Interview with a Mallzee Data Analyst

Dr Alice Mortlock talks data, retail and coffee on Women In Science Day!

Interview with a Mallzee Data Analyst

Happy Women in Science Day everyone! Our Data Science team works tirelessly at the helm of team  Mallzee, steering the data ship and living by their own self proclaimed hashtag #datatilwedie. We sat down with one of our Data Analysts, Dr Alice Mortlock. She tells us what it’s like to crunch data at Mallzee, plus she gives a sneak peek into some of the exciting things the team are working on.

How do you start your day at Mallzee?

Big cup of coffee!

Then I usually fill in “Dailybot” first thing which tells the development team what I am up to and if there are any blockers, etc.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a pretty exciting project at the moment -  our new dashboard that we’re looking to share within the industry.

It’s a free dashboard for retailers that we're building, letting them access our historical and current product data. This will let you search for products that have been on Mallzee and see how they’ve been priced/discounted over time and how consumers feel about them. It’s also designed to provide insights on the performance of various brands. It’s been a lot of collaborative work across the teams so I’m excited for it to launch to the world!

I also work on supporting my colleagues in Mallzee  so they are able to access and analyse the data themselves. We use data for every aspect of the business, in absolutely everything we do, so that’s a big part of my job.

What are the tools you use day to day?

Day to day I use Python and SQL to do my data manipulation and I use programmes like Redash and Metabase so that other teams can access data easily.

What’s the biggest challenge about working on retail problems?

The data is huge and varied, there are loads of clothes and loads of different brands that can have such a different take on something as simple as 'jeans.'

The way users feel about retailers is also really varied and personal therefore it can be a challenge to pick out specific trends.

How do you work with historical data?

Historical data is fascinating! You have to always be aware of how things have changed (be it trends in clothing or literally technical differences) and be able to adapt things like our metrics, and our conclusions to these changes so any insights are always relevant.

Why should retailers work with data?

It’s so important that retailers work with data, we’re seeing more and more that experience and gut instinct just isn’t enough anymore and our data paired with the knowledge inhouse at different companies gives retailers the edge!

What were you doing before Mallzee?

I’m an astrophysicist by trade. I studied physics and astronomy at Uni, then I did a PhD in astrophysics at the University of Nottingham. I moved to Edinburgh for a Post-Doc in astrophysics at the Royal Observatory. That was big data and data about galaxies and stars. After that I came to Mallzee!

What is your favourite thing about working at Mallzee?

The collaboration between all the different teams. We regularly come together to make sure projects have input from all viewpoints from the very technical back end software developers to the very creative designers.

It’s also so rewarding to see the correlation when we identify not just winning products, but products that absolutely fly off the shelves! We recently worked with a retailer on some t-shirt prints and we identified a huge winner for the company with a very particular tee - that was very cool.

Thanks Alice!

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Tags: Data

Heather Darwent

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