Knitting, Data Warehousing & John Lewis

Why yes actually I can and am about to make a post linking those 3 topics. Ok so knitting and John Lewis (Hereafter referred to as JL) is easy, seeing as JL sells knitting supplies. But datawarehousing? Well let me take a few steps back first.

At some point at the start of last year (2006) JL Oxford street moved its haberdashery department from the ground floor to the fourth floor. The fourth floor being the floor that sells all the kiddies stuff from clothing, to toys, to school wear. And at the time (well while I worked there in the summer) I did speculate that the reason they moved the department was to create more foot traffic. I mean if you figure that most people buying stuff from habby are women, then well ground floor you have a maze of jewellery, bags, tights, perfumes, make up to navigate, then 1st floor ladies wear, i forget what’s on the 2nd, but 3rd is furniture and then 4th finally habby!

And at the time it did also occur to me that people who come to buy knitting supplies sometimes get stuff to knit for little ‘uns. Soo you can try and tempt them with cute looking kiddy clothes to. (This is also obviously why you have to walk THROUGH toys to get to school wear, obvious marketing strategy there).

Obviously though a lot of people did complain about having to go up 4 flights of escalators, especially if they just wanted one real (sp?) of cotton. Although I have to point out that the whole reason I’m now so into knitting is all because of JL having habby on the 4th floor! When you’re working on the tills and you see all the awesome knitting/habby stuff that people buy it really makes you want to get creative! But I digress.

So what’s all this got to do with data warehousing I hear you ask? Everything really. To put it simply companies (should) use Data Warehousing & Data Mining to monitor how they are doing. A good example is supermarkets (Tesco’s) they use data warehousing to know what products are selling, what types of customer (single female, professional, student etc) are buying what. It helps them to tailor what they sell, to increase their profits and to try beat the competition.

So it occurred to me during my Data Warehousing lecture to day. I wonder if JL did any sort of knowledge discovery (the top level decisions that are made based on the data they have and such) on moving habby to the 4th floor. And I wonder what their reasons were and whether it’s actually worked. Obviously it’s not an answer I’ll ever get, but it did just pop into my head.

Also.. if their argument is that it’s grannies who are mostly doing the knitting and who might get enticed by cute kiddy clothes/toys then.. well if Ravelry is anything to go by, then that isn’t really an accurate picture. But then perhaps you’ve got lots of young people knitting and you ARE making them trek through all the other things that people tend to buy.. so perhaps it’s not so crazy? Who knows, who knows.

I must say that Data Warehousing (even though it’s a real pain to understand and such) is really a pretty interesting subject, really makes you think on WHY companies sell stuff they way they do and such. Although I’m really not sure I’d want to be a consultant for it, even if my lecturer keeps pointing out that the bonuses you can make are INSANE (although not as insane as the profits you could make a company), because the job just sounds sooo stressful! You have to make the right decisions or else your out. What company is going to keep a consultant who loses them money?

Hmmm… a bit of a random topic methinks?

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1 Comment

Filed under Knitting, Uncategorized, University

One response to “Knitting, Data Warehousing & John Lewis

  1. infonitive

    Interesting views on data warehousing. You might find http://www.infonitive.com an interesting forum.

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