Harris Mustafa thinks so.
As Executive VP of Supply Chain, Merchandise Planning and Allocation for footwear giant DSW, Mustafa likens the current retail climate to that of the Industrial Revolution. There was a time, he said, when he would never have believed that people would buy shoes online — simply because the fit experience is so precise.
“The online movement has been an unbelievable revelation in the footwear business,” Mustafa said in an interview at The Premier Business Leadership Series in Las Vegas. “And today, our e-commerce business is the fastest-growing channel in the company.”
DSW is the second largest adult footwear retailer in the US and Mustafa says he is convinced that part of the company’s success is attributed to how prudently it applies analytics – in areas including marketing, planning, and markdown and size optimization. Analytics has enabled DSW to learn, for example, that:
- The 20 million members of its loyalty program contribute a disproportionately large portion of total revenue.
- Customers who shop using more than one channel spend significantly more than single-channel customers
- Creating “clustomers” of low and high margin customers based on their purchasing behaviors helps DSW optimize how those customers shop with the retailer
The evolution towards becoming an analytics-driven organization clearly excites Mustafa, and there is much yet to be done.
“We are just scratching the surface with our analytical discoveries ,” he said. With both the technology and consumer demands shifting so rapidly, Mustafa says the company continues to face tremendous challenges staying ahead of what customers want – but that analytical techniques can give them an upper hand.
His advice to others looking to lead change with analytics initiatives? Help C-level executives understand that analytical applications are not just departmental projects – they can, and should, result in tangible benefits to the customer.
For an inside perspective on analytics in retail, watch Gilt Groupe’s Senior Director of Analytics, Tamara Gruzbarg in this webcast.
For more on explaining analytics to executives, check out Z Solutions Inc. President Jeff Zeanah’s advice.