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Business Intelligence Case Study

Leveraging Sales Data to Understand Customer Behavior and Grow Sales

National Food Distributor

When a successful Toronto-based food distributor met with TechBlocks they had a very difficult challenge to overcome – they wanted to provide an omnichannel customer experience to their clients across all aspects of his brand.


Despite their own attempts to manage their omni-channel strategy and implementation, a few roadblocks prevented them from achieving their goal. Data was locked within siloed systems making it difficult to get a clear picture of their business operations. The lack of a complete business intelligence solution made it difficult to execute business decisions or react quickly to the market fluctuations.


The company chose to work with TechBlocks as their technology partner to help them define their omni-channel strategy and develop a plan which would allow them to achieve their vision of a consistent and personalized customer experience.


TechBlocks provided the company with an IT Roadmap that outlined a clear plan on how to address and complete their vision of an omnichannel customer experience, which included a checklist of actions to complete along with the optimum timelines in which to execute them.

Their omni-channel vision included the following strategic goals:

• Expand customer base and sales beyond existing regional markets

• Easily identify target customer based on key characteristics to efficiently grow their customer base

• Identify upsell/cross-sell opportunities to grow their existing account base

• Ensure quality services provided for high value customers while automating service for low value customers

The Solution

A key component to the IT Roadmap was to rebuild the business intelligence solution for the distributor. Although all of the data from their ERP system was housed in Microsoft SQL, the database was unreliable. Stored as a relational database, anytime a team member wanted to run analytics to build a dashboard or report it required them to import data from a flat table with SQL into Excel and then generate reports using PivotTables. This lead to two key problems. Firstly, data was often times inconsistent and depending on the length of time required to build the necessary reports would be out of date by the time the reports were created and shared. Secondly, the company lacked end-to-end visibility.

To address the challenges with their BI reports, TechBlocks built a new BI solution leveraging Microsoft BI Stack. TechBlocks first built a new multidimensional cube using SQL Server Analysis Services. This allowed them to connect key data values for easy slicing, dicing, and filtering among related data points. To allow business users to then visually modify their data for discovery, TechBlocks leveraged PowerPivot to build them simple, easy to use canned reports, all of which was then published into PowerBI for them to easily share and collaborate on insights.

BI dashboard

The solution included:

  • Consolidating data from their ERP system and customer database into a single datamart for holistic view of all customer data.
  • Integrate data from their ERP with other critical business applications for business process automation.
  • Migrate existing and historical customer data from their legacy CRM system into a feature rich CRM allowing them to scale and grow.
  • Integration of inventory data into sales order forms for real-time alerts of stock-outs, back-orders, and inventory delivery dates.
  • An effective communication plan including “next best product” offers based on past customer purchases.


With the help of TechBlocks, this national specialty food distributor has successfully been able to grow their revenues by 10% within the first 3 months. They have seen significant improvements in the following areas:


Improve customer service and sales potential of key accounts based on purchase history including frequency, volumes, products, etc. to develop growth strategies for key accounts.


Effectively cross-sell and upsell products based on customer buying behaviors growing the size of each customer order.


Ability to track orders from the supplier to customer including margins made for greater understanding of true value of existing customer.


Segmented customers into key categories based on characteristics of business, purchase history, etc. allowing them to easily identify target profiles for expansion into other regions.