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Globus: Bringing a century of retail tradition to the digital age with Google Cloud

About Globus

Magazine zum Globus AG is a Swiss luxury retailer with 2,400 employees and an annual revenue of CHF 763 million in 2019. Using cloud technology, Globus takes its 128 years of tradition closer to customers in the digital age.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Switzerland

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Premium retailer Globus innovates its infrastructure with cloud technology to make strategic decisions faster, optimize internal processes, and cater to the real-time needs of its customers.

Google Cloud results

  • Reduces time spent compiling reports from 100 hours per month to zero
  • Enables business units to access time-sensitive data in in real time, to support strategic decisions

Reduces data processing speed from 24 hours to seconds

Founded in 1892 in Zurich, Globus, or Magazine zum Globus AG, is a premium Swiss retail company with 12 department stores across the country’s major cities. Over its 128 years, Globus has gained the favor of Swiss customers with high-end clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, household supplies, and an extensive delicatessen section, as well as a shopping experience that reflects the fine quality of its products. But competition is increasing, with more than 86% of the Swiss population shopping online and nearly 40% regularly shopping in neighboring countries. To continue meeting the expectations of its customers, Globus turns to cloud technology to better understand and address their changing needs.

“We pay attention to our customers as they browse through our stores, interact with our ads, or join our loyalty program,” explains Jonas Bandick, Head of Customer Analytics and Reporting at Globus. “Our observations generate data that we use to adjust offers, services, and communications to what our customers want, need, and prefer,” he explains.

To keep improving these elements of the customer experience, Globus realized that it needed to be able to gain insights from its data faster, and independently of its parent company. “As a subsidiary, we were part of an on-premises shared services infrastructure,” Jonas explains. “Our challenge was deciding whether we could operate these services by ourselves instead, in order to tailor them to priorities that are specific to Globus.”

In order to achieve this, Globus decided in 2019 to migrate its data warehouse from its on-premises infrastructure to Google Cloud.

Accelerating business decisions with cloud technology

“It took us six months to plan our strategy, then we got in touch with the Google Cloud team,” says Jonas. “Things escalated quickly from there: with its support, we soon ran a proof of concept and knew right away that Google Cloud would enable us to build scalable applications and get insights from data faster. In other words: it’s a good fit for us.”

One year later, Globus’ ecommerce website relies 100% on Google Cloud to run its backend and frontend services. The company’s goal is for all business units, each supported by its own specialized development team, to follow suit in 2020 and move completely to Globus’ own cloud-based data warehouse, on BigQuery.

“By migrating to Google Cloud, we reduced a 24-hour process to seconds. We load data from our stores directly to our data warehouse on BigQuery, promptly analyze it, and redistribute the information across business units seamlessly. We can now attend to our customers’ real-time needs, instead of yesterday’s needs.”

Jonas Bandick, Head of Customer Analytics and Reporting, Magazine zum Globus AG

Addressing customer needs in real time

With a wide range of new services suddenly available on Google Cloud, Globus next began prioritizing which solutions to start implementing. To do this, it first looked at how to tackle the business challenges with the most direct impact on customers. One of these challenges was how to access and analyze data generated in-store in real time, so that strategic decisions to improve the customer experience could be made faster.

“We have 300 sensors across our stores that monitor the number of visitors coming in and out of each one,” says Jonas. To access this information on Globus’ previous infrastructure, the data team had to stream it from within the old network to another service provider that could digest the sensors’ data and send it back to the Globus business warehouse once a day. In-store processes that relied on it, such as allocating the appropriate number of staff based on the number of customers, had to be predicted using the report from the day before.

“By migrating to Google Cloud, we reduced a 24-hour process to seconds. We load data from our stores directly to our data warehouse on BigQuery, promptly analyze it, and redistribute the information across business units seamlessly. We can now attend to our customers’ real-time needs, instead of yesterday’s needs,” Jonas explains.

To further optimize its operations, Globus uses Google Cloud managed services such as Pub/Sub as a message broker, Cloud Scheduler for triggering the exports of data from Globus stores to BigQuery, and Dataflow to process that data in real time.

Upping efficiency while freeing employees for value-rich tasks

Inspired by the new solutions it has gained on Google Cloud, Globus now aims to optimize and automate more internal processes. A particularly time-consuming one used to be delegated to the purchasing department: regularly compiling detailed reports for each of Globus’ suppliers about their sales performance in-store and online, manually.

“Our previous infrastructure offered no easy way out of this repetitive manual process,” says Jonas. “Giving suppliers direct access to the data wasn’t an option because enabling anyone from outside to access our internal reporting system would have been a costly and complicated process,” Jonas explains.

“We were spending a hundred hours a month providing information to our suppliers. Using Google Cloud, we reduced it to zero. Our teams can now focus on more value-rich tasks than compiling data, and our suppliers can access insights daily, instead of monthly, in a controlled and safe way.”

Jonas Bandick, Head of Customer Analytics and Reporting, Magazine zum Globus AG

After migrating to Google Cloud, Globus was able to promptly develop a solution to this challenge. The idea was to push relevant data from the on-premises infrastructure to BigQuery, use a Tableau server as a visualization tool and give each supplier controlled access to their own dashboard within the Globus system. This would free the purchasing department from having to compile the information into reports.

Within three weeks, Globus developed this supplier dashboard solution and successfully tested it in a proof of concept. The company is now integrating the results and learnings from its trial, and preparing to roll it out to more suppliers as standard practice.

“We were spending a hundred hours a month providing information to our suppliers. Using Google Cloud, we reduced it to zero. Our teams can now focus on more value-rich tasks than compiling data, and our suppliers can access insights daily, instead of monthly, in a controlled and safe way,” Jonas celebrates.

“Our goal is to reflect our customers’ preferences in all our stores. To do that, we need to truly understand them, and becoming digital is key for that. With the support of Google Cloud, we’re joining our customers in the digital age to better serve them as a result.”

Jonas Bandick, Head of Customer Analytics and Reporting, Magazine zum Globus AG

Reinventing retail in the digital age

Inspired to keep innovating, Globus is also developing a solution to make its inventory forecasting faster and more accurate with Google Cloud. As a fashion retailer that pays attention to its customers, Globus makes it a point to always have certain products in stock, regardless of season. Black socks, for example, are a luxury department store essential: no peak demand and popular all year long. The question of how to never run out of them, however, didn’t always have a straightforward answer.

“We’re going from manually forecasting inventory, to automating it. We can do this by gathering a range of data over a period of time and storing and processing it in the powerful Google Cloud environment,” says Jonas, who explains that the development of an inventory forecasting solution is well underway, using App Engine.

Finding innovative solutions for optimizing its processes is just one of the things Globus can pride itself on. Another one is the importance it places on responding to the needs of its customers, even when that means reinventing its own DNA as a retailer to combine more than a century of tradition with digital innovation.

“Our goal is to reflect our customers’ preferences in all our stores,” says Jonas. “To do that, we need to truly understand them, and becoming digital is key for that. With the support of Google Cloud, we’re joining our customers in the digital age to better serve them as a result.”

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Globus

Magazine zum Globus AG is a Swiss luxury retailer with 2,400 employees and an annual revenue of CHF 763 million in 2019. Using cloud technology, Globus takes its 128 years of tradition closer to customers in the digital age.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Switzerland