and after a certain point in time.

Taking the week_date value of 2020-06-15 as the baseline week where the Data Mart sustainable packaging changes came into effect.

We would include all week_date values for 2020-06-15 as the start of the period after the change and the previous week_date values would be before

Using this analysis approach - answer the following questions:

  1. What is the total sales for the 4 weeks before and after 2020-06-15? What is the growth or reduction rate in actual values and percentage of sales?
  2. What about the entire 12 weeks before and after?
  3. How do the sale metrics for these 2 periods before and after compare with the previous years in 2018 and 2019?

4. Bonus Question

Which areas of the business have the highest negative impact in sales metrics performance in 2020 for the 12 week before and after period?

  • region
  • platform
  • age_band
  • demographic
  • customer_type

Do you have any further recommendations for Danny’s team at Data Mart or any interesting insights based off this analysis?

Conclusion

This case study actually is based off a real life change in Australia retailers where plastic bags were no longer provided for free - as you can expect, some customers would have changed their shopping behaviour because of this change!

Analysis which is related to certain key events which can have a significant impact on sales or engagement metrics is always a part of the data analytics menu. Learning how to approach these types of problems is a super valuable lesson and hopefully these ideas can help you next time you’re faced with a tough problem like this in the workplace!

Official Solutions

If you’d like to see the official code solutions and explanations for this case study and a whole lot more, please consider joining me for the Serious SQL course - you’ll get access to all course materials and I’m on hand to answer all of your additional SQL questions directly!

Serious SQL students get access to complete solutions for each case study, the solutions will be made available inside the 8 Week SQL Challenge section of the course player as soon as they are ready!

Serious SQL is currently on sale for $29 and $19 for students from the standard price of $39 and $29, but only for a limited time so don’t miss out!

Community Solutions

This section will be updated in the future with any community member solutions with a link to their respective GitHub repos!

Final Thoughts

If you found any of these 8 Week SQL Challenge case studies helpful or valuable - please consider supporting me on Ko-fi!

The 8 Week SQL Challenge is proudly brought to you by me - Danny Ma and the Data With Danny virtual data apprenticeship program.

If you would like to contribute to the 8 Week SQL Challenge website or volunteer as a data community mentor - please get in touch with me anytime. I always enjoy meeting amazing people who have the same drive and motivation to help others!

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