The Silicon Review
“Byzzer is solely focused on the small to medium business segment and has created an intuitive, end-to-end cloud-native platform equipped with a powerful ML engine loaded with numerous algorithms for high-end retail analytics.”
NielsenIQ is the leader in providing the most complete, unbiased view of consumer behavior globally. Powered by a groundbreaking consumer data platform and fueled by rich analytic capabilities, NielsenIQ enables bold, confident decision-making for the world’s leading consumer goods companies and retailers. Using comprehensive data sets and measuring all transactions equally, NielsenIQ gives clients a forward-looking view into consumer behavior to optimize performance across all retail platforms. The company’s philosophy on data integration enables the most influential consumer data sets on the planet. NielsenIQ, an Advent International portfolio company, has operations in nearly 100 markets, covering more than 90 percent of the world’s population.
NielsenIQ has created Byzzer, a retail data platform leveling the playing field for emerging brands (SMBs). NielsenIQ data and technology fuel Byzzer’s retail data platform, so you get exactly what you need and nothing you don’t. Byzzer’s team of small CPG specialists understands how access to the right data can have a big impact on a brand’s growth trajectory.
Dana James, Head of Technology and Product - Byzzer Platform, NielsenIQ, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review on how his company and Byzzer are making retail data actionable and accessible to small businesses.
Q. What methodology does Byzzer implement to exceed customer expectations?
Large enterprises have always had a leg-up with access to high-end retail data and shopper-level and store-level insights. Not having access to expensive and sophisticated retail has historically made it difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to compete. As part of NielsenIQ’s mission to serve clients of all sizes and level the playing field in CPG retail, the Byzzer platform was launched to be laser-focused on the small to medium business segment. From the onset, Byzzer started with the small business in mind and structurally organized itself in a way to protect this vision by starting as a separate, wholly-owned company.
By starting off with a business plan, a mission statement, officers, and a board of directors, Byzzer was launched without the distractions of big enterprise reporting needs. The Byzzer team then developed a novel, turnkey data and analytics marketplace where small to medium retailers can sign up for a free account and within minutes have access to powerful reports and email alerts. Once comfortable with their trial, customers can upgrade to other services such as custom extracts, smart reports, premium categories and markets, and our patent pending NielsenIQ Brand Score dashboard by stepping through our shopping cart process.
Q. How is Byzzer different than other NielsenIQ product offerings?
By starting as a blank slate company, the Byzzer team was able to move quickly and nimbly to serve small to medium customer needs as well as go completely cloud-native, leveraging the scale, elasticity, resiliency, and flexibility of cloud offerings. By acting itself as a client to NielsenIQ’s broad offering of data products, the Byzzer team was able to clearly focus and define what our key customer personas would look like and develop a platform solution for those personas.
Through our trailblazer program, we incorporated customer feedback in tandem with feature development before our first minimum viable product (MVP) was released. By leveraging the strength of NielsenIQ’s data offerings in retail and customer demographics and using cloud services and business intelligence tools from the Google cloud, we were able to spin -up a new offering quickly and use services that enable us to make updates and changes faster-using data pipelines, real-time big-data analytics, serverless technology, continuous integration/delivery, machine learning, and natural language processing.
Our ultimate goal is product simplicity over feature complexity and lightning-fast customer issue resolution since many of our customers are not technically astute or data savvy. To that end, we constantly update our product knowledge base and train, enhance, and tweak our customer service chat so that our customers always have the resources they need at hand. For any company wanting to test our product’s power and simplicity, we offer our free Byzzer trial subscription for emerging SMB CPG brands to adopt and infuse data in their business decisions. All of these services are included in our free Byzzer trial subscription, so emerging SMB CPG brands can see our offering with no risk.
Q. Given that NielsenIQ is a global measurement and data analytics company, how uniquely does it address the diverse needs of its customers?
Byzzer is solely focused on the small to medium business segment and has created an intuitive, end-to-end cloud-native platform equipped with a powerful ML engine loaded with numerous algorithms for high-end retail analytics. The first-of-its- kind, subscription-based platform gathers refined retail data from the NielsenIQ data warehouse and provides analysis, reports, and actionable insights to emerging brands in a superfast and cost-effective manner. With six clicks and a few seconds of time, our customers are served with actionable data, reports, and analytics.
As simplicity is a core tenet, we have devised our patent pending NielsenIQ Brand Score offering which allows retailers to see how they fare against their competitors in terms of promotion, pricing, and assortment. Byzzer, powered by NielsenIQ, does all the weighting and ranking and provides output quickly in a digestible format, much like a consumer credit score. The Byzzer platform also offers “stories” helping customers communicate their value to potential retailers, clients, and investors with sound bites, graphs, and visualization compiled into formatted presentations.
We were recently awarded the ‘Top Retail Tech Solutions Provider’ Award for 2022 by CIO Review magazine, highlighting our progress thus far.
Q. What are your focus areas?
As CTO for Byzzer, I was the fourth employee hired into the company in the second half of 2020 and the first technology hire. Today, as Head of Technology and Product - Byzzer Platform, NielsenIQ, I now lead the software development, product prioritization, infrastructure architecture, data science and reporting, and data operations, teams. I help to set product vision and priority, create team structure, select cloud services and software vendors, refine architectural decisions, and assure the quality of the product and data. The teams are highly integrated, and the organization is fairly flat, allowing for efficient, direct communication channels.
The teams are also composed of some of the most talented individuals I have had the pleasure to work with – both CPG industry veterans and e-commerce software development gurus, so my day-to-day is mostly the delegation of this responsibility throughout the organization allowing time to spend focusing on support for our sales team, listening to customer feedback, and helping with customer needs and issues.
Q. How is the industry you serve currently evolving? And where does NielsenIQ stand at the moment relative to other participants in the industry?
Customer retail data is no longer limited to brick-and-mortar stores. Brands need a complete view of consumer purchases across all online and offline channels for a complete view of omnichannel behavior. This merging of online and offline data also unearths the need to understand buyer behavior beyond fast-moving consumer goods when shoppers are just as likely to buy peanut butter as they are to buy a television from the same online store. NielsenIQ is steadily growing its product portfolio with recent acquisitions such as Rakuten Intelligence, a provider of the largest e-commerce purchase panel in the United States, as well as our recent merger with Gfk giving the combined company an unmatched global footprint and leading industry coverage, thus creating a strong platform to deliver innovative client solutions and opening new growth opportunities.
Q. What are the various services Byzzer offers?
Byzzer, powered by NielsenIQ, provides world-class analytical capabilities to emerging brands. The platform is a portfolio of products to help SMB’s in all aspects of their daily data journey. At the heart of the product, we offer our reporting capability allowing a wide range of customer expertises, from the novice to the data expert, to get analytical reports for a large assortment of business insights across performance, category trending, distribution, pricing, and promotion. In this same category of capability, we offer our weekly email alert digests, so our customers are updated with the latest data delivered directly to their inboxes. For the data-savvy, we offer our data-on-demand capability allowing our expert customers to view raw data extracts parameterized across categories, facts, markets, and time periods. This raw data can be downloaded and uploaded into the customer’s favorite analytical tools and can also be scheduled for delivery to the customer’s inbox. For sales teams, we offer our story feature, enabling them to create powerful presentation material with a few simple clicks. Finally, we offer our patent pending NielsenIQ Brand Score mentioned earlier.
Q. Can you provide us with one or two success stories describing the challenges your clients faced and how your solutions helped them overcome those challenges?
We have had many success stories and positive testimonials on the value that Byzzer provides to emerging brands, and they all have one common theme: we have empowered these companies with data, analytics, and recommendations in a format and structure that helps them tell a compelling story to their customers and their retailers – often with better results than the bigger enterprise organizations.
One such success story is Joy Milk Tea, a first-of-its-kind Latte Tea. The customer was able to get distribution into a major retailer using Byzzer’s data, reports, and stories. The retailer’s feedback was that Joy Milk’s presentation was the best usage of data they had seen in a long time.
Another customer, Irresistible Pound Cakes, a part of our Diversity Inclusion Trailblazer program for minority owned/founded companies, had never pitched to a major retailer. We, at Byzzer, walked the founder through what data to use and how. The owner received praise from the retailer by truly being able to size the market of her unique product segment to strongly communicate her story to the retailer.
Q. How skilled is the NielsenIQ team of experts? And how do they bring value to the company?
The product and technology teams for Byzzer, powered by NielsenIQ, are made up of CPG industry “lifers” as well as other team members with experience in a vast range of industries such as hospitality, healthcare, real estate, and financial. services. This diversity has allowed Byzzer to uniquely focus on customer experience, product fit, and data quality by thinking creatively and putting the right data in the customers’ view in the right format – whether that be a report, an extract, a PowerPoint presentation, an email alert, etc. - at the right time but with an e-commerce lens that focuses on product simplicity.
Q. Given how frequently circumstances change, what plans for transformation are you pursuing to remain relevant now and in the future?
Byzzer is a new platform from NielsenIQ that was started with transformation in mind.
From the outset, we made it a priority to develop new products with continuous feedback from our customers, documenting, reviewing, and prioritizing customer requests into our development backlog every week. This focus on customers requires leveraging the services of a comprehensive cloud provider, and we have gone all-in with the Google cloud. Furthermore, we are ingesting data from several sources that provide an omnichannel view of sales and demographics to combine data from online and offline channels for a more comprehensive view of customer shopper behavior.
Q. What are your final message to The Silicon Review readers, your current and future clients, and partners?
NielsenIQ is committed to serving clients of all sizes, and through this new product offering from the Byzzer organization and our recent acquisitions and mergers, we are focused on providing these comprehensive, converged data sets to small and medium businesses in a simple, digestible format. Our customers and potential prospects should know that Byzzer will always have this charter, and SMBs will never feel like they are the second tier to enterprise organizations.
The Ardent Visionary at the Helm of NielsenIQ
Dana James is the Head of Technology and Product - Byzzer Platform, NielsenIQ. He is a seasoned technology veteran with experience across many industries such as finance, hospitality, artificial intelligence, consumer goods, and news media. As Head of Technology and Product - Byzzer Platform, NielsenIQ, he was the first technology hire for the division, helping to define the technology strategy and product roadmap. Before this role, Dana could be found at The Atlanta Tech Village, helping many hopeful entrepreneurs launch startups from the ground up as well as his own. He is known to wear many hats, from strategic executive to coder, architect to sales engineer.
Dana holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Old Dominion University and an MBA from Georgia State University. He lives in Atlanta, GA, with his daughter.
For more information please visit: https://nielseniq.com/