Trend forecasting agency WGSN and consumer review company SoundOut Retail have introduced a customer insight tool that allows brands and retailers to predict successful items before they are launched in stores or online.
WGSN StyleTrial allows users to test potential items with a consumer panel to identify potential bestsellers and poor performers, as well as optimal price points and size ratios.
Users upload product photos of similar, potential men’s and women’s wear styles to the WGSN StyleTrial website and select a target demographic, which currently includes a choice of three age group categories, gender and either UK or US respondents. They will then receive feedback on the new products, presented in a detailed, actionable format within five working days.
SoundOut’s technology, which uses data analytics and consumer panels, was originally developed for the music industry and is used by UK and US record labels and radio stations to predict hits before they are released.
StyleTrial has over 750,000 panellists, with approximately a third based in the UK.
Drapers’ sister company WGSN has been trialling the software with several high street retailers and said the results have been highly accurate.
“As fashion gets faster and the industry is even more challenging, it is more important than ever to back the right products,” said Sansan Chen, executive vice-president of product at WGSN. “The differences in data can be quite small but the impact can be huge in terms of inventory and margins.”
The credit-based subscription service is currently available in the UK and US and will be rolled out to other regions at a later, as yet unconfirmed, date.