Teen apparel retailer ‘gets schooled’ on predictive analytics

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Rue 21 made a strategic decision to ensure it could get the biggest return on its predictive analytics investment.

To accurately complete the adoption of predictive analytic technology across the company, Rue 21 used Action Learning, a core methodology used by the University of Liverpool. Action Learning is an experience-based and action-oriented approach to organizational learning.

The organization worked with First Insight to adopt consumer-driven predictive analytics when making design, buying, planning and pricing decisions across its apparel, footwear and accessories categories. These decisions were based on customer sentiment. To ensure the company stayed on the right path, the organization implemented action learning with executives, merchandising teams and planning and inventory teams, a move that Rue21 fully adopt the solution within three months.

The program was championed by Mark Chrystal, the company’s chief analytics officer, and a graduate of the University of Liverpool’s Doctorate in Business Administration program. He studied the learning process while attending Liverpool University.

“Too often organizations take a top-down approach when trying to integrate new solutions into the company,” Chrystal said.

“Action learning empowered the merchandising team at Rue21 and has given a voice to every individual, no matter the level,” he added. “Organizational adoption of the First Insight technology and its incorporation into our business processes has been instrumental in improving our business performance.”

Since adding the solution, Rue21 is evaluating a greater number of products, and reflecting direct consumer input in their buying decisions. “We have already seen margin improvements of up to 600 basis points on the products we have processed through the First Insight platform,” he added.

Rue21 currently operates 752 stores in 45 states.


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