• Data analytics project boosted sales for e-commerce company
  • Student's work was praised and runner-up in national competition
  • E-commerce company to implement Jan Kreuter's recommendations
  • Jan worked with marketing analytics firm Exponea's AI department

Jan Kreuter is celebrating after his research project to improve the marketing analytics of an e-commerce firm earned him a runners-up place in the Operational Research Society’s May Hicks Award.

The 25 year-old (pictured) worked with Slovak marketing analytics firm Exponea to personalise the marketing and website of an e-commerce firm, with an annual turnover of £300 million, boosting the number of its visitors that went on to purchase a product.

The annual May Hicks Award is given to the best postgraduate projects carried out with a client organisation within the field of operational research.

Jan, who won £250 for his runners-up spot and now works at PwC Germany as a Data Analytics Consultant, said: “It is fantastic to see my project rewarded like this. I submitted it at the request of my supervisor who said that it was an excellent project which actually solves a business problem in an innovative way.

“The e-commerce company was impressed by the results and the insights it gained because it can now group its customers into different segments and tailor its marketing campaigns to the preferences of the customers.

“We managed to implement the results in the marketing analytics tool of Exponea and so the client can use the segments in its daily business.

“Additionally, the client was very thankful for the actionable recommendations of each cluster, ie the personalisation of the campaigns and the website, which it is going to use in the future.”

Jan, of Munich, Germany, did the project as part of his MSc Business Analytics programme and believes it not only gave him the technical skills in learning data analytics tools like Tableau and programming language, but also the ability to understand how they apply to business problems.

“The professors also provided us with a framework on how to tackle those problems in a structured way which I used not only during the project but also in my day-to-day work at PwC,” said Jan, who worked on the project in Exponea’s Artificial Intelligence department.

“The problem the company faced was that the conversion rates of its marketing campaigns were pretty low due to the fact that it didn’t know the characteristics of its customers and their preferences, and so could not tailor the campaigns to their needs.

“In co-operation with Exponea, we improved its digital marketing strategy in two steps. Through clustering analysis, the e-commerce company could segment its customers into groups and have a deep understanding of their behaviour on the website. This included their buying behaviour, their favourite marketing channel or if it was a private or business customer.

“Furthermore, the recommendation system helps to offer its customers products that they are most likely to buy based on the products they prefer on the website. The results of both the analyses allowed the company to tailor its marketing campaigns and personalise the website to the preferences of each customer cluster.”

Students learn descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics plus forecasting and data mining techniques on the MSc Business Analytics, which also sees them obtain certification as an Associate Certified Analytics Professional. This is globally recognised by the INFORMS (US) and the Operational Research Society (UK).

Jan’s supervisor Vinh Doan, Associate Professor of Operations Research and a Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, was delighted to see such a practical project rewarded.

“Jan did a superb project that was innovative and applicable,” said Dr Doan. “He fully deserves this reward for the effort and excellent work he put in. The e-commerce company was extremely grateful for Jan’s project and is implementing much of his recommendations.

"This is why we teach this course, to show organisations the value of learning data analytics. These skills are highly sought after by companies and with the ongoing growth of data and the internet they are only going to be in more demand.”