Elie Tahari uses IBM technology to target new customers, identify new fashion trends

- Designer Taps Business Intelligence to Boost Profitability and Brand Loyalty Globally -

NEW YORK and ARMONK, N.Y., February 6, 2009 -- Global fashion designer, Elie Tahari, announced today that the company is using IBM (NYSE:IBM) business intelligence technology to help gain greater visibility into customer buying habits, merchandising, and supply chain to make better use of information and become more responsive to customer needs. Since implementing the system, the retailer has been able to more effectively target new customers and boost sales by more than 10 percent, while cutting operating costs.

As a fashion designer with global operations, Elie Tahari's collection changes from season to season throughout the year. It was critical for the retailer to get better visibility into their supply chain to keep up with customer demand for changing clothing line based on season's trends and geography. With the new business intelligence solution, Elie Tahari now has been able to achieve more than 30 percent savings in managing their supply chain and transfer of merchandise from warehouse to the stores.

In today's new economy, retailers are challenged to attract new customers and create advocates for their brand while driving down costs. If the right merchandise is placed in the wrong location, such as in the back room, instead of the front of the store, retailers risk not only losing short-term profitability, but long-term consumer loyalty and interest. Through the use of advanced real time analytics, Elie Tahari has successfully been able to address this challenge and address the new shopping paradigm.

To date, the solution has helped Elie Tahari employees gain better visibility into all of their critical business information, such as trends around customer orders. The software helps identify best selling sizes across product lines, popularity and demand for a particular item, or colors in fashion for the season. Based on gaining visibility into customer demand from previous years, they are now able to predict upcoming demands -- for example, the retailer can now anticipate a high demand for "yellow halter dress" for the spring season in New York and would now be able to get the right amount of dresses with the right sizes available in stores in New York.

In addition, the IBM software also helped reduce the risk of manual reporting errors by moving to a new electronic system. In the past, it would take days for information to be manually compiled. That information is now updated every 5 minutes and can be viewed by all departments across the company, irrespective of location in any part of the world. With real time access to information across their stores worldwide, channels and supply chain, retail managers, designers and merchandisers now have detailed information on buying patterns in different parts of the world, so they can ensure they have the optimal assortment of merchandise to satisfy customer needs.

"The IBM business intelligence system has significantly helped us gain visibility into our customers’ needs. With efficiencies that have been brought into our day-to-day transactions, this system has saved Elie Tahari several millions of dollars annually and has paid for itself many times over," said Nihad Aytaman, director of business applications, Elie Tahari. “IBM technology has helped us bring the kind of innovation in the high fashion industry that is helping us position ourselves better than the competition by creating brand loyalty for our products."

To cope with intensifying competition and global expansion of its business, Elie Tahari put a new focus on driving business efficiency and cutting costs while building loyal customers as advocates for their brand. The retailer needed to gain deeper insight into what products were selling and what customers were reacting to in their regional stores, in order to develop more strategic and customized sales and promotion campaigns. As a result, the retailer turned to IBM business intelligence (BI) software to give a 360 degree view of all information, from sales to production, and help all systems and departments connect with one another in near real time.

With the new technology, running on IBM Cognos BI and eServer iSeries, Elie Tahari is fulfilling its expansion goals to serve several key international markets, including Kuwait. The new solution has enabled the global sales team to have instant access to unified and standardized reports to meet shifting customer needs.

New Intelligence Helping Improve Sales

With real time access to information across their stores, channels and supply chain, retail managers, designers and merchandisers now have detailed information on buying patterns as well as market trends, so they can ensure they have the optimal assortment of merchandise to satisfy customers. The BI system effectively allows Elie Tahari to create new intelligence by presenting a unified view of all the information available in different systems, which can then be put to use for smarter decisions around market demand and specific customer needs.

Prior to implementing IBM Cognos BI, employees often had to run several reports from different systems and manually try to piece the information together to make sense of trends, market demands, financial and product availability. This was not only time consuming but also left room for errors since the combined information was never put together in a timely manner. By the time manual reports were compiled, a lot of new data had been generated or changed in the systems which made the manually prepared excel sheets obsolete.

Now, the business intelligence system built on IBM technology not only provides business information, but provides on-line access to the company’s key transactional systems – orders, warehouse, financials, production, point-of-sale and channel sales. Sales associates searching for specific stock across the distributed supply chain can now quickly pinpoint the item in need, determine the location, and order new shipments to minimize the financial impact of carrying out-of-stock merchandise. As an added bonus, the system also incorporates pictures and PDF files into reports so managers can see actual images of merchandise -- a critical factor in the high fashion apparel industry.

The IBM Cognos BI solution also gives the retailer a consolidated view of production, sales, distribution. Employees can anticipate problems by drilling down if the garment is off schedule and understand supply and demand cycle ahead of time. Elie Tahari employees have the combination of up-to-the-minute creative designs and product process that enable early detection, fast reaction and quick execution based on anticipated trends.

"In today's economic times, retailers must adapt to the changing consumer behaviors to attract new shoppers and create more advocates while driving down costs, and creating new value," said Ambuj Goyal, General Manager, Information Management, IBM. "We are committed to the success of our clients helping them gain new intelligence into their business operations by creating an information agenda and using customer information as a strategic asset to improve business outcomes."

About Elie Tahari:

Elie Tahari is a privately held corporation with a global presence in more than 40 countries and in more than 600 US stores including free standing boutiques in New York, East Hampton, Las Vegas, Boston, Atlanta, Boca Raton and Bal Harbour. Elie Tahari has come to define modern sophistication with his inspired collections of understated grace and elegance. To see the latest from the Elie Tahari Collection, please visit

About IBM:

For more information about IBM retail solutions please visit For more information about IBM Information Management please visit

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