Analytics technology to help put Hong Kong’s fashion retailers in the fast lane

Fashion forecaster WGSN has launched a market analytics solution that promises to help Hong Kong’s fashion retailers make faster, more informed buying decisions and reduce the risk of multi-million dollar mistakes.

Called WGSN INstock (http://wgsninstock.com), the new solution provides fashion retailers with instant in-market intelligence. Some of the world’s most successful high-street stores – such as Marks & Spencer –are already using WGSN INstock to accelerate response times and reduce risks in business-critical buying and merchandising decisions.

“Retail fashion is one of the fastest moving and most competitive industries anywhere. When trends can change overnight, a poorly informed buying decision can easily lead to a lost opportunity or cost the business millions,” said Helen Slaven, managing director of WGSN INstock.

According to Slaven, the four biggest risks in retail fashion are: · Late to market ranges 44% · Wrongly priced stock 29% · Lower than targeted sell-through rates 24% · Terminal stock 11%

WGSN INstock can help retailers to mitigate or even eliminate such risks. The intuitive system is designed to enable a wide range of users, such as buyers, merchandisers, designers, marketers and C-level executives to gather information on more than 250,000 fashion-related products and more than 3.2 million SKUs (stock keeping units) daily from over 3,000 online brands and retailers.

“With WGSN INstock, retailers can easily track return on investment by analyzing price architecture against competitors both locally and in other markets,” said Slaven.

Retailers have had access to this data previously – it’s all publicly available. But the taxonomy that WGSN Group developed makes the tool unique. WGSN INstock provides merchandisers with the data they need to make instant promotional and merchandising decisions, as well as a detailed data-set for future planning purposes. This includes:

· Comp shopper – In an instant, users can filter millions of SKUs by retailer, price range, colour, pattern, brand and product category. Products are ranked by newest first, or can be sorted alphabetically or by price. · Product detail – The system carefully categorises each and every SKU. All customers need to do is select the right filters to see a comprehensive picture of who’s stocking what. · Forward planning and tactical response – WGSN INstock builds crystal clear graphics, by retailer and product category (e.g. dresses) or sub-category (e.g. maxi dresses, skater dresses etc) to track shifts in price architecture across the market. Just a few clicks provide a comprehensive market overview. · Markdown indicator – WGSN INstock captures price changes at SKU level. Users can click any product to understand the life of the line, tracking price over time by SKU.

“This information is invaluable in product selection meetings; it helps our customers frame critical decisions around entry pricing, category and options selections, as well as colour. And it makes it easy for retailers to customise products to specific geographic markets – whether that is Hong Kong, Greater China or the Asia-Pacific region,” said Slaven.

WGSN has built a global reputation for knowing what’s new and what’s coming next for style-driven consumer brands. Combining INstock data with leading trend forecasting and runway analysis, WGSN Group provides retailers with a full spectrum of runway-to-retail insight.

“There is fierce competition to be the best and at Marks & Spencer our customers trust us not only to deliver a beautiful product, but also to ensure that it is sustainably and ethically sourced,” said Jo Hales, Buying Director, Womenswear at Marks & Spencer.

“We have a buying team of over 300 people. With growth online and internationally, with new selling platforms, a buyer’s time has never been more in demand. When I first saw WGSN INstock, I felt like I was on Wall Street. My team now has the competitor information they need at their disposal, so they can make confident decisions and not waste time,” said Hales.