Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) was launched in 2006, allowing businesses to outsource shipping to Amazon. With this fulfillment option, Amazon stores, picks, packs, ships, and delivers the products to customer as well as handling the customer service and returns for those orders.
Within Seller Central, a website where sellers can monitor their Amazon sales activity, the FBA Reporting team manages Report Central and the associated reporting APIs accessed by FBA sellers. Report Central offers 60+ downloadable reports to help sellers make data-driven decisions across inventory, sales, payments, customer concessions, removals and global shipping services.
The FBA Reporting team receives millions of report download requests from hundreds of thousands of users, in a multi-tenant fashion, every month. Tasked with ensuring speed, efficiency, and user-friendliness in the reports that sellers need to track their business operations, we turned to Amazon QuickSight.
In this post, we discuss what influenced the decision to implement QuickSight Embedded, as well as some of the benefits to FBA sellers.
Customer obsession drives innovation
Prior to implementing QuickSight Embedded, sellers had to create visuals within the limitations of their preferred spreadsheet program, which meant additional work and manual step-by-step processes to get the data out of Report Central and into whichever tools would be used. In some cases, it also meant additional cost to FBA sellers, depending on the analytics tools they were using.
To address this pain point for FBA sellers, we began researching, comparing, and contrasting our options. Initially, we considered building our own analytics tool, but decided against it due to concerns with the effort needed for long-term maintenance, upgrades, and the time investment necessary before we’d be able to bring innovative insights to customers. Once the decision was made to move forward with implementing an existing analytics solution, we began researching QuickSight, a fast, easy-to-use, cloud-powered business analytics service that makes it easy for all users to build visualizations, perform ad hoc analysis, and quickly get business insights from their data, any time, on any device.
The following screenshot shows examples of visuals created by Sales Trend data.
QuickSight enabled us to provide data access to sellers via a QuickSight dashboard embedded directly into Seller Central.
The FBA Sales Analytics dashboard provides sellers with a summarized view of how their sales are trending over a specified time period. Sellers can filter the content on the page by SKU (or multiple SKUs), Marketplace, and time period. They can also define the granularity of the data: daily, weekly, or monthly. The analytics page includes 1 year of historical data. There are three major components:
- Sales Fulfilled Chart – A chart showing the trend of fulfilled sales over the specified time period, with year-over-year comparisons. The granularity of the data is determined by the filter selection (daily, weekly, monthly). Sellers can hover over any data point on the chart to see a pop-up with details. They can also download the data to a CSV file.
- Summary Table – This table displays a comparison of Sales Fulfilled ($) and Units Fulfilled reports, based on the selected filters. It also displays the year-over-year variance.
- Top Selling SKUs – This shows details about the top-selling SKUs (based on total sales) and the year-over-year variance per SKU, and also includes a link to drill down per SKU.
With QuickSight, we are able to provide sellers with useful visualizations of sales-related data, allowing them to quickly and easily identify trends and track the impact of their actions, without needing to spend extra time and resources creating data visualizations via more manual processes.
Partnering with QuickSight has also enabled us to offer more detail and flexibility to sellers, allowing them to change the period of time for the data they’d like to review, filter based on useful controls, and drill down into whichever areas are most helpful for them.
Analytics at the speed of business
The primary motivation for our choosing QuickSight was that it not only provided a faster, more efficient, and less expensive experience for FBA sellers, but it also did most of the heavy lifting, freeing our team up to focus more of our time on product and dashboard design. One of the benefits of QuickSight being an Amazon product is that accessing data stored in Amazon Redshift, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Athena, and other AWS services is a seamless, automatic experience.
The visual editor and toolkit provided by QuickSight allows us to make updates to established dashboards, and even create entirely new dashboards, in a matter of hours. Agility fosters experimentation with changes to visual elements by quickly copying a dashboard, tweaking it, soliciting feedback from stakeholders, and implementing it. The effort reduction from embedding QuickSight’s analytical capabilities allows our team to launch updates and features much faster.
Improving the status quo with QuickSight
By embedding QuickSight into Seller Central, we have been able to offer hundreds of thousands of FBA sellers year-over-year comparison information. QuickSight has allowed our team to iterate and launch updates more quickly, without having to worry about scaling or maintaining infrastructure resources.
Currently underway is an initiative to launch more dashboards to provide insights into inventory trends.
To learn more about how you can embed customized data visuals, interactive dashboards and natural language querying into any application, visit Amazon QuickSight Embedded.
About the Author
Ravi Kiran Nidadavolu is a Software Development Manager with Fulfillment by Amazon.