Home Press release First Insight Reveals New Analytics Solutions for Merchandising and Planning at NRF 2019

First Insight Reveals New Analytics Solutions for Merchandising and Planning at NRF 2019

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Leading Customer-Centric Merchandising Platform Provider to Showcase Next Generation Capabilities at NRF’s Big Show in New York

PITTSBURGH, PA  – January 7, 2019 – First Insight, Inc., a global technology company transforming how leading retailers and brands make product investment, pricing and marketing decisions, today announced a major expansion of its customer-centric merchandising platform.  These new capabilities will be on display at NRF’s Big Show in New York, January 13-15, 2019.

The new solutions continue to expand upon First Insight’s industry-leading pre-season product testing platform to now bring assortment planning and buy quantity recommendations, enhanced mobile capabilities, deeper reporting functions, and seamless integration with third party systems, all powered by First Insight’s AI-driven analytics engine.  The solutions are modular and simple to use while fully compliant with global standards for data governance and privacy.

“Our customers spoke, and we listened,” said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight. “With over 100 retailers and brands as our valued partners providing feedback, we learn an enormous amount every day.  Planners have told us that they not only want product recommendations, but guidance on the right quantities to buy as well.  Merchants and Designers have expressed a great desire to use their mobile devices to access results from anywhere – in a line review in New York or at a factory in Asia.  And Marketers and Strategy Teams want to leverage First Insight data to help optimize decision-making across all of their systems.  We have more than doubled our investment in product development over the last year and are excited to be launching such a significant expansion of our platform at NRF 2019.”

Founded in 2007, First Insight has grown rapidly into the largest provider of solutions for digital pre-season testing of new products. More than 100 retailers, brands and manufacturers leverage the First Insight solution every day to rapidly consumer-test new items and make more informed decisions on product design, selection, pricing and marketing. First Insight has leveraged this experience, along with its vast data set comprised of millions of Voice of Consumer data points collected over more than 11 years, to bring these new capabilities to market.

The new capabilities include the following:

Planning: For the first time, retailers and brands can create assortment plans for new products by incorporating real-time customer feedback.  Typical systems incorporate only historical sales data to make product assortment quantity decisions. First Insight’s InsightPlanning application enhances assortment decisions by combining real-time consumer data and historical data with advanced analytics to deliver unit recommendations that allow merchants and planners to accurately weight buys.  The resulting solution is one that is influenced by consumer preferences on items for upcoming seasons.  Plans can be optimized for various metrics including units, margin or sales to meet financial targets, thereby reducing stock outs and over-stocks.

Mobile App:  First Insight’s new Mobile App lets users access their results from anywhere using their mobile device.  Using a phone or tablet, within 24-72 hours, merchants can see how their new products are expected to perform – and how to set the right initial prices for maximum margin.  Marketers can see segment-based results, helping them quickly view how a product will resonate with a particular consumer group.  Sales teams can access results by retail channel, using the data at sell-in to drive more informed decisions with their retail buyers.  Executives can also see overall results to get a window into how next season is likely to perform.

Integration with Third Party Panels:  First Insight is the only platform that lets retailers and brands hear from not only their own customers, but also from those who may not be shopping their stores or website.  Wholesalers can listen to the customers of each of their retail channels, and global retailers can gain insight from consumers in each of their targeted countries.  This is made possible by First Insight’s new seamless integration with third party panels, enabling access to panel respondents directly from within the system.  This capability accelerates the speed of testing and simplifies the process, while reducing the overall cost of panel respondents.

Global Capabilities: First Insight’s solution now operates in 30 countries, with multi-language and multi-currency capability.  In addition to North America, First Insight tests products in all major European and Latin American countries, as well as China, Hong Kong, Japan, and India.  Consumers are shopping globally, and First Insight enables retailers to hear from them, wherever they are.

Visual Dashboards: First Insight’s cloud-based solution now offers visual, customizable dashboards which allow for intuitive interpretation of results by multiple user types – from designers to merchants to planners to marketers.  New reports allow users to track test results over time to assess trends by product category.

Compliance with Industry Standards: GDPR, SOC-2. Retailers and brands need to ensure compliance with global standards for data privacy. First Insight continues to be the only Customer-Centric Merchandising platform which is fully compliant with the new GDPR standards. In addition, First Insight is SOC-2 compliant, giving companies the confidence of knowing that data are secure and standards are adhered to.

McKinsey & Company, in its 2018 report entitled How Analytics and Digital will Drive Next Generation Merchandising stated: “Winning decisions are increasingly driven by analytics more than instinct, experience, or merchant ‘art’. What succeeded in the past is now a poor predictor of the future.” The report continued, “By leveraging smarter tools—those beyond backward-looking, ‘hindsighting’ analysis—retailers can increasingly make forward-looking predictions that are quickly becoming the ‘table stakes’ necessary to keep up.”

Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company, named First Insight as a Sample Vendor in its July 2018 Hype Cycle for Retail Technologies, 2018 for the sixth consecutive year in the category of “Customer-Centric Merchandising and Marketing.” In describing how retailers can benefit from technologies such as those offered by First Insight, report authors Robert Hetu and Mike Lowndes note, “Customer centricity requires the application of algorithms to big data to extract meaningful information to enable customer-centric actions across merchandising and marketing…. Targeted assortments and strategically placed inventory aligned with targeted marketing will increase sales and margins while reducing costs and improving customer experience.” Gartner indicates a benefit rating of “high” for retailers who implement customer-centric merchandising approaches.

First Insight will unveil these new capabilities at the NRF 2019 Show at the Javits Center in New York City, January 13-15, 2019, in Booth # 3973.  To schedule a meeting with First Insight at the show, click here or contact info@firstinsight.com

Also, an NRF feature-stage session, “Product paradigm shift: Customer-centric merchandising in the age of data and decision agility” will feature Michael Gilbert (EVP of Product Development at Kohl’s), Mark Chrystal (Chief Analytics Officer at rue21), and Ann Joyce (CCO and CTO at Chico’s FAS Inc.) and will be moderated by Greg Petro (CEO of First Insight).  The session is on Monday Jan 14 at 2:15pm on the Feature Stage.

Disclaimer:  Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. 

About First Insight, Inc.

First Insight is the world’s leading provider of customer-centric merchandising solutions that empower retailers and brands to incorporate the voice of the customer into the design and merchandising of new products. Through the use of online consumer engagement, the First Insight solution gathers real-time consumer data and applies predictive analytic models to create actionable insights, which drive measurable value. Retailers, manufacturers and brands use the First Insight solution to design, select, price, plan and market the most profitable new products for reduced markdown rates and improved sales, margins and inventory turnover. Customers include some of world’s leading vertically integrated brands, sporting goods companies, department stores, mass merchant retailers and wholesalers. For further information, please visit www.firstinsight.com.

Lydia Hanson Lydia Hanson has been part of the WhichPLM team for over six 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 the Annual Review, 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.