Body & Fit: Shaping a Customer Data Platform for ecommerce with Crystalloids and Google Cloud

About Body & Fit

Body & Fit has been a leading sports nutrition, supplement, and dietary product business since 1995 and is a major player trading in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, the UK, and more than 25 international markets, offering products from 300 top brands.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: The Netherlands

About Crystalloids

Crystalloids is a Google Cloud Partner that helps organizations accelerate throughout their data-driven journey.

Body & Fit unified and democratized its data with solutions from Crystalloids on Google Cloud tools, creating the fast, robust, scalable foundation for a best-in-class ecommerce platform.

Google Cloud results

  • Real-time integration of all applications to support customer and business journey
  • A truthful 360 view on customers and transactions
  • Democratizes data analytics, so teams company-wide can generate reports in minutes and share actions across marketing channels
  • Scales at speed to match demand, with a cloud solution ready for deployment at other brands

Transforming real-time data for seamless integration

Almost two million orders a year are placed on the Body & Fit online store, according to the Dutch sports nutrition company. From sports supplements to diet products, the website offers more than 3,000 items, as well as advice from in-house nutritional experts on everything from running marathons to losing weight.

Already active in seven countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany, Body & Fit is implementing a strategy of rapid growth. “In 2020, we aim to be operational in 12 countries, almost doubling our presence,” says Fritjof Haalboom, Head of Technology at Body & Fit. “Two years ago, Body & Fit became part of Glanbia, one of the world’s leading nutrition companies, and we’re creating a best-in-class D2C ecommerce platform ready for other Glanbia brands to adopt.”

“We need to collect data, store it, and use it both to create reports and get the insights to drive customers to our platform. Google Cloud offers technology to support that whole process, while its excellent scalability provides us with a big advantage.”

Fritjof Haalboom, Head of Technology, Body & Fit

For Body & Fit, a best-in-class ecommerce platform needs to deliver excellent customer experience, potential for global expansion, continuous optimization, and personalized content. On its existing ecommerce platform, however, scalability was a challenge and weak integration between components made it difficult to track customer journeys across touchpoints.

To create a scalable, best-in-class ecommerce solution, Body & Fit teamed up with Crystalloids to build a new architecture on Google Cloud, integrating all relevant applications and creating a central point of truth for data.

“We need to collect data, store it, and use it both to create reports and get the insights to drive customers to our platform,” says Fritjof. “Google Cloud offers technology to support that whole process, while its excellent scalability provides us with a big advantage.”

Transforming real-time data for seamless integration

Creating a unified customer journey is a key goal for companies in all areas of retail. For Body & Fit, it means combining data from multiple sources, including its ERP, ecommerce solution, event-stream processing, frontend interfaces, online marketing, customer service solution, and analytics.

“A true ecommerce platform needs to have a central store of data, a so-called data CDP,” says Fritjof. “Everything needs to work from one central set of customer records. We needed a Customer Data Platform to integrate all of these applications, and to enable the level of business analytics and AI that we want to implement, as well. For the scalability that we need for this project, cloud is an obvious choice. We have a small technology team, and managed databases and infrastructure give us more time for other tasks.”

The team collaborated with Crystalloids to discuss options, including the ways Body & Fit could make use of the library of Google Cloud integrations Crystalloids had already developed. “We have more than 65 pages of API code ready for companies to use,” says Jan Hendrik Fleury, Commercial Director at Crystalloids. “All the processes and integrations are pre-prepared, like building blocks, and we can make the code bespoke for clients.”

Crystalloids calls that code Contact API, and implemented it across the Body & Fit data sources to generate a contactID, or unique identification for each customer. “Due to the need to integrate with all applications, we need to generate contactIDs in real time, to make sure things match up,” says Jan Hendrik. “The company’s previous data warehouse solution was not real time, and that led to inconsistencies in the data. We solve that by queuing JSON messages from all data sources, such as the site and contact center application in Pub/Sub, and processing them in Dataflow.”

Using Dataflow, Body & Fit processes batch and real-time data, writing it to a data lake on Cloud Storage, Datastore to enable real time, and BigQuery.

“We really benefit from Dataflow and the potential to transform data in real time,” says Fritjof. “We use it to reconcile all of the sales data in our system, transforming it into a format that SAP understands. It’s a very flexible and efficient tool.”

Democratizing data analysis

The new data lake not only serves as a foundation for automated processes across the platform, it also democratizes data analysis. “Body & Fit didn’t have sophisticated reporting and dashboarding in place,” says Jan Hendrik. “We are now using three tools: Tableau for dashboarding, InsightOS for marketing selections without coding by list managers, and Google Data Studio is being used for monitoring purposes on the data, connectors, and cloud consumption. Now, not only can people create reports on Google Analytics, data from Google Analytics is also fed to BigQuery, where it is combined with order data and other information for a full, 360 degree view of the customer.”

“Our colleagues might want to pull up information in the middle of a trade or marketing meeting. Now, while the meeting is going on, they can use data tools based on BigQuery to answer questions on what happened last week, yesterday, or that morning.”

Fritjof Haalboom, Head of Technology, Body & Fit

“We were really surprised by the performance of data in BigQuery, including real-time data,” says Fritjof. “Previously, it would take a specialist on my team a full day to build a report on sales of a certain brand in a certain period in a certain country. Now people can do that for themselves in a couple of minutes.” As well as freeing up time for Fritjof and his team, the unprecedented speed of data analysis gives Body & Fit an edge in daily processes and even negotiations.

“Our colleagues might want to pull up information in the middle of a trade or marketing meeting,” says Fritjof. “Now, while the meeting is going on, they can use data tools based on BigQuery to answer questions on what happened last week, yesterday, or that morning.”

Building robust ecommerce on a single set of data

Body & Fit now enjoys consistency of its data across all of its systems, thanks to reliable integrations and availability on the new Google Cloud infrastructure. That stability, and the democratization of data analysis gives Fritjof and his team more time to develop new features, as Fritjof explains:

“Integration across systems used to be really challenging. APIs would not always be available, leading to errors in data that led to other inconsistencies. Now we have a robust architecture and one authoritative set of customer records for systems to use, from email subscriptions to order history, or anything else.”

Fritjof Haalboom, Head of Technology, Body & Fit

“Now we are implementing Recommendations AI, as a packaged, out of the box, recommendations engine. Google is the market leader in AI and ML, and we think we can implement that solution in around eight weeks. That's really fast for a recommendations AI engine.”

For everything from recommendations to insights, Body & Fit has created a solid, scalable foundation for ecommerce, delivering accurate, up-to-date information across all of its systems.

“Integration across systems used to be really challenging,” says Fritjof. “APIs would not always be available, leading to errors in data that led to other inconsistencies. Now we have a robust architecture and one, authoritative set of customer records for systems to use, from email subscriptions to order history, or anything else.”

About Body & Fit

Body & Fit has been a leading sports nutrition, supplement, and dietary product business since 1995 and is a major player trading in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, the UK, and more than 25 international markets, offering products from 300 top brands.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: The Netherlands

About Crystalloids

Crystalloids is a Google Cloud Partner that helps organizations accelerate throughout their data-driven journey.