WWD: Fashion Makes the Most of Data War

WWD logo for DynamicAction retail analytics dataComing off Chanel’s announcement last week that it would transition its wholesale business into a concession model, an article in Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Makes the Most of Data War, highlights that this shift not only gives Chanel the ability to directly control their image, but it also allows them to control their customer data — thus a deeper understanding and connection to their end shopper. WWD’s Deputy Managing Editor, Evan Clark, caught up with DynamicAction CMO, Sarah Engel, to garner her insight surrounding customer data and how brands are looking at their customer data differently. They touched on digital transformation, what customer centricity actually means and customer profitability.

Here is an excerpt from the piece:

“It’s the rise of artificial intelligence that has suddenly made it possible to make sense of that data and put the insights to use. But it’s a fast-moving work in progress.

‘This is fundamentally different than even a year ago,’ said Sarah Engel, chief marketing officer of DynamicAction, a prescriptive analytics firm. ‘Customer data is the new sustainable energy, we’ve moved beyond this broad stroke, big data concept. Your unique understanding and your relationship with your customer is your most valuable resource. It’s something Amazon and none of your other competitors have.’

Your unique understanding and your relationship with your customer is your most valuable resource. It’s something Amazon and none of your other competitors have.

The industry is still learning how to talk about the art and science of using customer data in a more targeted way and building a lexicon. Engel said executives talk about their company’s ‘customer centricity’ or how they’re evolving to a ‘customer first model,’ but what they’re getting at is how they’re using massive amounts of data to understand their customers. Mom-and-pop boutiques can “know” their customers, but national chains with thousands of employees and supply chains that reach around the world need some help.

‘If you have a million customers, you almost have a million opportunities to have a different type of interaction,’ she said. As more companies pull off the feat of giving something like individualized attention to shoppers, more consumers are going to expect it. ‘I don’t believe there’s an option not to evolve in this way,’ Engel said. ‘The customers are not going to allow it.’

And that seems to hold true, from Chanel to Alibaba and beyond.

Access the full article here (PDF).

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