“SEND IT!” This is a bellow of confidence akin to “let’s go!” and it’s something you might hear from outdoor enthusiasts who proudly wear the Arc’teryx brand. Founded in 1989 by a group of Vancouver-based climbers, the company’s goal as an outdoor clothing and equipment brand is to “create equipment that enables a person to be immersed in the moment of doing, regardless of external conditions.” They value simplicity in the design of all their products in order to solve complex challenges, as it reads on their website.
Most of the complex challenges their website refers to are related to climbing, skiing, snowboarding, and other similar pursuits, but Manager of Business Intelligence William Jackson had a different complex challenge to solve. Six years ago, he had made the switch from generating static SAP Crystal Reports and Cognos reports over to analysis with QlikView. More recently, the company had spoken about expansion into new markets and that means extensive research into your target areas for growth.
“Vancouver is where we built our brand – it rains there nine months out of the year and the purchasing power in the area is strong. Many of our core outdoor and urban astute customers reside in the Vancouver area: we just needed to find the right markets to continue to grow our brand.” -Manager of Business Intelligence, William Jackson
Jackson started his search where every other intrepid internet researcher does: Google! He scoured numerous sites but had trouble finding the external data that would give him the insight into the right markets for expansion.
“We hit Google pretty hard, we needed external data on purchasing power, population demographics and most importantly weather. We cobbled together the data from different places but there was no access to reliable weather or economic data. Even when you did find a source you liked: it costs thousands of dollars for access and the data wasn’t being updated!”
Fortunately for Jackson, his solution came in the form of a press release in April of 2015 when Qlik announced Qlik DataMarket would be generally available beginning in June of 2015. Qlik DataMarket piqued Jackson’s interest as the release expressly cited weather and economic data among its millions of fact values.
Once Qlik DataMarket became available, Jackson pounced and started to make city-by-city comparisons backed by feedback from Arc’teryx employees.
“We initially didn’t have a presence in many of these locations and we only had local employee stories and incomplete data to base our prior decisions on. Qlik DataMarket gave us all the data we wanted, plus it was being constantly updated. Qlik DataMarket was the main reason we bought Qlik Sense; plus, it took us only about two hours to build a data model.”
That data model initially yielded a table of the top cities in the world as ranked by average annual precipitation, Gross Domestic Product and population. That table was then cross referenced with areas the company had an existing footprint in…and some of the figures jumped off the page.
“Right away we noticed that Washington D.C. showed a big market opportunity for us to grow our footprint. Shortly after running this analysis we took steps to expand our presence there. We also saw opportunities in other cities like Montreal, London and Boston (which just opened). Our next big opening is our first brand store in New York City, which we’re pumped about.”
Of course, opening new brand stores was just the beginning. By establishing a new model for average daily sales at these locations, it allowed Arc’teryx to improve sell-through at their flagship stores in Vancouver and Tokyo. It also allowed the company to get more creative with their store openings as well:
“In Chamonix, France, we soon plan to open our first community space with a joint partner, Chamonix Experience (Chamex). The space will feature free Wi-Fi, a selection of core Arc’teryx product, and mountain guide services and route information from Chamex.”
A worldwide retail strategy punctuated by external data? You may not find a more simple solution to a complex challenge.