In this exclusive guest article, Rajnish Kumar, Global Head – Softlines at end-to-end PLM service and support provider ITC Infotech makes a case for the importance of Advanced Analytics in delivering maximum business value for fashion and retail.
Competition in Digital Marketplaces, an increase in the number of new product launches, a flickering economy, as well as highly informed and more demanding customers have all add up to the challenges that fashion retailers face today. Retail is an information-driven industry and traditional silo-ed analysis simply doesn’t fit in the current competitive environment of the industry. Analyzing the surface-level specifics, such as the next 1,000 customers you can lose, the demographic shifts affecting your market share, or the customers that are your biggest influencers is simply not enough to stay ahead of the competition.
Retailers need to put their faith in advanced analytics to leverage the exponentially increasing structured and unstructured data obtained via multiple digital channels, third-party entities, emails, and social media sites, apart from the traditional brick and mortar stores.
Advanced data analytics help fashion retailers manage key areas in retailing such as supply chain, pricing, fraud and risk prevention, marketing and media resource allocation, customer engagement, product design and manufacturing.
Retailers can better understand customer preferences, make informed decisions, and drive maximum business value. Fashion retailers using advanced analytics can quickly make the needed adjustments in assortments, marketing communications, service behavior, pricing, and other customer experience elements that help in incrementing revenue and retailers’ transformation towards becoming truly customer-centric.
Analytical Tools such as ITC Infotech’s Style Performance Analytics, help retailers gain insights into the performance of their designs. It constitutes built-in data interfaces and a dashboard-based visual interface enabling designers to do a drill-down analysis that helps them churn out winning styles, matching the preferences of customers. At the same time, insights from analysis helps in deciding what did not work and move it out of the line.
How do analytics solutions help retailers predict fashion trends/ analyze the performance of designs?
The biggest challenge for retailers is to cope up with the rapidly varying trends in the dynamic fashion world. Both local as well as global brands are vying to lure customers by delivering to them a wide range of designs every day. To survive in this tough, competitive fashion era, retailers/ brands need to continuously innovate on their designs and dig deeper to understand, as well as, fulfill the customers’ ever-changing demands.
Advanced, cutting-edge analytics solutions available in the market have made their mark on the retail fashion industry over the last few years. These solutions help designers understand preferences of customers and choose the right mix of color, fabric, fit, trims, and embellishments in order to create the finest designs that can grab attention. Predictive analytics solutions enable retailers to make informed & smarter decisions for enhancing customer delight. Moreover, it also provides retailers with the capabilities to test the performance of their existing designs from time-to-time. Retailers and designers who are presently using predictive analytics to match new styles with customers’ choices will probably emerge as the next season’s winners.
How do predictive analytics solutions work?
Advanced analytics solutions enable retailers to predict fashion with analysis drawn from historical data obtained from external sources along with data acquired internally from Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) & Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Innovative analytics solutions provide both designers and merchandisers access to the standardized data in the form of intuitive visual dashboards. These dashboards enable designers and merchandisers to collate and understand design attributes of the top/bottom moving styles and aid them in taking cues for design element decisions, as well as for incorporation of new inspirations from the market. The new design collections that hit the market, after deploying attribute level analytics to the design process, is essentially a mix and match of the best attributes embedded in new designs for the season.
Another big advantage which advanced analytics solutions provides to product development teams is real time reporting – reducing effort and hours spent in the retrieval of accurate information.
Simply put, design choices become simpler and fact-based, to back designer instinct and at the same time does not take the creative element away.
Fashion retailers who are well-versed with the latest analytics technologies and use it efficiently to manage the data obtained from different sources are more likely to emerge as industry leaders. As we move ahead, the use of Analytics will become a norm rather than an exception and newer technologies and trends such as big data will allow fashion organizations to not only look at their own data for insights but be able to predict and forecast trends in the market with much more accuracy.
How far will they be able to gauge success and failure factors of competitors could very well be the next big question on the minds Tech Fashion Gurus…
This article has been authored by Mr. Rajnish Kumar, Global Head – Softlines, ITC Infotech.
ITC Infotech recently implemented PTC’s FlexPLM solution for Brooks Sports, a leading US based running company that designs and markets high-performance men’s and women’s running shoes, apparel and accessories in more than 40 countries worldwide. ITC Infotech and PTC have a long standing relationship that spans over a decade. Today, ITC Infotech helps PTC implement its projects around the globe, providing end-to-end services and support. ITC Infotech’s expertise in PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) is unparalleled, with over 850 implementations of PTC PLM products.