Count American apparel company Carhartt among those enterprises turning to artificial intelligence for strategic benefit. The company, which has been making workwear and hunting clothing for more than 100 years, recently found the sales efforts of its three go-to-market divisions — each with different distribution channels — to be less coordinated and efficient as they could be.
To take a more strategic, data-driven approach to sales prospecting, Carhartt has developed an AI-driven sales optimization and prospecting engine called the Market Attack Sales Prospecting Module. The project, which has earned Carhartt a FutureEdge 50 Award for applications of emerging technologies, enables the company’s sales units to be more intentional about how they go to market in a coordinated way, says Jolie Vitale, director of BI and analytics at Carhartt.
Those units include Carhartt’s wholesale division, which consists of 12,000 customer retail locations (“doors” in industry parlance) and more than 800 partners; its direct-to-consumer business, with 33 retail stores in the US; and a rapidly growing direct-to-consumer website. Carhartt also provides products directly to other businesses, outfitting them with uniforms and embroidered products, for example.
“This project is not about adding new accounts; it’s about optimizing within accounts,” says John Hill, CIO and senior vice president of business planning at Carhartt. “If somebody has got 2,000-plus doors across the US, how do we optimize how they go about selling Carhartt, their assortment, what they are trying to put in each store? This initial phase of the tool is about optimizing those relationships.”