Data Vs. The Buyer: Who Can We Trust

#TREND #UGC #DFNYC #DATA

Decode Fashion NYC Summit

 

I attended Decoded Fashion NYC Summit 2016 November 1st and 2nd to meet with and listen to fashion tech leaders. Among the numerous informative panel discussion topics, data integration was one that stuck out to me.

Data is integrating into the fashion industry faster than companies know utilize it. Outside of its obvious usefulness in the digital space, there is a huge need to implement data in the physical space particularly with buyers.  

We all know brick and mortar is going through changes, stores are closing, consumer are shopping from desktops and mobile and traditional mall brands are seeing their final days. The issue is complex but one of the main issues department store have is the disconnect between what customers actually want and want buyers are providing. There were a few companies at Fashion Decoded that i believe would help to alleviate this issues if integrated properly.

 

Buyers are responsible for many things among them is accurately predicting trends for a store. But if a buyer is biased to their own lifestyle, out of touch with the actual consumers and consumed so heavily in numbers and social media, their predictions can often be wrong. Ask any former sales associate you know.

 

More Accurate Trend Prediction

Trendalytics was present at Decoded Fashion 2016 NYC Summit to demonstrate how they use data from social media (UGC), SKUs and Searched  to give accurate representations of trends in segmented categories. This is useful because trends are being strictly dictated by consumers and change based on age, location style and influences. Trendalytics can tailor your data down to each detailed. Having this data presented in an easily digestible manner can help companies  and buyers make smarter decisions. Karen Moon, CEO of Trendalytics introduced the Trendalytics beauty platform which is able to give intelligent trend analysis on beauty products in addition to fashion products.   

Karen Moon CEO, Trendalytics

Karen Moon CEO, Trendalytics

 

Issue This Solves

When I worked as a retail associate at Nordstrom, there was little to no communication between what customers wanted and what buyers provided. Buyers seemed to treat their job more as an art form based on their personal taste and influences. This resulted in numerous problems not to mention a loss of customers and opportunities. The disconnect between the sales floor and buyer prevents retailers from being able to quickly pivot to the needs of the customers as well as turn over more item per transaction. Agility and speed are the two things that hold retailers back from optimization.

 

The Other Half of the Battle

So we have data, we understand trends. Now we need to go a step further and really interact with customers to make sure we are providing them with products they will actually spend their money on. So how do we do this?  Meet Claire,  Meet Claire is a facebook chat messenger bot that successfully gets consumers to take survey about items and in turn increases conversion rates of stores by using this data. Meet Claire is able to successfully predict which items will sell and which items consumers will gravitate towards based on UGC and physicist based algorithms. They are also successful in getting  good engagement.

 

Meet Claire was not the only chatbot present at Decoded Fashion NYC summit, conversational commerce was actually very present at the summit with uses ranging from tracking packages to predicting sales. FYND for instance, helps users track packages online and find items they like through highly intelligent text conversations.  Combining a technology similarly to this with trendy analysis would give a more accurate prediction on what to put on a sale floor.  Rebecca Minkoff uses similar technologies to predict which ietms will best sale to their customers. Helping them to sell more items and optimize their production.

 

Issue This Solves

Chatbots and similar technologies help brands to really connect with their consumers and get appropriate, useful feedback. It is important that brands get in-depth understanding of their customers through feedback because customers dictating trend. Utilizing mobile phones is just a better way to do it since consumer have an affinity for texting.

 

Keep Up or Get Left

Innovation can be difficult but the main objective is to really understand your consumer and cater to their needs to increase their purchase confidence. Brand loyalty is fading,  Christine White, Executive Director , Digital Communications and Media of Nars Cosmetics @NARSissist mentioned in her panel discussion that  “ consumers are more and more brand agnostic”. If loyalty to a brand is not a priority than it is the retailer's job to discover the motivations and cater to them in a new way that is most fitting. I don’t suggest you fire all of your buyers and replace them with robots...yet, but I do suggest you integrate technologies that combine real life data and trend analysis with consumer feedback. Test it and see the difference it makes.

 

Next up, I cover more information about Decoded Fashion, Fit Technology, Digital Innovation and Uri Minkoff! Stay on look look out for the next article!

 

 

For more information feel free to contact me directly.

Jessica Couch

Fit technology and Retail innovation Consultant, writer, entrepreneur, creative , algorithim lover