TECHNOLOGY

Apparel retailer using social media to enhance product development

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

When Chico’s FAS wanted to put the “customer’s voice” into the merchandise it designs, it took a bold step — and tapped social media.

Through its partnership with First Insight, Chico’s is adding a consumer-driven predictive analytics solution. The technology leverages shopper data that will help users to quickly and accurately make design, buying and pricing decisions on the apparel, shoes, accessories, and jewelry it features in stores and online. However, Chico’s isn’t relying on historic buying patterns for these endeavors.

Leveraging First Insight’s online social engagement tools, Chico’s will gather direct consumer input on new products. The data will then be analyzed using First Insight’s predictive models, enabling Chico’s to better understand its customer base and calibrate inventory buys, optimize allocation strategies, and offer products that align with their needs.

“One of our key strategic imperatives is to leverage actionable retail sci-ence to improve our operational performance,” said Shelley Broader, CEO and president of Chico’s FAS. “Our rich customer data combined with First Insight’s online customer engagement and analytics should help us to identify top performing product as much as 12 months pre-season.”

More importantly, the “voice of the customer” will be integrated into its product development process. This insight will help Chico’s increase sell-through and reduce markdowns while continuing to deliver trend-right products, according to First Insight.

“We expect this partnership will enhance our ability to consistently de-liver the merchandise our customers want, resulting in stronger sales for our company,” Broader added.

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