The case analysis is meant to show the student’s ability to apply course concepts and vocabulary to the business problem. Students are expected to use theories, vocabulary, and models to describe the components within the case. The case should be written in clear and concise language that shows the student’s ability to synthesize course material and relate it to business problems.
Case :: Predicting Consumer Tastes with Big Data at Gap
The suggested format for case analysis is provided below, which comprises of six sections. However, given the nature of each case, the case analysis doesn’t have to comprise all six sections. The students may apply this format with flexibility.
Overview of pertinent history and facts. Describe the background of the situation or business that is the subject of the case; Provide information that creates the context for your analysis; incorporate relevant facts about the company or situation derived from research outside the case you are analyzing.
State the problem. Identify the problem or key issue from the case that is relevant to course goals. Will an analysis of this issue allow you to demonstrate your comprehension and synthesis of course concepts?Clearly describe the problem or issue.
Offer alternative solutions and approaches to the problem. Using information or data found in the case study, as well as from course materials and your own research, offer two or more solutions or approaches to the problem.
Evaluation of Alternatives
Evaluate each alternative. Critically assess the alternatives defined in section 3. Describe the implications and key steps for implementation of each alternative. Consider external and internal factors and other relevant trends. Once again, utilize course texts and other resources to enhance your assessment.
Offer your best recommendation based on your analysis in section 4, recommend one alternative. Support and justify your recommendation. Depending on the nature of the case, you may suggest management or leadership styles or commitments, describe the organizational structure, policies and systems, or outline changes to the business model needed to successfully implement this recommendation.
Possible Results and Obstacles to Implementation
Summarize the likely result and/or obstacles that may play into the execution of your solution. What outcomes might result from the implementation of the selected alternative? What internal or external trends may enhance or obstruct successful implementation?
The case in delves into the depths of problem and everchanging strategies that have become a norm in the industry of clothing and apparels nowadays with companies jostling with each other in order to gain foothold and also to shine out among an overly competitive market to catch the eye of the customers and thus become a brand loved and used by many
This case takes us through the journey of Gap Inc. once the biggest apparel brand of the US said to be the one that decides what kind of clothes the US liked. It takes us through the history of the brand and how it increased from just a smaller bag of clothing to a huge chain of multi-tiered clothing. It also talks about the prevalent practices in the company and how some of them might not be in tune with the latest ages and the necessities. The Case takes us through the techniques and strategies used by many of the competitors starting from the old ones to the new hipper ones and also gives us a first-hand view on how the new changes and the requirement of the millennials are really making these old and traditional brands run for their money and even giving up or completely adapting to the age-old vision or image that they had created in the mind of their consumers.
The problem that this company is facing primarily stems from the fact that it is not really able to move with the times with the age-old statement that it had created of being one of those brands which create clothes that are must have at prices that are incredible to believe has now fallen flat in front of the millennials who are much more tech-savvy and also much more prone to changes in the trends. It also talks about the problem that CEO Peck is facing of the inability of the brand to truly predict and understand the trend and the requirement that its customers are having and thus react directly to that. The problem stems from the creation of design head in the company who are responsible for bringing in and imagining new designs that they are sure that the public will like and als0 the dilemma and resistance that the CEO is facing in his drive to completely automate this process by bringing in a full-fledged Big Data system that will be able to take in data from all the customer visits to their websites and will be able to predict uniquely what type of inventory which store will need and which type of style is truly picking up its head in which part of the country. The problem also involves the dilemma of whether the company should keep selling all its apparels through it long-standing brick and mortar and the recent websites or should it partner with the online Giant Amazon and sell most of their apparels through it. All these problems are what is really troubling the company in its bid to become the number 1 apparel store of the country again
We did two kinds of analysis before diving into our solution to understand the situation of the company and the industry as a whole
This helped us understand the situation of the company
Strength – Heavy Brand value with a very strong base of resources giving them the capability to make a strong decision
Weakness – A lack of any technological background making it an immense risk to take the decision to completely integrate with technology and remove the age-old practices that are prevalent
Opportunities – Huge increase of the apparel market with a similar increase of the big data and technological industry with numerous examples of companies able to turn around their business and grip of the consumers by using predictive technologies
Threat – New integration of technologies ca spell disasters; also the fast-changing movement of the millennials away from the company can spell its doom if not controlled quickly
This, on the other hand, helps to look into the industry and what situation it presently is in
Political – Though this isn’t of much relevance to the case, the prevalent environment of globalization and a free market are some of the main drivers towards these booming markets
Economic – The end of the financial crisis as well as the uprising of the new middle class has resulted in a heavy demand scenario which has resulted in a heavily competitive market
Social – A heavily connected user base compounded with a strong social media presence has made this one of the most important factors to consider and if can be done effectively will speak wonders for the company
Technological – With the advent of the technological revolution and the various facilities like the Big Data, etc it has become imperative that a company uses them to their maximum advantage. Whichever company is unable to do so perishes soon
Alternative Solution & Evaluation
Though the company, in this case, is trying its level best in order make sure that it is able to understand the needs of its customers predictively and also keep itself abreast with the latest trends by the help of big data, and removing post like the head designers which are quite irrelevant nowadays .It has reduced the inventory procurement to about 8 – 10 weeks from months by bringing in the centers to the Caribbean than in Asia and have also started their partnership with Amazon to move towards a completely online presence slowly but I hope the company can truly move towards an alternative solution where it will be able to keep up with the changing needs of the customers without changing any vision or mission of its own.
This can be possible by making the company apparels completely customizable to the audiences. As the company is slowly moving completely towards the online industry and also have started looking into an augmented reality device so that the customer can wear them online before wearing them, they can make the customer make their own design on top of the trademark design they do. This is recently followed by a multitude of companies and have gained huge traction. The customer using the virtual reality tool already used in the company can be used by the customer to change their buttons, the style of the collar, the color of the shirt and many others. This will not only add on to the already huge inventory of products that the company boasts but with almost no extra cost will give the customer a feeling of creating his own dress and a much more chance of buying it keeping the base tradition of the company intact. However, this strategy can only be implemented when the strategies ideated by Peck to completely integrate the online mode in Gap becomes a reality.
Taking all the above points into consideration I would suggest the company to proceed on the exercise of completely dedicated team for the technical and data sensing part, however that should be very closely integrated with the marketing team in order to make sure the situation and conflict that used to happen between the designer and the marketers never repeat. Also though the business model of creating trends through the data obtained is a good way to proceed but many companies would do so already. Adding the customer customization feature enhancement to it would truly create a niche for the company that would help it to stay afloat for many more years.
However, having suggested the above solutions there will be obstacles which might create a huge issue with such implementation. Starting from the innate risk that a company with not much technical background may go through while integrating the technology in a hurry which may result not only in resistance from the employees being affected therein but also by the age-long tradition may become a tough nut to crack. Also if the company gets to involved in this changes and misses the fast-changing world and trends outside due to too many processes and technological complexities it may find itseld spiraaling down a pathway towards oblivion from which it can never recover. So though there is a huge impetus on the panning that has been done well till now, it will maily depend on how they are able to execute and implement the plan in order to find whether the company will survive or not
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