Sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals are quickly becoming apparel’s top priorities. Now, one firm says its platform applications are empowering brands to gain greater insight into the true success of these initiatives.
First Insight, a technology provider that offers product testing solutions helping retailers and brands use “voice of the customer” feedback to improve product design, merchandising and pricing, says its customers are reducing sample production costs by up to 70 percent using its Next-Gen XM platform.
“Today’s consumers expect—and even demand—that the brands they invest in will act with the health of our planet in mind,” said Greg Petro, First Insight CEO. “With the First Insight platform, companies gain the double benefit of delighting their customers and operating much more efficiently, increasing profits while reducing their environmental impact.”
First Insight, which works with Wolverine Worldwide and Marks & Spencer, said that one of its clients using the platform to test products before launch discovered through the Risky Product Alert feature that its customers found a particular design to be offensive.
By detecting the problem in the testing stage, the retailer was able to quickly halt development before consumers could view and buy the product, avoiding both the “substantial” environmental impact and cost of reverse logistics and product disposal, in addition to the potential hit to brand image and loyalty.
First Insight says that customers testing products early in the development process, particularly with 3D images, are also cutting time to market by 40 percent or more.
A major brand used the First Insight platform to reduce the number styles produced by 61 percent while increasing adoption rate by 88 percent and units ordered by 39 percent, the company claimed.
Pricing has always been a key component of the First Insight platform, but now it appears the technology is being extended to give brands a better understanding of which sustainable products shoppers are willing to pay for. A major department store was able to capture a 10 percent price uplift for eco-friendly offerings based on First Insight test results.
“Across sectors and geographies, our customers use our platform to do more with less,” Petro said in a statement. “They eliminate the lowest-performing products from their portfolio before launch, making their development process and their inventory investment substantially more efficient. One footwear brand reported growing revenues by six percent while reducing inventories by 40 percent using First Insight. That is truly doing more with less.”
The results come less than one month after the product development company expanded its Customer-Driven Assortment Analysis solution. Building on First Insight’s recommendations for individual products, the feature aims to help merchandisers, marketers and product teams to simulate the performance of an entire assortment with various customer segments and personas. Users can see in real-time how adding or removing products affects the ability of the assortment to drive incremental reach towards key targeted customer segments.
The recent release also includes a new Reference Item Automation feature built to streamline workflows, as well as expanded integrations with new business systems.
Users of the platform also can now create target customer segments based on a variety of criteria and leverage these segments for more accurate marketing to customers, driving expanded revenue opportunities. Companies are leveraging these new capabilities to create segments and collect data based on channels and brands shopped, can now identify which product attributes resonate with each customer segment. The new enhancements include dashboards for tracking key metrics, attributes and reporting.
First Insight’s Next-Gen XM Platform is designed to help companies to go from the process of product or solution concept to decision in as little as 24 to 72 hours. The company says that by harnessing the voice-of-the-customer data analyzed within the platform, businesses improve their success rate by as much as 80 percent by creating the right products, offering at the appropriate price, stocking in the optimal quantities and targeting to the right customers.