Skypad, the self-serve data reporting platform, is expanding its reach further into the footwear industry.
With the economic uncertainty rampaging throughout the retail sector, automated reporting tools and access to sales data have been instrumental in assisting with budgeting, repurposing resources and ESG and sustainability efforts. As such, Skypad counts 90 percent of brands in retailers as partners including Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Currently, 150 footwear retailers including Manolo Blahnik, Sophia Webster and Christian Louboutin use the platform, with more joining.
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Skypad’s technological advancements for footwear retailers and brands provide retailers and wholesalers with real-time speedy insights, data accuracy, efficiency gains, actionable analytics, inventory optimization, competitive advantage, enhanced collaboration, personalized customer experience, scalability and more.
Older legacy versions of similar platforms tend to rely on outdated architecture when integrating new tools such as EDI852. While Skypad operates with cloud-based accessibility to data and reporting from anywhere at any time, legacy systems are typically still restricted by on-premises access — which can also be a detriment to companies working remotely.
“Streamlined reporting and transparency create a win-win situation for both sides of the supply chain,” said Gil Hakami, chief revenue officer at SkyPad. “Suppliers benefit from improved operational efficiency, better demand forecasting and enhanced collaboration, while retailers enjoy accurate demand planning, optimized inventory management and improved decision-making. This synergy leads to a more agile, responsive and profitable supply chain overall.”
Hakami explains Skypad’s role in the footwear industry into the future is to provide “an unparalleled efficiency platform bridging the collaboration between retailers and brand suppliers.” Driving this goal is supplying both ends with accurate data in an optimal format to create a well-aligned and responsive supply chain. Furthermore, Skypad is using this data to help elevate the consumer shopping experience and create personalized and seamless interactions.
Although Skypad just recently became a member of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, the company has already been working with Caleres since 2017. Home to the footwear brands Vince, Dr. Scholl’s, Famous Footwear, Sam Edelman, Veronica Beard and more, Caleres’ daily and weekly usage of Skypad has become an integral component of its business operations.
Here, Svetlana Goncharova, vice president of inventory and dilution management at Caleres, sat down with WWD to discuss its switchover to Skypad, using data to tailor the consumer shopping experience, how the company’s business strategies are impacted by accurate data and more.
WWD: Before adopting Skypad, your team relied on a legacy method for gathering sell-through data, such as EDI852. Could you discuss some of the challenges you encountered and how has Skypad addressed these challenges?
Svetlana Goncharova: Even though we were receiving EDI852 reports from our retail partners, we couldn’t use them without a specific platform, as the data in these reports comes at a very granular level. Before Skypad, we mostly relied on buyer reports and Retailer portal downloads. The process of collecting and consolidating the data was highly labor-intensive and time-consuming. Skypad streamlined and greatly improved this. First thing each Monday morning everyone has retail data from the prior week at our fingertips. Brand leadership can see top-line trends, while sales and planning teams can dig deep to understand what drove the business and start taking action.
WWD: Could you elaborate on how streamlined reporting has empowered Caleres’ diverse brands to access more impactful insights, and how has this data-driven approach influenced your business strategies?
S.G.: Knowledge is power and Skypad gives us this power. What I love about the application is its ability to give us data at both the macro and micro levels. For example, on a macro level, we can see early readings on “boot season” and opportunities to increase inventory positions on a hot-selling item. On a micro level, we can even get down to a store level. Does a partner store on 57th Street in New York need more Sam Edelman Laguna booties? How many pairs of our Dr. Scholl’s Time Off sneakers did a certain retailer sell last week? We make all our business decisions empowered by that knowledge.
WWD: How has comprehensive analysis helped in tailoring the shopping experience for each individual brand’s target consumers? Additionally, how has it facilitated better planning for each brand’s upcoming collections and identifying new opportunities?
S.G.: Skypad shows us which shoes resonate with consumers. In terms of in-season planning, the analysis we do using Skypad allows us to ensure a better assortment at retail or online for our consumers. We can pivot and react to trends quickly, offering our retailers the opportunity to place reorders on “hot” items, as well as using our drop ship capabilities to satisfy consumer demand. In terms of pre-season line planning, Skypad data is critical in relation to category, class, heel height and MRSP. It helps identify shifts in the business, as well as opportunities.
WWD: How have the dynamics of your relationships with retail buyers evolved? Have there been specific improvements in communication, collaboration or insight sharing?
S.G.: Retail buyers are overwhelmed managing multiple brands with leaner teams, and they rely heavily on Caleres to provide detailed analysis of the business. We value being a great partner to retailers and working side by side with them to drive business. Skypad enables us to show up with in-depth data across multiple facets of the business — style, color, size, on-hand inventory, AUR, silhouette, heel height, as well as dynamic reporting as it relates to potential market share gains and misses.
WWD: Can you share how the Skypad user community has evolved within Caleres? Furthermore, please take us through how this evolution has enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of different teams and their respective functions.
S.G.: We started our collaboration with Skypad in 2017 with a limited number of users. Today we are a community of 100 users strong and are planning to significantly increase that next year. The sales, sales planning and demand planning, marketing, e-commerce, design and product development teams are all using Skypad regularly. Recently, one of our newly hired salespeople told me that out of all the systems and tools Caleres uses, Skypad is her favorite application which is essential for her to excel in her job.
WWD: When evaluating potential solution providers as partners, what key qualities and features are a priority and how has Skypad aligned with these criteria to contribute to Caleres’ overall success?
S.G.: Our key priorities in selecting a provider were as follows:
Access to information from key retail partners
Data accuracy and reliability
Timing of data receipt
Ability to support multiple users
Ease of use
Innovation and creativity
Deep understanding of the retail industry
Excellent customer support
The Skypad team demonstrated proficiency in all these requirements and therefore was selected as our trusted partner in retail sales reporting. Seven years into our collaboration we know we made the right choice.
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