Loop Returns Streamlined Data Onboarding and Scaled Its Data Team

Loop is a return management platform that grows with brands. And makes returns stress-free for you and your shoppers.

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As Loop's data team scaled, the need for a solution that could manage increasing data complexity and maintain high standards of data governance became critical. Learn how they reduced data discovery time by 50%.

Loop automates return management to reduce costs, retain more revenue, and drive customer loyalty. It has transformed the hassle of online returns into a delightful experience for thousands of the world’s leading brands. The fastest growing return management platform, Loop has quickly secured rapid growth and expansion into several new markets, including recently announcing its capabilities on Salesforce Commerce Cloud. 

As the company scaled its operations, the data team expanded from three to sixteen members in just two years. Loop Returns faced the significant challenge of managing data accessibility and streamlining onboarding for new team members in a sustainable and scalable way.

The results

  • A 50% reduction in data discovery time: After integrating main data sources with Secoda and making it their central repository, team members found it easier and quicker to locate and access the necessary data and metadata. The team estimates there was at least a 50% reduction in data discovery time after implementing Secoda.
  • 100% of frequently used data assets are documented: The team has successfully documented 100% of the most frequently used dashboards and reports from both Looker and Hex, making them easily accessible through Secoda.
  • An increase in data utilization and analysis, with user growth of 145%: The team observed a notable growth in unique users over the past two months, increasing from 11 to 27, representing a 145% increase. The team's efforts in documenting their Looker dashboards show promising signs of even higher usage in the coming months.
  • Productivity gains for the Data team: The increasing number of users and the frequency with which team members rely on and discuss Secoda in conversations show that Secoda has significantly contributed to work efficiency.
  • Improved onboarding experience for new team members: The onboarding experience for new team members has greatly improved thanks to initiatives that included documenting data assets, commonly used tables, dashboards, and business logic through Secoda. New team members consistently report their onboarding experience as among the best they've ever had.
  • Enablement of self-service and democratization: By automating Slack responses in frequently used channels, directing users to self-serve and exploring Secoda first, the data team believes this initiative will accelerate the process of finding answers to data-related questions and better support the business.

The goal

The team initially adopted Secoda to increase productivity by creating a more formal and centralized way to manage and understand their data assets. The focus later broadened to include enhancing data governance, incident data freshness, and supporting a growing team through improved onboarding.

The challenge

The expansion of the data team brought about the typical difficulties of a fast-growing team. 

  • Knowledge silos: As the team grew, information became compartmentalized, making it difficult for new members to access historical data insights and decision-making rationale.
  • Inefficient onboarding processes: The onboarding of new data team members had to be optimized with the team expanding at a rapid pace.
  • Lack of a centralized data management tool: Without a centralized system, managing and maintaining the integrity of data became increasingly cumbersome as the team grew.

As the team scaled, the need for a solution that could manage increasing data complexity and maintain high standards of data governance became critical.

Creating a data command center to eliminate knowledge silos

Loop needed a solution to help them create a centralized hub for their company data knowledge.

“The initial goal was to help the team be more productive overall. We didn’t have a formal, centralized way to understand what data we could use, and what data assets we had,” shared Eduardo Santos, Director of Data and Analytics. 

“We have very complex data, ranging from the data we capture with our own product, to Shopify data, to other sources like our CRM, so we’re pretty prone to knowledge silos, and have subject matter experts in certain areas,” added Rudy Rudolphi, Analytics Manager. “Our biggest win with Secoda has been having a place for technical documentation, knowledge sharing, and eliminating solos. We’re able to make sure everyone has accessibility and visibility into our various data sources.”

The data stack at Loop

At Loop, the data team works extremely cross-functionally, supporting teams across the company like Sales, Customer Success, and Business Operations with a rotational Data Analyst program. To capture team-specific knowledge, teams would use Notion to house information, but this proved to be insufficient for their purposes.

“Notion was great for case studies and write-ups, but the team concluded that being able to link Catalog items and certain data points is a lot more robust in Secoda, versus trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with putting so much technical documentation in Notion,” Rudophi shared. 

Secoda has supported the team’s Analyst Rotation program, serving as a starting point for analysts joining new teams and projects:

“Secoda is a great jumping-off point for someone new to the team, or who simply wants to learn more. We used Secoda heavily to help with the analyst knowledge transfer. Commonly used tables, stakeholder dashboards, case studies, and analyses a team worked on are all in one place - it’s a one-stop shop for that knowledge transfer.”

Supporting a growing team

Secoda’s integration into Loop’s daily operations meant that new team members could onboard quickly by having immediate access to the most crucial data assets, with context to help them understand how to use them. This access not only reduced the learning curve associated with new hires but also enhanced the overall data governance framework by ensuring all team members had the latest and most accurate data information. 

 “It’s clear that as the team grew, things would have been much harder without a centralized repository like Secoda. It really supported our high-speed growth,” said Santos.

“The team doubled in size even in the last 6 - 8 months - we’ve used Secoda’s Collections to create resources like a “Data Sources Starter Kit” so we don’t have that legacy knowledge floating around in Slack, or in people’s brains. Now, when new team members ask “What are the top 10 tables I need to look at in Snowflake when I start? How are we querying those? How are they joined together? All that information is in one place. We’ve streamlined the effort and made onboarding a lot more smooth.” 

The data team has had good feedback about their implementation of Secoda, with team members sharing how the tool has saved them time, and effort, and made them able to move much faster.

“Secoda has been super valuable for answering questions - we’ve cut back significantly on async questions and meetings,” said Rudolphi. “We’ve had such a positive reception of Secoda within our team, and we plan on continuing to drive adoption throughout the organization.”

Driving the adoption of Secoda at Loop

It’s easy enough to purchase a data cataloging tool, but driving the adoption of a new tool can be tricky - while the Loop Data team is well acquainted with Secoda, other business units at the company are still getting to know the product. 

Santos and Rudolphi stressed the importance of setting up data consumers for success by having adequate documentation and a well-organized Secoda workspace for them to land in:

“Right now we’re working on documenting all of our existing reports and dashboards in both Looker and Hex, and getting all of that into Secoda, so that we have a unified source of truth,” shared Rudy. “I feel strongly that if we get our documentation for our most popular dashboards robust in Secoda, users can use Secoda’s search function to self-serve there before asking the data team through Slack.” 

The Loop Returns team is optimistic about their strategy of documentation for self-serve.

“The biggest thing that our team has been pushing is reducing legacy knowledge so we can move faster. We always refer to Secoda as the jumping-off point for any questions. We move very quickly, and information can often get lost when you move through Slack and email. You’re not only helping yourself by using Secoda, but helping your teammates by documenting things for others.”

The path to self-serve analytics can be elusive, but the Loop Returns team are paving the way forward by focusing on data democratization and making data as accessible as possible for everyone at the organization.

“We’re moving towards allowing folks to self-serve, largely because of the foundation we’ve built with Secoda,” the team shared. “After we finish our project of documenting our dashboards this quarter, we’re planning on introducing Secoda to our Go-To-Market team and Product Managers, and focusing on pointing folks to Secoda first when they have questions to form that habit.”

The implementation of Secoda delivered significant improvements for the Loop team: 

  • Onboarding efficiency: The time required to bring new data team members up to speed decreased substantially, enabling a smoother and faster integration into the company’s workflow.
  • Data accessibility: With centralized data documentation, team members could independently access and utilize data insights, leading to a more agile and informed decision-making process.
  • Operational efficiency: Streamlined data processes allowed Loop Returns to handle a larger volume of data requests and queries, supporting their ongoing expansion efforts.

Secoda has proven to be a pivotal solution for Loop, enabling them to manage a rapidly growing team without compromising on data quality or accessibility. For other companies facing similar challenges, Secoda offers a pathway to enhancing data operations that support significant and sustainable growth.