How a new site is helping parents find baby formula
We’ve all heard about the shortage of baby formula in the U.S., and while many Americans have been powerless to do anything about it, some are actually well equipped to help.
A good example is Gabe Wight, who works for Domo customer Webata, which collects data that enables retailers to better analyze their digital businesses. In other words, Webata is a data company, which means it’s also capable of collecting data that can help parents find the baby formula they need. Once Gabe realized this, he was off to the races.
For him, the project was personal; his very own nephew needs a specialized formula. And for a time, at least, that formula was in short supply. But with the data Gabe was able to collect, and the platform he was able to use to synthesize that data (Domo), he managed to quickly launch findingformula.org, which basically houses a collection of filterable charts and maps that allows users to easily identify which stores, in what locations, have formula on their shelves.
We at “Domo at Data” played a minor role in findingformula.org’s development by tweaking a few of the visualizations—an exercise, I must say, that served as a good reminder to really think about the persona for which you are building a data visualization. The persona of a parent looking for specific formula is very different than that of someone just trying to understand trends.
The main/home page on findingformula.org focuses on the parent persona with location and product information, complete with links to the websites of retailers that have formula in stock. But there is also a Formula Stat Tracker page, which places more of an emphasis on trends in baby formula availability.
The Formula Stat Tracker page is great because you can really drill into the topic and gain an understanding as to how, for instance, baby formula inventory has shifted over time—which is exactly what the following chart we pulled from that page shows:
The trends also alerted us that there was a big drop in in stock on July 12,2022. The original page did not give us much detail on why that was happening, so we spun up a quick Magic ETL so users could analyze change in in-stock percentage from 7 days prior (see charts below).
Having such a calculation makes it possible to look at states, brands, and even individual products to try to understand what could be driving drops (and, potentially, jumps). You can see that the brand Parents Choice and the product Nutramigen Hypoallergenic Formula were the biggest contributors to the drop we saw above.