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Dassault Systèmes: UK Retail Innovation Forum


Design Pencils

Stephen Chadwick, Managing Director EuroNorth, for Dassault Systèmes, shares his review exclusively with WhichPLM of the ‘UK Retail Innovation Forum’, held earlier this year.

The recent UK Retail Innovation Forum saw 200 representatives from more than 50 retail brands of all sectors and sizes together in one place. Included were some of Britain’s largest high street retailers, independents and ambitious innovators looking to shake up omni channel.

A live survey was conducted throughout the day to determine how attendees interacted with business information, both internally and beyond their organisations. Results showed that 28% of attendees had no single view of their organisation’s operations and 88% declared that they needed to improve store planning.

The survey also showed that almost a third (31%) of those attending had a PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) system in place. The benefits of such a system were perceived to be communication and collaboration (at 27%) with the same percentage citing cost management as the biggest potential gain from such a deployment. They saw the biggest challenges as customer focus and increasing customer demands (48%); managing change (24%); stock control (16%).

35% of the group cited disparate systems as the reason why they did not have a clear vision of their business. Meanwhile 80% saw the cloud as being the means of getting their systems organised onto one platform. Once that was achieved they saw the main benefit of a cloud-based system as being scalability.

Data Platform

The event at Silverstone was hosted by Island Pacific’s MD, Mike Dotson, while Dassault Systèmes was represented by Susan Olivier, Dassault Systèmes’ VP Consumer Goods and Retail.

The Forum revealed that many retailers are battling with multiple silos of data. Very few have unified their data onto a single platform and this impacts business efficiency. Negative effects are felt throughout the supply chain as stakeholders are unable to efficiently communicate and collaborate around business intelligence. Companies that have implemented a unified business transaction platform see 40% efficiency gains in planning and merchandising along with product getting to market faster. Processes including cost management are improved as virtual products and retail environments are accurately and continuously updated, analysed and validated.


When stakeholders are aware that the data they are using is not only accurate but also current, they can be confident that their commercial and aesthetic decisions are based on sound foundations. Customers of Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE are able to use its 3D visualisation capabilities not only to envision what products will look like, but also to see them in the context of the store environment. Without making any prototypes it is possible to virtually build extensive collections and place them in virtual stores. The ability to plan to this level of detail in advance and to provide all stakeholders with the same information simultaneously leads to highly beneficial collaborations from the outset.

Social Buyers

Buyers find this level of data interaction a valuable aid for creativity as it delivers highly visual input. The My Collection for Fashion Industry Experience allows companies to meet their consumers through social media and include their voice in creative decisions. This helps them to source, design, make and sell what customers say they really want.

This application, which has been deployed by many Dassault Systèmes’ retail customers, also generates global collaboration and supply chain visibility with measured efficiencies of up to 50%.

When buyers and merchandisers work together sharing ideas and business information, visual and commercial data allows them to flourish by making decisions based on jointly held enterprise knowledge. When the science behind retailing is revealed this way the result is better business, higher sell through rates and fewer returns.  In her presentation Susan Olivier pointed out that sharing this level of integrated data provides visual assortment planning, unified development sourcing, virtual showrooms and robust business analytics that indicate status and targets by category, brand, role and lifecycle status.


Collaborative Story

Susan Olivier also showed how planograms for layout, products and fixtures can be customised for each store incorporating different product mix options, results metrics and potential outcomes.

One major fashion retailer  deploys Dassault Systémes’ My Store Industry Solution Experience to plan their assortment.. They are able to virtually place garments according to customised  business metrics like past sales, objectives, etc.and calculate financial returns whilst ensuring they create the best shopping experience.. Highly visual software helps reduce low-demand stock and helps fashion brands sell more at full price and less at markdowns. One attendee at the Forum stated that using My Store, “is like having a merchandiser on board all the time.'” Linking data to the unified 3DEXPERIENCE Platform allows interdepartmental collaboration by bringing mathematics, coupled with management and compliance, to the task of maximising retail profit.

At the Retail Forum a clear picture emerged that there is strong demand for unified data systems in the retail industry. Attendees wanted a clear picture of the whole business with no places for hidden or lost data. When everyone uses the same data retail processes become optimised for efficiency because guesswork is removed and risk reduced. Ultra-realistic 3D enhances creativity and allows stakeholders to clearly and visually see details, the big picture, and options within the context of the extended commercial enterprise.

Being able to collaborate and combine skills as everyone accesses and builds on the same business platform helps get the most from budgets and other resources. Shelves can be optimised and balanced with products that retailers know will sell. Customers can get more involved while retailers become adept, creative and efficient at sourcing, developing and offering products and services that exceed customer expectations to generate greater brand loyalty.

Considering 40% of Forum attendees felt their customers had no loyalty to the brands they represent makes an integrated single source data platform a must have purchase.

Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for eight years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like our PLM Project Pack, or our Annual Publications, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.