American Giant: Driving Growth by Democratizing Data

Homescreen for American Giant ecommerce site

Over the past 10 years, American Giant has gained a reputation as the creator of the greatest hoodie ever made. But the direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand has other big goals, especially as many brands in its orbit assess costs and find ways to maintain profitability.

That’s where Loren Simon comes in. As the company’s Chief Revenue Officer, Simon’s primary goal is to help drive growth for the top-line business and ensure all sales targets are hit. To do this successfully, he needs to be aligned with the CEO on strategic goals and then be fully embedded into the retail business. That means having access to, and digging into, the latest data across product, marketing and customer experience.

In his two-plus years in the organization, Simon has helped implement a solution that has democratized data and given the entire business unified access to information so everyone can fully align on goals and progress made.

“In most DTCs, there’s a three-tiered stool with a revenue executive (like me), the merchant team and some sort of brand or creative team — and we all work through a consolidated go-to-market calendar,” explained Simon in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We align on messaging and how we’re going to communicate key stories. Everyone has a different role in the process, but the goal is to execute the best we can to drive traffic and conversion.”

Sounds good in theory, but in practice, Simon and the broader team previously didn’t have the data infrastructure required to maximize results — nor the budget and team to build one internally. That’s when Simon discovered Daasity, a solution that has allowed American Giant to “implement a very sophisticated data infrastructure without having a big data team,” he noted.

Bringing Together Multiple Disparate Data Sources

Because Daasity can connect different point solutions in any given tech stack, American Giant now can unify its disparate data sources across marketing, inventory and sales platforms. As a result, the entire organization has one trustworthy source of truth, helping them make more “scientific” decisions. The best part for Simon was that the entire implementation was seamless, thanks to out-of-the-box capabilities that quickly met the team’s needs.

“We just couldn’t have done this before [Daasity] existed,” Simon said. “We’ve developed our regular weekly reporting for the site and business. We’re leveraging the fact that Daasity has integrated Google Analytics, marketing data, sales data and more to build out our reporting. Our planning and merchandising teams love the tool.” In fact, Simon described the planning and merchandising teams as the Daasity “power users,” as they need to access marketing, inventory and sales data in order to effectively update their strategies.

From a growth and marketing perspective specifically, Daasity has helped Simon more accurately measure cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and what the company’s goals really are. “We’ve made a more accurate calculation of what our broad finance goal should be, based on data sources from Shopify, our cost structure via NetSuite and our marketing costs,” he said. “Now we’re aligned on the goals, and CPA is calculated every day because we have a solid infrastructure.”

American Giant also has been able to build out solid reporting for the site team, which has to mine and analyze data to understand what’s driving traffic, engagement and action online. Because Daasity can integrate with outside tools, the team can become more agile and data-driven. “In light of not having an engineering team, if I need to set something up to send data to one of our different teams, I can just set that up myself within Daasity. I don’t need to set up APIs and data flows,” Simon noted.

Maximizing Speed to Value

Prior to joining American Giant, Simon held roles at POPSUGAR and, most recently, Everlane, the DTC apparel brand. He proudly defined himself as the “data guy” and helped build Everlane’s digital team from the ground up, creating processes and building analytics to grow revenues 3X from 2016 to 2019.

So, when the time came to develop a new process for American Giant, he was able to quickly answer the big question: “Do we build a solution to create our data infrastructure, or do we buy it?”

“American Giant tried to build something in-house before I joined the company and it didn’t work out,” Simon explained. “The company is a Shopify Plus merchant built on top of NetSuite, and we also use Klaviyo and Gorgias, which made things complicated. But on top of that, we also had no internal engineering or data resources. Daasity does exactly what they were trying to accomplish.”

While many tech implementations require in-depth (read: arduous) RFPs that outline specific requirements, Simon noted that when he looked “under the hood,” Daasity’s data infrastructure largely provided the underlying layer they needed to be more efficient and effective. For example, merchant and planning teams historically had to build saved queries to get the data they needed out of their ERP system. Once they put Daasity and its infrastructure in place, they were able to give new team members access to reliable data within a few days. “That is where we found a lot of value,” Simon said. “There’s one source of truth and we’re able to ensure it’s clean and trustworthy, and make it easy for team members to empower themselves and use the data themselves.”

Now, Simon is focused on amplifying the impact of Daasity across the organization and turning all team members into power users.

“As a business, we need to get better at looking at our customer behavior at a more granular level, and the data infrastructure through Daasity will allow us to do that,” Simon said. “We’ve also done a good job of getting some teams within the company really sufficient at using Daasity, but the plan is to drive that adoption further. My mission is always to get people into the system and feel empowered to access and use the data themselves.”


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