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Sisense Analytics Enables Gourmet Food Wholesaler to Reinvent Business Undermined by COVID-19 Turmoil

Soft Stuff Distributors Flexes its New Data-Driven Muscle to Sisense Create New B2C Business in Record Time

​​​Sisense, the world’s leading analytics platform for builders, announced that it has helped transform Soft Stuff Distributors, an acclaimed mid-Atlantic regional wholesaler of gourmet and quality foods to businesses and institutions, into a data-driven enterprise. With its core wholesale business decimated by COVID-19 in recent months, Soft Stuff leveraged its newfound analytics chops to deeply examine company data that validated the need for a crucial pivot in its core business strategy and operations. Leveraging data analytics, Soft Stuff shifted away from B2B selling to open its doors to the public. And in just eight weeks time, it began to offer culinary-quality groceries through its new home delivery/curbside pickup services, aptly called Shop Soft Stuff.

“Entrepreneurship and positivity in the face of adversity are in my blood. But the threat that COVID represented to our business took my breath away. Because we became a data-driven company in 2019, we were prepared to deal with cataclysmic business changes that would have otherwise presented an existential threat to us,” said Lois Gamerman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Soft Stuff Distributors. “Sisense brings clarity even in the midst of so much uncertainty and gave rise to an entirely new venture for our company. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur, as long as we have data at our core.”

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The Need for Analytics

Soft Stuff adopted Sisense just over a year ago as part of its mission to become a data-driven company. It selected Sisense over Microsoft’s Power BI in a quest for more power, flexibility, and ease of use. Another requirement was the ability to readily combine different data sets and utilize complex data. Sisense became a company-wide platform for distilling knowledge and sharp insights.

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Soft Stuff had enjoyed years of growth and success as a specialty wholesaler known for the high-quality foods it prepared and sourced, along with great customer service and a glowing reputation. Implementing Sisense gave it the ability to uncover insights, detect small changes indicative of deeper market trends, and use data to drive its gourmet retail business with precision and efficiency. Reporting, formerly a labor-intensive process, became an effortless practice, with an emphasis on producing actionable insights. Adoption across Soft Stuff grew as new departments across the company began using Sisense to improve its functions, feeding data from its ERP system into Sisense for reporting and analytics.

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Data-Driven Transformation

Earlier this year Soft Stuff began to analyze its data and could see signs of the business beginning to decline, even before it became widely apparent. At the same time, interestingly, they noticed that consumers were asking for groceries and catering.

Sisense enabled the management team to come out of a war-room-like weekend session with a fine-grained analysis of data that provided clarity in making its dramatic pivot as a direct-to-consumer culinary-quality grocer and purveyor of fine foods. Using Sisense, they could also determine the geographical demand to develop the new Shop Soft Stuff home delivery and regional warehouses. The new business also enabled Soft Stuff to help its existing food producers and partners who were navigating the COVID-19 crisis upstream. For example, they demonstrated the market need for smaller portions: a four steak order as opposed to a box of 24 prepared steaks.

“While COVID-19 has taken an outsized toll on small businesses across this country, it has also proven the resilience of small businesses cannot be underestimated,” said Amir Orad, CEO, Sisense. “Soft Stuff proves exactly what we recently found in our inaugural State of BI & Analytics report. Small businesses are leading the way, adopting new use cases with data in response to today’s economic crisis.”

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