Does speed matter in e-commerce?


QVC provides its customers with a variety of product offerings around the globe. The largest market for QVC is currently the US.  In the US alone, QVC ships millions of packages each year to enrich its customers’ lives.  The future of fulfilling customer orders and meeting or exceeding their expectations is always at the forefront of QVC’s decisions.  One expectation is related to delivery speed.  Some retailers, primarily online retailers, focus primarily on quick turnaround on shipping goods to customers.  The faster the turnaround the more extensive the logistics/delivery network or the more costly it is.  QVC doesn’t just provide its customers with products, it prides itself on top notch customer service and a rich and rewarding overall experience.

The QVC Analytics Challenge

Your challenge is to analyze QVC’s customer geography, distribution network, and product mix, purchase patterns and develop a visualization that contains useful information for QVC to use to understand what the relationship between speed of product/package delivery and customer loyalty is.

Your analysis should address one or more of the following questions:

  • Does the current distribution network maximize customer penetration (spend)?  If not, what should QVC do to increase customer penetration with the current distribution network?
  • Are there specific products or product categories that should be located in specific distribution centers?
  • Do customers that receive their product sooner purchase more than customers with longer delivery times?


This data is extracted and anonymized from QVC.

There are two options for using the data.  Those with experience and the technology needed to work with a large data set should choose option 2 below.  Those that are working just in excel should chose option 1 below.

  1. A sample population was pulled from the larger data set and placed into the excel spreadsheet named “Smaller Sample set of QVC data”.
  2. The large data set was broken up into six excel spreadsheets (named QVC data 1, 2, 3, etc) with less than 1 million rows each.  You may combine these spreadsheets and do your analysis on the larger set if you have the technology needed to do so.

There are also excel spreadsheet with the following information in them which applies to option 1 and 2 above:

  • distribution center data
  • order type data
  • data dictionary

QVC Data & Metadata Information

Other Rules

  • The project submissions must entirely be the work of the project team. While faculty and other individuals can help review the submission, they should not contribute to the content of the report or the solution.
  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered, so make sure you have all of your submission deliverables are in the submission package.
  • The contest materials must be submitted by the due dates. Late submissions will not be accepted and no extensions will be given.
  • Teams must be members of an AIS Student Chapter.

General Information

  • Submission Instructions

    What you should submit

    • The story: A graphic that reflects the major findings of your data analysis.
      • It can be a static image or interactive (such as JavaScript).
      • It can be in the form of charts, diagrams, or an infographic.
    • The background: A brief description, one single-spaced page or less, describing what’s great about your analysis and your graphic.
      • Highlight how your analysis helped you arrive at your conclusions.
      • Highlight how your graphic illustrates your key findings.

    How you should submit

    • Email your entry to by 11:59 P.M. US Eastern, March 2, 2018.
      • Make sure it’s clear which of the three challenges you’re addressing.
    • Attach the graphic and the description as separate files to a single email message with the subject “Entry for Analytics Challenge”.
    • The following must be clearly displayed on the graphic and on the one page-description: (1) the name of the challenge (NBCUniversal, Pfizer, or QVC), (2) each team member’s name and college/university name.
    • Convert static graphics to PDF format. The one-page description must also be in PDF format. There are free tools that do this, such as PDF Creator.
    • Interactive graphics must be self-contained and run without special software on any Windows 10 PC. Web-based graphics must run using the Chrome browser.

    What happens after you submit

    • You will receive a confirmation email acknowledging your entry.
    • Finalists will be notified by email on or around March 12, 2018.
    • Finalists will present their work in front of the judging panel at the AIS SCLC April 12-14, 2018.
  • Timeline

    • All preliminary submissions must be received no later than March 2, 2018
    • Finalists will be announced on or around March 12, 2018
    • The winner will be revealed at the Student Chapters Leadership Conference between April 12-14, 2018
  • Prizes

    Entries from all use cases will be judged together. Prizes will be awarded based on the following two categories: graphic and analysis. The judges will evaluate all entries for their graphic and analysis qualities. Prizes will be awarded for each category separately and an entry can only win in a single category.


    First place – $2,000
    Second place – $1,000
    Third place – $500


    First place – $2,000
    Second place – $1,000
    Third place – $500


Get more data using the Temple Univerity Paley Library Guides

Paley Library has created an excellent set of guides that highlight where to find even more data for each challenge.The guide also will point you to additional resources about creating effective graphics.

Create graphics with Tableau and PowerBI

All Temple University students can get a free one-year license for Tableau! Tableau is a leading, easy to use visual analytics tool. Sign up on Tableau’s website and you’ll receive an activation key. Once you install the software, start with their Tableau Training and Tutorials.

Microsoft PowerBI also allows you to create visualizations through a user-friendly interface. Their product is alsofree for download. They also have a nice “getting started” tutorial.

Map geospatial data

  • Google Fusion Tables is simple. You need a regular – non-Temple – Google account.
  • Carto creates great looking maps. A free-tier is available.

Create infographics

Get public data

Lynda resources hosts software video tutorials. Acces to the following resources may require an account.


How entries will be evaluated

All entries will be evaluated by the judges in two categories: visualization and analysis. The final will also be judged by industry professionals.

The specific criteria for each category are:


  • Clarity (how well the graphic stands on its own without additional explanation)
  • Novelty/creativity (originality of thought; surprising way of approaching the data)
  • Insight (graphic aids understanding of the data)
  • Utility (ability of the graphic to aid decision making)


  • Relevance (analysis relates to the problem statement)
  • Completeness (degree to which the analysis answers the stated question)
  • Depth (sophistication of the analysis)
  • Consistency (conclusions consistent with the analysis)

Your entry will be disqualified if…

  • It is submitted after the deadline.
  • The attachments won’t open or are in the wrong file format.
  • Your interactive graphic won’t run.
  • You don’t specify the challenge you are addressing.
  • Team member names and college name are not on both the graphic and the description.