Buy Smarter by Listening to the Voice of Your Customers

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Every nickel and dime matters right now as retailers and brands attempt to prepare for an uncertain future. We have seen dramatic shifts in consumer demand over the past few months around store safety precautions and closures. Understanding what customers want to buy and at what price has never been more important. With changes happening weekly across locations and generations, retailers and brands need real-time data and fast results within 24 to 48 hours. Armed with data, merchants and buyers can buy smarter—making informed and profitable product decisions.

First Insight delivers the data you need to buy smarter and make informed data-driven decisions.

Selection – Understanding Winning Designs, Patterns and Styles

The options are endless when planning your assortments. There is an infinite amount of designs, trends, patterns and colors you can choose from. We help retailers and brands both narrow down options and use predictive analytics to project the success of a product over its lifecycle. Using this high-tech tool has enabled retailers and brands to launch products that customers really want to buy, while eliminating the underperformers—becoming a critical element in the merchandising process for many of our customers.

For Crocs, it is essential to use First Insight to understand the best colors and graphics for the core of their business: classic clogs. By using First Insight to listen to the Voice of the Customer, Crocs knows exactly which styles to offer to optimize their assortment and adjusts their buy quantities to reflect the demand for each product.

Speaker: Ed Wunsch –Global Vice President of Marketing Strategy & Insights at Crocs

Brands that offer their products globally face additional challenges during the product selection process as they try to cater their assortments to many different demographics and cultures. Global footwear brand, Hush Puppies, leverages First Insight to understand which styles resonate best regionally. Former President of Hush Puppies, Greg Tunney, stated, “When you are trying to go around a global market—around the world—and you are trying to make sure you are eliminating your mistakes, this is the way that you actually have to do it.”

Speaker: Greg Tunney – Global President of Hush Puppies at Wolverine Worldwide

Pricing – Determining the Value Customers Assign to Products

There are many factors that play into a pricing strategy, including unit cost, promotions and how customers value the product. First Insight helps retailers and brands tie all of these factors together and optimize pricing per item with Voice of the Customer analytics. This enables retailers and brands to maximize full-price sell-through and reduce markdowns and excess inventory.

Sometimes our customers even identify “margin movers” or products that can bear a higher price than plan to bring in even more revenue. Marks and Spencer identified a particular handbag that scored a Value Score of 10—the highest score a product can receive in our solution. Through further testing they found they could increase the price to the next price point without impacting their projected sales performance.

Speaker: Elaine Wheeler, Head of Digital Product Development at M&S

Another customer, Deer Stags, evolved their brand over time, adding more features and benefits to their footwear and increasing quality. However, they found themselves pigeon-holed into a particular price point by their retail partners. First Insight helped validate that customers valued Deer Stags’ styles at the increased prices, enabling the company to move forward with their adjustment. This move increased margin for both Deer Stags and their retail partners and kept both from leaving money on the table.

Speaker: Mark Higgins, VP Digital Business Development at Deer Stags

Planning – Ordering the Right Product Quantities

If you have historical data on basic key items like white t-shirts, you will generally know how many to order based on last year’s sales results. But, what about new products? First Insight helps retailers and brands optimize order quantities even for new products without any previous sales history. This is particularly critical now, when sales history data are unreliable for planning for future products.

Marks and Spencer leverages First Insight’s test results to guide buy quantity. In the case of vests, they bought deeper into the two high scoring styles, while buying less of the lower scoring style. Their full-price sell-through correlated well with the quantities they purchased, showing the clear benefits of quantity adjustments based on data from the Voice of the Customer. Overall, Marks and Spencer sees 12% higher full-price sell-through on tested vs. untested products.

Speaker: Elaine Wheeler, Head of Digital Product Development at M&S

Similarly, rue21’s Chief Analytics Officer, Dr. Mark Chrystal discussed drawing closer to the Voice of the Customer during the COVID-19 disruption following store closures. With the COVID crisis driving accelerated changes to their customers’ value equation, rue21 understood that buyers’ intuition wouldn’t be enough for accurate product selection and planning. They needed data and analytics to stay on track and make product decisions throughout the uncertainty.

Dr. Mark Chrystal – CAO at rue21, speaking to President & Founder of Sourcing Journal, Edward Hertzman in a recent webinar.

Take the guesswork out of Assortment Planning and Buy Smarter.

Understand what will sell at what price, and how much to buy. Schedule a Demo below.

Merchandising  Improve Forecast Accuracy  Product Selection  Improve Product Success Rates  Improve Speed to Market  reduce excess inventory  Buy Smarter