Many times, we find that our perceptions are just perceptions, and that there is no factual evidence to back our belief. Similarly, many ground realities come to light only when we get proof through data analysis. In general, no one realises the shifts and continues with business in a routine way. The same is true in the case of business that is seeping in from Indonesia. Unknown to most players of the industry, India has been getting business that was previously being sourced from Indonesia. The gap between exports of both countries has narrowed significantly, especially in the US.
While we were pretty excited with the finding, it was satisfying to know that the industry was equally surprised and admitted that they had never realised it. And this coming from associations that keep a watch on export movements, the discovery was even more interesting.
I guess that is why data and data analytics has become so important in today’s business environment. ‘Gut feeling’ and experience alone are not enough to grab opportunities and stay ahead in a highly competitive marketplace where change is the only constant.
In the manufacturing side, collecting and analysing data has been used extensively to measure productivity, analyse performances and optimally manage factories. Specially trained professionals and IT-enabled tools are available to the industry to collect and analyse data.
Apparel Online and our technology and management magazine StitchWorld have over the last decade talked in detail about the various tools available and also why such tools are important. And to the advantage of the industry, many factories have benefited big time from the process. Now, the retail industry is also using innovative tools to collect data for analytics. Their target is mainly to understand the consumers. Consumers are fickle-minded and their preferences can make or break a retailer/brand. From product mix, designs, colour to mode of shopping, everything is dependent on what customers want.
Collecting data on how people are shopping, what are the products they are picking up, what kind of store experience excites them, to something as simple as who is their favourite celebrity can make a difference to a retailers’/brands’ success. In this environment, retailers are constantly looking at new ways to grab eyeballs and keep the cash counters moving. Digital platforms are being used extensively to attract the younger generation, in particular, and data collected from such campaigns are vital information for the companies.
In fact, it was only after online shopping sites realised that the business was majorly coming from smaller towns which did not have access to good brands and retail stores, that the industry woke up to the reality that there was money to be spent in smaller towns, which till now were not within the expansion purview of most retailers. Today every retailer/brand is looking at opening stores in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and even a brand like Raymond, which was always a high-end urban brand, has gone deep… The power of action that data analytics can give, is only just the beginning!