Tape à l’Oeil
Real-time data for fun and fashion from newborn to age 16
Created in 1993, Tape à l'œil is a clothing and accessories retailer committed to making fashion accessible and as responsible as possible for ages 0 to 16. This brand, which operates as part of the Association Familiale Mulliez (AFM) Group, has a base of 250 stores in France, 25 in Belgium, and 11 in Poland, and a partnership network that operates in the Middle East, North Africa, and the French overseas departments and territories. With close to 1,000 employees, mostly in France, the company generated a revenue of €250 million in 2019.
Customers, by definition, never fully belong to you — especially if your target audience’s loyalty is limited because of age. Continuously finding and attracting new customers through personalized services becomes vital. That's why Tape à l’œil established its online business 10 years ago, and it currently accounts for some 20% of the company's operations. “We very quickly proposed these combination web-to-store routes,” explains Guillaume Porquier, Information Systems Director at Tape à l’œil. “That was a winner. And the COVID-19 crisis further accelerated this transformation. A portion of our customers became omnichannel customers and took a liking to this service, even though 80% of the orders placed online are picked up in stores today.”
Tape à l’œil is equipped with the tools to fulfill its ambition. In 2018, the chain decided to overhaul a large part of its business applications and data platform using a project team of more than 25 people working on this transformation on a full-time basis.
“In the past, our model was very batch-oriented with many night operations. Our aim now is to communicate information to our stores and all our users on the fly. Our customers have an always-on internet connection and would take a dim view, for instance, of their order history not being updated in real time,” says Porquier.
Rather than work with an aging ERP system, Tape à l'œil decided to implement a new SAP- and Snowflake-based infrastructure for a cloud data warehouse.
To orchestrate all its data, Tape à l’œil made a two-pronged decision: Talend to increase the pace of data delivery and to meet the needs for data interchange in the form of message exchanges, and Stitch to take advantage of Google and Facebook/Instagram data so they can analyze online sales performance, “which is something we would never have been able to do without Talend,” adds Porquier.
“We were already using Talend Open Studio and had in-house competencies. Talend, together with Stitch, had everything we needed to orchestrate the entirety of our data interchange. In addition, we decided to make our data self-service, which makes analysts and data engineers independent and improves their response times.”
Guillaume Porquier says, “We developed 100 or so streams in less than six months without any problems whatsoever. We took advantage of this to improve the quality of our data assets.”
In retail, you have to combine promptness with proximity. Information must be able to flow from product design to sales; otherwise we can't do our job. Talend is a strategic resource to make that happen.
Information Systems Director
“Today, data is at the heart of everything we do,” says Guillaume Porquier with a satisfied air. It all begins with product development with the offering teams working on PLM (product lifecycle management). Data analysis is a catalyst that helps accelerate product innovation, with quick product feedback and market intelligence.
Downstream, inventory management is crucial. “If a product is not available at time T, the sale is lost. You run the risk both that the customer will turn to another retailer, and that the product will have to be sold at a discount at the end of the season. With COVID-19, some suppliers have had to suspend operations, and the real-time management of our supply chain allowed us to make the appropriate course changes very quickly.”
The final step is customer intelligence. “Previously, we needed a day to make the statistics from the register receipts available. Today, the operation takes less than 10 minutes to complete,” he says.
Internal and external data provide the stores with insight into customer behaviors and buying habits. This information can then be incorporated into predictive models. With the data collected online with Stitch, the company can also enhance its customer marketing data with customer journey analysis and predictive analytics.
“Stitch enables us to capture digital traffic data from European merchant websites and post KPIs for our management team. We also use Stitch to capture customer feedback through surveys from different angles, such as customer level of satisfaction with a new collection. Finally, Stitch retrieves campaign results from Facebook and Instagram to cross-reference them in Snowflake, making all this information available to the various disciplines,” says Guillaume Porquier.
“Our information system was built to meet all these challenges, the principal one being to put data at the heart of our strategy,” concludes Guillaume Porquier
For a medium-sized company like Tape à l’œil, having at its disposal an architecture that’s agile and this responsive is an advantage that impacts our growth. Choosing Talend is one of the best strategic decisions we have made to accelerate our development.
Information Systems Director