It’s time to fight fire with fire as retailers battle for market share now that Amazon has entered the apparel arena.
JDA Software has created a platform called Retail.me that is powered by Google Cloud technology. The idea is to take the data that is available and turn it into real retail planning.
Many retailers have been wondering how to compete against Amazon’s powerhouse of data intelligence. This combination between JDA and Google seems to give retailers added ammunition. The first application of several in the works is called Assortment Planning.
The idea is that instead of retail executives poring over spreadsheets loaded with style and stockkeeping unit numbers, they can see the data with a highly visual portrayal. JDA believes that retail planners should create their assortments the way the consumers shop for product. Displayed like a Pinterest page, retailers can quickly and easily see what is working and what isn’t. A huge page of sku’s doesn’t tell the story as quickly or as well.
The images also get scored by customer segment and cluster using historical data to forecast predicted performance. Retail.me was designed and built for Google Cloud, which makes it easily adaptable to many companies’ existing tech infrastructure.
“There is no lack of data, but the information is buried,” said Ron Fleischer of Kurt Salmon Associates.
Fleischer believes retail planners could do a better job if they began their approach from the same point of view as the shopper. Laying out a selection of digital images and using those as a starting point.
Google highlighted online retailer Zulily as an example of a retailer that mines its data every day and all day. Zulily is constantly measuring and always changing depending on the data it receives from its customers.
Google noted that many retail chief intelligence officers are also reluctant to allowing Google in to help them. Because of Google’s ability to tap into the cloud, their expertise is easy to use and access. This threatens the complex infrastructures that many retail chief intelligence officers have created and are hesitant to relinquish.
Google’s scale is only matched by Amazon, so the platform begins to even the playing field for retailers.
Many retailers cling to the idea that women don’t like buying apparel online, but Statista said that online apparel shopping will grow from $63.5 billion in 2015 to $71.8 billion in 2016. In five years, it will double from $55 billion in 2014 to a projected $100 billion in 2019.
Retailers can’t afford to ignore this forecast.