How a Ladieswear Retailer Reduced Markdowns & Increased Sales by 20%+
Founded in 1972 by two tailors named Jack Cynamon and Alan Green, Jacques Vert is a fashion brand based out of London, United Kingdom that focuses on the manufacturing and retailing of stylish, sophisticated women’s wear. Offering everything from dresses, coats, blouses, and jeans, the company is based in the UK, Ireland, and Canada, trading in hundreds of outlets across these regions.
When it came to making predictions with current solutions, we thought to ourselves: things would be much better if we were able to analyze more relevant data points.
Serving as the Brand Director for Jacques Vert and Eastex for the past year and a half, Rebecca Elderfield has been in charge of the retailer’s brand positioning and overall bottom line.
Her experience in the fashion industry has been extensive, from working as Buying and Sales Director for Amanda Wakeley, Product Director for the Shop Direct Group, and Creative Director at Jigsaw UK.
Even though the fashion brand has had an annual turnover of $150 million USD, the old methods of doing things prevented them from making bigger strides in this ever-evolving world. Traditional forecasting methods may have done some level of prediction, but there continued to be something missing from the entire equation: efficiency.
Prior to piloting with Chain of Demand, the company used a merchandising tool and have relied on interdepartmental sales meetings to perform forecasting. Although it allowed them to combine insights and opinions from all sides of the business, they realized it wasn’t the most efficient way to do things…especially as consumer demand kept changing.
When approached by Chain of Demand, there were some initial concerns. Elderfield expressed that at first, they were not sure whether the predictions would be accurate enough to take the right actions, and were unsure whether the solution was fit for their brand, in their markets.
Like any onboarding process, the main roadblock faced in the journey was convincing key decision makers. Considering this was a new approach, it took several explanations and demonstrations to assure the results of Chain of Demand’s solution promised.
Aligning the company’s primary business objectives was key to getting the CEO and CFO to agree in handing over the data. While there is a myriad of data sources to pull from, with Jacques Vert, we worked with integrating UK weather and holiday, marketing, and product data, past historical sales, and overall store data.
Upon completing the pilot, the company was pleasantly surprised to see that, beating their expectations and concerns, Chain of Demand was able to help optimize their buys and improve their overall bottom line. When examining the key metrics, they found that the key metrics which had improved were exit margins and reduction of markdowns.
Increasing full-price sales
Jacques Vert found that by doubling-down on the predicted bestsellers, they were able to increase their sales by 27%, jumping from $270,000 USD to $340,000 USD, and selling 700 more units.
Minimizing total inventory risk
They also were able to reduce markdowns by 71%, while also increasing their margins by 8% by learning to buy less inventory upfront. This allowed them to reduce their markdown from 66% to 42%, ultimately boosting their gross margin from 53% to 74%.
Onboarding and trying something new can always be daunting, especially for those who are not familiar with technology, particularly artificial intelligence. As Chain of Demand’s first piloted customer, Jacques Vert was able to see great gains on their return, achieving the following major milestones:
When addressing their initial concern, Elderfield expressed great surprise to how easy it was moving forward. Satisfied with the results, when asked what advice could be made for future customers, she noted to try the pilot, and have a dedicated team member to be the champion of the pilot. By doing so, this would give both sides a single point of contact, which would ensure maximizing the pilot’s success.
Honestly, with AI being very technical, I thought things were going to be quite complicated, but the entire process was simple enough from start to finish. Chain of Demand conducted a pilot with our data and aligning our objectives from the beginning made everything quite smooth and painless.