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Li & Fung, First Insight Collab May Mean Reduced Markdowns in 2020

Li & Fung and First Insight may have a solution for getting supply chain buys in line with consumer demand.

The Hong Kong-based supply chain solutions leader and the product decision-making platform announced Thursday an agreement that will see First Insight’s Voice of the Customer analytics integrated with Li & Fung’s Digital Product Development solution to help brands and retailers buy with more confidence, minimize markdowns and end the season with less excess stock.

“We have been investing in our Digital Product Development services for the past three years, bringing together technologies that support our goal of creating the Supply Chain of the Future,” Li & Fung group CEO Spencer Fung said in a statement. “First Insight brings the leading digital consumer product testing solution and we are using it to complement our digital services and help our customers improve sales and margins.”

Already, Li & Fung’s integrated digital supply chain platform can connect retailers with suppliers, allowing for “end-to-end data capture and visibility.” With First Insight’s input on digital consumer testing, those using the solution will be able to review consumer insights and make smarter decisions about product development sooner.

“Predictive feedback from customers can be delivered in 24-48 hours, helping hundreds of brands and retailers to bring the right products to market, at the right price and in the right quantities, improving sell-through and reducing waste,” the companies said.

The insight delivered via the digital platform is expected to help apparel and footwear companies figure out which designs consumers actually want and what they’re willing to pay for them before cutting into fabric and blindly making costly decisions. It’s also expected to improve responsiveness, which has become increasingly critical in the modern shopping market where consumers have made clear they don’t just want product pushed at them.

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Specific design feedback from the digital product development solution can be delivered by region, retailer and customer demographic, meaning the read on demand is made even more accurate, which, in turn, should reduce markdowns and the pile-up of inventory the discounts don’t do away with.

“For the last 12 years, First Insight has been helping hundreds of retailers and brands use voice-of-the-customer data and predictive analytics to improve their operations—from product design to buying to pricing,” First Insight CEO Greg Petro said.

“Li & Fung is the unquestioned global leader in sourcing and delivering innovative digital supply chain solutions to the retail industry,” he added. “The combination of our solutions creates a global supply chain that is fast, accurate and efficient.”