Sep 19, 2018 | By Petah Marian
Big data meets consumer insights. Experience WGSN.
As London fashion Week packs up and we head over to Milan, we speak to the last of our #InsideWGSN interviewees.
Meet Francesca Muston, Head of Retail at WGSN, who tells us all about how data feeds into our trends work and where the future of data analytics is headed.
What does an average day for you entail?
My day tends to be really varied as I oversee Retail, Trade Shows, City by City and Analytics. Our client base is also very diverse, so I can be talking to clients from different global locations on anything from plus-size and mature womenswear to activewear. It can also get quite granular, for example I had a long meeting this week to talk about how we best map men’s shirts into formal and casual categories for our WGSN INstock site. I edit a lot of reports and attend a lot of meetings, but I also try to keep my hand in by writing reports and presentations whenever I can.
What are you working on for fashion week?
For Fashion Weeks Katie Sturch, our Senior Editor of Analytics, and I are pulling data live from our catwalks image library. We look at the data trends and put them within the context of our wider trend research and analysis. For the London Fashion Week Daily I’m tracking trend paths to show how we can use our retail and catwalk analytics to inform trend directions for key items and colours.
What does big data mean for a big trend forecaster like WGSN?
There’s a lot of talk about big data and how it can be used to better target customers, but for fashion trends, which by their nature are more subjective, the opportunities are less obvious. You can’t replace the trends process with data but you can enrich it and that’s the direction we’re moving in. We can combine insights from WGSN and WGSN INstock to reinforce our trend directions with data and conversely to layer our data with inspirational trend references. We’re really excited about exploring the opportunities for integrating data and fashion trends but you need to be respectful of the strengths and limitations of both techniques.
How do you see data analytics impacting the wider fashion industry going forward?
Data will really empower retailers to be more targeted and efficient, and will enable consumers to be more discerning. A more streamlined approach to fashion could apply to everything from manufacture and distribution – potentially meaning less wastage and better reaction to successful trends – to marketing and ecommerce as customers are engaged in more meaningful ways. Ultimately it will move retailers closer to the holy grail of the right product at the right place at the right price at the right time.
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