London - Have you ever wondered how the latest must-have fashion item unanimously finds itself prominently on the page of all the major e-commerce platforms? The reason is data. From Net-a-Porter to FarFetch, Topshop to M&S, there isn't a global online retailer who doesn't rely on data analytics to drive their sales. When all the online stores are featuring bomber jackets top of their page, this is not coincidence, this is science.
One example of a data company that many of the major retailers are turning to is Edited. The company offers what is now regarded as an industry standard for retail analytics, analysing over 90,000 brands online and following their stock changes. Their indispensable tool is helping fashion retailers get their product merchandising and pricing 'right.' If the competition is successfully selling dresses, and you're marketing a pant-suit, this information will be highly useful.
Data provides an overview of the global fashion system
The analysis of thousands of brands and millions of their stock keeping units (sku's) allows for some very significant data. For example: data can track when merchants add looks to their sites, when they cut prices and when styles go out of stock, getting a view of not just what brands are pushing online, but how quickly trends work their way through the global fashion system.
Excel spreadsheets are no longer useful
This information can then be sold and shared with other companies, who wish to keep tabs on their competitors. It would take enormous in-house teams to track this type of data internally, looking at thousands of websites and creating dreary spreadsheets. Companies that provide analytics to retailers are in a very lucrative position in that every company must look at data to remain competitive. An excel spreadsheet is laborious and time consuming and no longer a useful method.
Because the bottom line is for e-commerce businesses to offer the right product, at the right price, at the right time. Retailers now have access data that is representative of the entire market. It also allows them to gain new insights so that they can jump straight into the strategic analysis.
Traditional retailers rely on data analytics to understand the demographic of the shopper profile, how they partner with their suppliers and how they provide the right shopping experience at retail outlets. According to a KPMG survey of C-level executives in 2015, 92 percent of businesses are using data and analytics to gain greater insights into marketing.
The key issue, of course, is turning data insight into something tangible and valuable. That is something a data company cannot do. Making better retail decisions can only be done by the retailer itself.
Photo credit: Retail analystics, Edited.com website