On average, retailers need to monitor around 30,000 products from dozens of competitors in every country where they operate. Consumer trends evolve fast and tracking the market’s activity regularly has become necessary to stay on top of your game. Today, competitor monitoring is carried out manually for the most part – a time-consuming and highly inefficient process involving the analysis of data samples that are neither exhaustive nor up-to-date. Fortunately, new and innovative AI-based solutions exist to exploit the full potential of real-time competitive analysis.
3 facts that increase competition in fashion
More products on the market
Fashion is faster than ever. Modern supply chains offered clothing makers shorter production lead times to introduce new collections more frequently. From 2000 to 2011, European fashion companies more than doubled the number of clothing collections, from 2 to 5 on average. Zara is capable of offering new products in its stores every week by launching 24 new collections per year. This fast pace increases the number of products to watch and forces retailers to monitor competitors much more frequently. This is time-consuming, inefficient and should not be done manually anymore.
New challenger brands
The new highly demanding consumer is increasingly sensitive to authentic yet innovative brands. Many even actively avoid buying from big companies. These trends should create room for new small brands which often originate online. The digital DNA of these challenger brands gives them a serious edge, as they are able to use technology better to engage with consumers who are constantly using their smartphones. Challenger brands can quickly reach an audience by mastering digital marketing channels in a cost-efficient way. They are also better at fulfilling the needs of specific market niches such as vegans who need clothes which do not contain animal products.
For established fashion brands, these new entrants on the fashion market multiply the number of competitors to watch and they should certainly not be overlooked.
For the first time in history, non-Western countries accounted for a greater share of clothing sales than North America and Europe in 2019. According to McKinsey, emerging countries of the APAC region including China and India will experience the fastest rise, with 7% in sales growth in 2020. This is seven times more than on mature markets in Europe. Emerging countries are a great opportunity for fashion retailers to expand to new markets and drive growth in the coming years. But this requires a good knowledge of local competitors. A solution such as Retviews enables brands to analyze the offers and price positioning of local brands before launching in a new market.
New benchmarking technologies to improve decision-making and stand out from the crowd
With all products now available online, retailers have access to more data than ever before. However, they lack most of the essential insights, simply because human intelligence is limited in processing this mass of information efficiently.
In the 4.0 era, data has become a simple commodity. The real value lies in solutions capable of processing mass data and drawing information from it. An innovative solution such as Retviews, an apparel industry software is capable of collecting enormous amounts of data from online stores in the blink of an eye to avoid time-consuming manual competitive shopping. Based on product descriptions, artificial intelligence can automatically recognize a huge variety of products, classify them in the right category and compare them with similar products offered by the competitors. It collects all information related to each product, including pricing, discounts, colors, materials and sizes available.
The old method of competitive shopping in physical stores or browsing manually each e-commerce site has too many drawbacks. These techniques are time-consuming, limited in scope, and data is quickly outdated. Today, retailers use new generation tools to access competitor data and benchmark easily. All information is updated daily and stored in a database to track the precise evolution of each indicator. Everything is in one place, right on their desktop. Data collection is placed on autopilot to intelligently monitor competitor activity much more often and quickly detect changes in the market for data-driven decision making. For example, retailers are able to see the precise assortment structure of their competitors and benchmark it against their own. If the offering in a specific product is too high compared to competitors and it is reflected in the sales, retailers can adjust their assortment to maximize sales. When a price point is poorly aligned with the competition for a specific product, they can adapt immediately. Being able to see these discrepancies early allows for quicker adjustments and the identification of potential lost sales long before this actually occurs.
For multinational companies, frequent monitoring of local competitors in each country is crucial. An innovative solution such as Retviews enables retailers to easily track the whole market and ensure the best positioning at all times.
In the case of an expansion, it is much easier to make a report on a new potential country to make a perfect market entry. Besides being faster, certain data was simply not available before. Since these solutions keep track of any price modifications on a daily basis, retailers are able to see when the price of a product has been lowered but not displayed to consumers as such, the so-called “hidden discounts”. It is also possible to see out-of-stock items in competitors’ offers and detect products that are selling fast.
Flying blindly is simply not an option for retailers in today’s highly competitive environment. Modern retailing needs an analytical tool capable of delivering insights on a large number of brands, products and countries. Retviews’ technology allows retailers to act faster and take data-driven decisions to stay competitive.
In sum, brands need to focus on what they are best at and leave the rest to new technologies, which collect and organize data to make decision-making faster and much more efficient.