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Advanced Analytics – Taking Center Stage in Retail
WhichPLM - 03 Oct 2013

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…

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