Chubbies sells short shorts – and bets long on data analytics enabled by Fivetran

Chubbies Shorts leverages advanced analytics by using Fivetran to blend customer data from Shopify, Klaviyo, Google Analytics, Google Sheets and more into the Google BigQuery data warehouse.

Data Stack

Key Takeaways

  • Chubbies chose Fivetran for its easy setup, large selection of connectors, fixed pricing model and scalability.
  • Rather than making decisions off stagnant Excel spreadsheets, the business team gets real-time data in Looker.
  • The merchandising team makes decisions about product success in two-three weeks, compared to over nine weeks before Fivetran.
  • With more comprehensive customer data, the business can determine how to allocate spend to existing channels, and measure the impact of new channels, efficiently.

In 2011, Tom Montgomery and fellow Stanford University students Kyle Hency, Preston Rutherford and Rainer Castillo began hawking shorts — really, really short shorts — on the shores of Lake Tahoe. These shorts represented a backlash-of-sorts response to the long and ultra-wide styles of the time. Or, as Montgomery remembers it, the “dark days of long, baggy cargo shorts.”

Known today as Chubbies, the San Francisco-based clothier has gone from selling a few dozen pairs of shorts in Lake Tahoe to distributing a clothing line in its own branded stores and across the globe online. “We were looking for a funny, eye-catching name that no other fashion brand would call themselves. We thought Chubbies was hilarious,” Montgomery says. “In San Francisco, the sun is barely out. When it is, we embrace it by wearing tiny shorts. The brand was something that came naturally to us.”

Seeking a Single Source of Truth

Chubbies’ marketing efforts moved from combing the beaches for customers to analyzing a blend of customer data from its martech data stack. However, with the data siloed in separate sources, the business was unable to paint a clear picture of user and customer behavior and conducted all of its analysis in Excel.

Having siloed data resulted in teams looking at different information to answer the same questions. “People worked in silos. We didn’t know the impact of Facebook advertising on customer service, or emails on sales, for instance,” Carlos Nido, Senior Manager of Data & Analytics at Chubbies says. “People were looking at different sources for the same questions and would end up making different decisions.”

Data Fueled by Fivetran

While the business wanted to centralize its data, it didn’t have the resources to build data pipelines internally. After evaluating several solutions, Chubbies found that Fivetran had an easy setup, a large selection of connectors, a clear pricing model that enabled the business to plan for the future, and scalability. “With everything in one ecosystem, we can easily analyze the data that we want. It’s plug-and-play with Fivetran, for what normally would consume massive amounts of engineering resources,” says Nido.

Centralizing data in BigQuery enables the business to focus on its mission rather than integrating data from disparate sources. “All of our business units are on a mission to fully understand how they affect the customer, their role in the customer’s life and experience, and the levers they need to press to increase the value of the experience,” Montgomery says. “For us, this process is king. The data that is being fueled by Fivetran is an important part of the process that helps us optimize.”

“Fivetran is providing access to data for many people at Chubbies,” Montgomery adds. “Combined with BigQuery and Looker it is allowing us to make better decisions. This frees up time for the data team to take more of a strategic approach, to create long-term solutions and to move away from creating reports for people.”

Visualizations Through Looker

For business intelligence, Chubbies runs Looker on top of its BigQuery warehouse. “With Looker, we can bring information together in a single location, get rid of all the Excel sheets, and have very good visualizations,” Nido says.

The entire business can build ad hoc reports through Looker and employees are empowered to make their own informed decisions. “People don’t have to learn Excel formulas to analyze data, they just click a few buttons in Looker. All of this is possible because we have Fivetran. The amount of people needed to maintain our data has been cut in half and we’re able to have a lot more business impact,” Nido says.

Using its critical marketing metrics, Chubbies can now determine what ads prompted orders, and what emails lead to sales. It’s about understanding consumers’ lifetime value and revenue implications. “We analyze consumers from the first piece of content they see all the way through their 10th order, with any exchanges and emails along the way,” Montgomery says. “Our web analytics is about how people are behaving on the site once we get them to arrive on the site. Data with Fivetran has been a huge driving force for us.”

Live Product Performance Tracking

The merchandising team can now measure the impact of a product much more quickly. Previously, when launching a product, it had to be sold for weeks in order to see sell-through rates. The team would have to download the data from Shopify, put it in Excel, look at how the product sold and wait nine weeks for returns. Only then could the business calculate sales, returns and the effect of the product. “Now in Looker we can see sales and returns live, so after two to three weeks the merchandising team can decide if the product is a winner and look at how it performed in ads and email. They can see all of this information in a single dashboard.”

Improved Allocation of Marketing Spend

Prior to its modern data stack, the acquisition team only had two metrics to work with: how much it cost to acquire a customer and how much money was made off of that customer. Now, the customer data is much more comprehensive, including the product the customer was acquired with, the channel, and demographics. Using the data, the business is able to immediately assign a projected 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day lifetime value to a customer. According to Nido, this helps inform decisions around spend: “It has changed the way the acquisition team approaches using spend in order to acquire customers. If we’re acquiring a higher value customer through a specific channel, we pump up spend there. If we launch a new channel we can measure its impact and compare it to baselines to ensure our spend is as efficient as possible.”

Want to see the impact centralized data can have on all parts of your organization? Sign up for a personalized demo of Fivetran or start your free trial today.

About Fivetran: Shaped by the real-world needs of data analysts, Fivetran technology is the smartest, fastest way to replicate your applications, databases, events and files into a high-performance cloud warehouse. Fivetran connectors deploy in minutes, require zero maintenance, and automatically adjust to source changes — so your data team can stop worrying about engineering and focus on driving insights.

About BigQuery: BigQuery is Google’s serverless, highly scalable, enterprise data warehouse designed to make all your data analysts productive at an unmatched price performance.

About Looker: Looker is a modern platform for data that offers data analytics and business insights to every department at scale, and easily integrates into applications to deliver data directly into the decision-making process.

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