Informatica Helps J.Crew Keep Up With Latest Trends

By using a suite of software products from Informatica, clothing retailer J.Crew has found a way to consolidate and analyze all of its customer data from its retail stores, catalog sales, and its online store. Having access to this information helps J.Crew to better understand its customers and its products.

Informatica PowerMart-the software that J.Crew is deploying-is an integrated suite of software products that helps to automate the process of building and managing data and analytic applications. Informatica's software transforms data into standard records, and when used with business reporting tools, it formats data in a way that lets businesses measure the effectiveness of their sales channels, says Bart Foster, Informatica's VP.

A new feature to Informatica's PowerMart is the ability to support click streams as a source of data. "It's a hot market requirement to capture click streams and use it as a data source to figure out for instance if your Web sales are cannibalizing your catalog sales," says Janelle Hill, an analyst with Gartner Group.

After using the product for the past three months, J.Crew VP Mirek Zlotkowski says the company has already seen a return on investment. "For the first time, we were able to perform granular analysis at the SKU level-the lowest level that reports on color, size, and style of the items that we sell," he said. Retailers in the fashion industry must respond quickly to trends, Zlotkowski says. "People want to change styles and colors once per month, and if we don't know that, we don't know anything about our customers."

By integrating sales from all of its distribution channels with inventory, cost and financial data for analysis, J.Crew can more accurately forecast fabric needs for manufacturing, efficiently allocate financial and human resources across the company, and design more effective marketing strategies that will appeal to its customers.

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