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Big data in online retailing for Brands & Retailers

Big data – such a big word, often misunderstood and even more often associated with negative images, scary scenarios and power play.

Big data however is nothing more than data made usable.

Big data is data that is so big that you can not do much with it manually but that needs to be analyzed computationally and that hopefully yields patterns, trends and clusters on which to act upon. Oftentimes the term big data is employed when it comes to predictive analysis: We look at data to understand patterns of human behavior for example and extrapolate them to make predictions about the future. For us in the fashion industry it means looking at past sales, customers, retail points and trying to figure out if there is some kind of regularity, a behavior that is repeated, a cluster of actions that go hand in hand so as to try to understand the future and to prepare ourselves for it. Based on past behavior we try to predict future behavior with the help of big data. It sounds somewhat fancy but at its most essential it is quite basic information that you are most likely already gathering yourself.

Start gathering data yourself

You can start gathering your own data – both as a retailer and as a brand – and you probably are already doing so to some extent. Depending on the tools you are currently using to place your orders or make your sales, to keep track of your brands or retailers and to have an overview over your stock you already have quite a throughout overview of your most important data points.

What are the important data points that you have as a brand you might ask? First there are your collections, than the assortments, the clothing category, the single item, it’s size, color, pattern, textile…then you have your sales representations you sell these in their respective regions, you have your retailers, their individual stores, the particular positioning in the stores and you might have your own shops, store-in-store solution or online commerce platform to take into consideration. You make up a map of all the relationships and figure out which transactions, which behaviors are the most important for you. What do you need to know about yesterday to be successful tomorrow?

As a retailer the picture is mirrored as you sit on the other side of the table. However, very similar entities of analysis are important to you. You can ask yourself what are the most important key performance indicators and from there abstract the entities involved. Depending on the enterprise resource program you use, you most likely already have a good overview over the past purchases, the sell-through-rate and the conditions with the individual brand.

Try looking at the past season to find the behaviors that are most important for you to analyse to prepare your next season or year.

Aggregated big data

This data that you have gathered yourself is very useful to you and it can be made even smarter when aggregated with data from other sources. That is what we aim to do on our platform at FashionTrade.com. As an independent party we pull together all information points from our different retailers, retail stores and brands, anonymize them and aggregate them. You, and everybody active on FashionTrade, will then have access to this information. In a form that benefits all information is shared.

Big data is transforming business in many ways

Big data is transforming businesses in many different ways and your business can be one of them. Big data enhances customer experience due to prior knowledge. Big data helps a brand expand into new realms not only focussing on sport shoes but the whole fitness experience in the case of Nike for example. Big data can be monetized as a secondary revenue stream, always in accordance with customer privacy of course.
How can your business be transformed by big data?

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