In the last year, conversations about the issues that can occur in retail executions have undoubtedly accelerated — from inventory planning and ensuring a smooth consumer journey to navigating retailer wholesale markdowns.
Courtney Coleman, program director for SkyPad in the Sky I.T. Group, told audiences at the FN CEO Summit that what can be learned from these discussions is that when you don’t have the right data to make informed decisions, it is ultimately the consumer experience that lacks.
For nearly four years, Caleres, the parent of brands including Sam Edelman, Allen Edmonds, Franco Sarto, Vince and many others, has worked with Sky I.T. Group as a resource in making informed, data-driven decisions across its organization.
Now having built a consensus around how to use its data through SkyPad, Keith Duplain, division president of the brand portfolio at Caleres, said the company has been able to see the incredible impact it has had on the business with more quantifiable, consistent and timely data.
“Being able to have the data on the history of the performance, location data, classification data — and making much more informed decisions as we march forward — is incredibly powerful to be able to plan our business accurately,” said Duplain. “Think about all the things that that touches: It touches not only the retailer relationship but it goes all the way up to the supply chain in terms of forecasting.”
Further, Coleman said, as SkyPad has worked with businesses in the current climate, she has seen just how critical leveraging data has become as businesses evolve to be multifaceted in an environment where the consumer demands and needs are ever-changing and growing. At the same time, for brands, the last year has brought changes in retail partnerships, with the access to data allowing for deeper insights into how to manage each channel.
“We value all of our retail partnerships,” said Duplain. “And by having the data in a timely manner, it allows us to be that much closer to what we know our channels and our buyers are going through. Every Monday morning, sometimes even before buyers will have an aggregated record of our performance from the prior week, our organization can start to make decisions knowing if we need more of a particular item at a retailer, or we need less of a particular item at that retailer, [and then decide] how we partner to improve the business.”
Another key aspect of the data collection, Duplain said, was understanding the consumer as part of the equation. “SkyPad’s data sources are helping us build a world with a more robust picture of who the consumer is and what the voice of the consumer is,” he said. “[It requires asking] how can you take a lot of these data sets and build an environment where you gain insights into what he or she needs, and then how can we serve that? And SkyPad is one component of that as we continue to build out a lot of our other tools.”
As Caleres considers the future, Duplain said the data will enable the goals within the company’s roadmap.
Summit sponsors include presenting sponsor PayPal and event sponsors Aetrex, Caleres, FDRA, K-Swiss, Riskified, SkyPad, Sperry, Two Ten and Zappos.