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Forecasting demand at bol.com in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic | Weblog | bol.com


Bol.com is a retail platform with over 12 million clients within the Netherlands and Belgium. To serve the wants of those clients, it’s important that our staff gives correct forecasts to empower enterprise choices on a each day foundation. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, on-line procuring behaviour went via a significant shift and demand for important and non-essential merchandise swiftly elevated (see cbs).

After months of battling producing any cheap forecasts, we managed to design a function which is ready to describe the dynamic modifications related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The addition of this function permits us to supply dependable forecasts within the brief time period and roll-out situation forecasting for the long run, supporting completely different domains throughout the enterprise. Our method is well interpretable and explainable to stakeholders, main to higher information pushed choices.

In our forecasting panorama, we offer several types of gross sales forecasting, each on whole stage and in addition on product stage. These forecasts are then used on their very own for various functions throughout the organisation but in addition utilized by our staff as the principle drivers for operational planning forecasting. The completely different forecasts depend on completely different time-series modelling methods, from linear fashions to gradient boosting algorithms. As such, it was necessary for us to have an one-size-fits-all answer which might scale throughout the completely different modelling approaches.

We began with an intensive information evaluation and studying on the knowledge relating to COVID-19 restrictions to include the unfold of the virus. With this info we developed a severity index that translated the impression of the pandemic on our gross sales patterns. Our severity index ranges between 0 and 12, the place a 0 represents no COVID-19 associated restrictions and a 12 represents the tightest restrictions we encountered in the course of the pandemic. Determine 1. reveals a illustration of the COVID-19 severity index.

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