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La Stampa Alessandria

“How to sell more? Here’s what to showcase in the window”

An Alexandrian student will be among the first graduates of Data Science degree


FEBRUARY 19, 2017 (Alessandria, Italy)
By Valentina Frezzato
La Stampa

An Alexandrian student is also part of the team of the most followed, and sought after by retailers, startup; the one that recommends stores what to display in their windows to increase sales over one season. Elena Pesce, 23, will be one of the first students to complete the of studies of Data Science, the Master’s Degree running in the University of Turin, the first of its kind in Italy. Not yet with a bachelor’s degree in her hand, a thesis to be finished, but already with a job, a sign that data scientists – that is, those who are able to “read” data and interpret it – is one of the most sought after professions in Italy.

Elena is writing her thesis on the impact of promotions on retail sales, meanwhile she is working as a Junior Data Scientist for Evo Pricing, a Turin-based predictive analytics startup founded in 2013, serving retailers around the world. Thanks to a team of expert businessmen, data scientists and university researchers who are not only Italian, but also coming from places such as Harvard and MIT.

Every week over 300 people, in Italy alone, contribute to Evo Pricing’s analysis (also retailers and store managers). Elena. Too, dedicates her time to analyzing the data behind Evo Pricing’s service: “I chose this path of advanced studies to complete what I’ve started in my 3 years of Mathematical Statistics and Data Computer Processing at Smid in Genova, so mastering statistics and computer skills was required to apply analytical models to real data. The Turin Master path offers a vast selection of theoretical and practical approaches, as well as numerous opportunities to meet with the companies. And the possibility to attend an English course is a big plus.”

Now, she is doing her internship and thesis project on Evo Pricing. “What I’m learning in university is very inspiring – she adds – but working with data and real customers is an opportunity, and even a whole new challenge.” Also because, for the first time, she has to manage the combination of artificial intelligence and human experience, that in retail beats any computer system.

Everything is calculated with algorithms: it’s essentially a proposal to retailers on what to display in the window. And sales grow by over 10 percent. Variables such as past sales, geographical area, climate and product features are used for the initial forecast, then the retailers can change this forecast. It is possible to sell a lot of swimsuits in Piedmont and heavy quilts in Sicily. It’s just necessary to know what is the right time to do it.

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