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Why your product business needs data insight and how it supports the creative process.

The thing I really love about working with product brands is that I know I bring something to the table they absolutely need for growth but that they don’t always realise can help their creative strategy.

Numbers are not always seen as an integral part of creativity but analysis of what you have already done and the potential your business is showing means that you can focus your work in a way that will support more profitability and the ability to invest in new directions when the inspiration comes to you.

Throughout this post, I will explore why your product business needs data insight and how it supports the creative process:

  • Why product brands need data insight
  • Data insight and product variations
  • Data insight and bread and butter lines
  • Understanding how your customer shops with data insight
  • The opportunity of data insight for product brands

Why Product Brands Need Data Insight

Product businesses need some structure to succeed and especially more so when they are in the growth stage where you need to invest more cash to maintain the momentum you have already got going. You need to Review and Plan before you Buy and Sell so you make the best decisions from the options you have to gain more sales.

Data insight sounds dull but it’s a great to way to see how you are building your range and how your products individually or as groups directly drive your business. You can determine the foundations of your range – what your customers love – and what needs to be replaced so your creative direction continues to flow and your customer always wants to come back.

Data Insight and Product Variations

Understanding how colours, fabrics, styles or categories contribute to your sales and profit means you can target either cost or retail price to influence your margin. Those that fall below your average are opportunities for change or to be dropped to make way for more of what does give you a good return on your investment.

If you run a clothing brand or have sized variations in your products then knowing how well these sell can give you even more insight into the customer who buys from you. You won’t be selling the same size ratio for dresses and skirts for example and combined with fabric and cut you’ll know what could be a winner next time you look to add these to your collection.

This also works for jewellery too by looking at metal and stones as well as type and size when you review your range performance. Knowing you sell necklaces better for example means you could expand that category and shrink options in the lesser performing areas or find out from those who buy why they are not selecting more from you. You could decide you need to describe the value or benefits of the metal for allergies better or simply make your returns policy more visible so they buy with more confidence.

Data Insight and Bread and Butter Lines

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You will have bread and butter lines that always sell well for you and need minimal tweaks each year to go back out in front of your customers. Knowing how much these as a collection contribute to your sales and profit means you can estimate your sales goals better because you can layer on any trends that you want to buy into. This could give you more confidence to use some of that profit to invest in your creative focus because you know you have some certainty around these products and you can choose to drive these a bit harder to get more on your turnover.

Understanding how your Customer Shops with Data Insight

Analysing your price architecture will also give you some great insight into how your customer shops with you, if you are getting good sales across the board or if they are struggling to buy into the higher end of your range. Most retailers have a “Good, Better, Best” proposition in some respect where you have good lines that are more accessible price points, a build-up of price into your better products and then those that have the most value attached to them as best. If your customers are purchasing lots of good but not much better and best then you’ll know you need to look at how the value is represented in your descriptions and whether the pricing you have chosen makes sense. Having too big a jump or being too close to your good range for example may mean they could be finding it hard to understand how your pricing shows them why it is worth it. This will help you when looking at new options to develop or source because they will need to add the right balance to your range in terms of price so your cost price becomes more important to achieve it.

Getting deep into your sales channels and your customer data can also mean you can make strategic decisions on how you talk to them and understand whether they come back to you often. This can be a big benefit for your marketing plans and can help you understand where to push to get a good return.

I recently worked on a lovely project with a client where we dissected her customer data to see who bought just once and who returned to buy more as their model wanted you to invest in multiple products. We identified how often those who returned bought into new concepts but also how they added accessories, this allowed us to build a ratio of how products sat together in the buy and how much of each should be ordered.

The Opportunity of Data Insight for Product Brands

I hope you can see that data is a big opportunity for your brand and that you could really accelerate your growth with the right insight. You will not need it all at once and if you find it sounds a bit overwhelming then investing in a freelance Merchandiser who will do this and spend time with you to dig out the opportunities will really be a good investment.

As any business grows you may find you need experts to help you and this is no different in retail. Data is now a big part of business strategy because of the huge change in online sales over the recent pandemic and those who can create the information are highly sort after. You have more data at your fingertips than ever before and unlocking the ideas and creative inspiration for your range or marketing with it will mean you can push forward with confidence.

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