November 7, 2013

Big Data Big Impact

The marriage between fashion and technology driven by big data has become very dominant, especially over the last couple of weeks. Recently, we went to Techweek NY where we chatted with experts and colleagues about technology development, the future of media and fashion as well as checked out 30 cutting-edge start ups. Following that, we attended Fashion Decoded “Consumer Behavior on a Dashboard: New Data Startups” where five startups presented their company concepts. So how is big data changing our industry – i.e. the way consumers shop, anticipating what customers want to see on the shelves and online, merchandising the store flow, etc?

Big data allows for personalization, using a variety of metrics each with their own implications that treat each consumer as an individual. Right now a lot of data and analytics are available but not yet aggregated to allow businesses to anticipate future consumer behavior. While we are on our way there, we are still definitely not all the way there yet…

At this point we have a few technology driven platforms: Social and Mobile, Big Data and Analytics, and Cloud Computing. The use of social and mobile media is facilitating the capture of data and mobile unlocked social to create a sense of community. It is all connected and extremely visual. Therefore it is no surprise that fashion and technology are getting intertwined in the process.

photo via Business Insider

When we think of technology, Apple is one of the first companies that comes to mind and now, they have hired former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts. With a reputation for transforming the Burberry namesake, Ahrendts has an excellent eye for design as well as a keen understanding of successful business practices. She plans to join the Apple team next spring to head both retail and online stores and if all works out, word around the industry is that she may even be a considerable candidate to take over as CEO.

photo via WWD

Crowdsourcing is becoming a vital means to understand what consumers want and a great way to harness the co-production aspect of the business. BaubleBar is the epitome of this concept with their reactive business model which is highly sensitive to customer feedback through social media and the real time data it triggers. Above everything else, BaubleBar regards communication between departments among their most important practices, from sharing information with designers to factories, they ensure their customer's are getting what they want.

ModCloth takes another angle by building a community and enhancing their customers' experiences by revamping their mobile app, launching Be the Buyer test lab, and creating a Make the Cut collection comprised of crowdsourced designs. At the end of the day all that really matters is that your customers are satisfied so why not give them exactly what they want?

photo via Refinery29

The biggest shift by far is the move towards a more visually stimulated global language – think pictures, videos, and the like. Despite Twitter adding in preview features to photos and videos and Google+ perfecting its sharing capabilities, Instagram alone has become the largest social media platform to date and changes how we communicate by focusing on storytelling and a community driven setting. If you're still awaiting those promoted posts and advertisements, don't worry because they'll pop up on your feed soon enough. It's all starting with Michael Kors who introduced the first Instagram based ad last week. However, unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram restricts the usage of links within posts, making it much more difficult to monetize and make posts shoppable.

photo via Curalate

Curalate, who specializes in analytics and algorithms is one company we were introduced to at the Decoded Fashion Meetup. They work to create a comprehensive image based marketing platform that simplifies visual conversations and increases engagement, which in the process grows revenue. So far, they have collaborated with major brands like Gap, Neiman Marcus, Campbell's, and Meredith, but also have a client list to include the publishing, automotive, media and luxury markets.

video via Viewsy

So how do we measure all this information? This is where Viewsy comes in to help brick and mortar retailers interpret consumer tendencies, drive marketing, and increase sales. Through anonymous data capturing and location analytics, Viewsy is a startup that measures and manages foot traffic, return visits, and the general loyalty of customers.

video via

However, foot traffic no longer just applies to those that actually set foot in your store, but on your site. New online platforms are not only creating buzz, but offering customers convenience and added options simultaneously. Take the CFDA and Google who are teaming up to combine e-commerce shopping capabilities and customer engagement through Google Hangouts. You can now not only shop DVF but hang out with her as well, how cool?!?

Right now, the key is to not only harness data to analyze what consumers want, but offer attractive visual imagery that they can relate to, appreciate, and digitally share within their internal communities. We are at an age where the information is out there, we just need to learn the best way to comprehend it hence increasing profitability. Data and analytic startups like Curalate and Viewsy are the ones leading us into the future by making an impact on the industry with extensive expertise in research and social behaviors.

As we continue to put a precedence on what we see and hear online and offline, retailers need to find new ways to engage consumers and stand out among the rest of their newsfeed, shopping experiences, and overall physical world.

1 comment:

  1. We also met with MBF at Techweek NY and discussed this very issue with marring Tech and Fashion. Votopin, a new social opinion networking app, has vast capabilities when it comes to consumer interests not only with brands, but also data mining that allows the team to identify what other things they may be interested in. The marketing solutions with this app have such great potential!


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