As we all know, product selection is key to the retail sector because the hardest thing about retail is finding out what the client wants.
We would all like to have a crystal ball that allows us to accurately predict the path that will ultimately prove to be successful. In retail, we have access to all the past sales information, but we don’t know anything about the future.
One clearly successful case is that of Inditex, who have been able to solve this dilemma by creating a logistical and data infrastructure that has allowed them to buy late or to repeat their purchases, and quickly make their most-sold item available across their network of stores. Furthermore, they have achieved this with a structure that allows them to be profitable with an exceptionally low markup.
It is clear that every retailer would like to know what is going to work in their stores when it comes to design, purchase, or manufacturing a collection, in order to push for their projects at the right moment and improve their margin.
In my travels around the world, what have I found in the shops of Barcelona, Shanghai, Cape Town, New York, etc.? In each and every one of them, the common denominator is that the people who work in the stores discuss products and create product proposals. Nobody says anything about databases, logistics, or company investments…they tell me about the product.
This is because the store staff are in contact with the product, they are the company representatives who are closest to our customers. They receive feedback on each purchase, every minute, of every hour, of every day. They are working the cash register and see what is sold and what is not. They are in the dressing rooms watching what people take and what they leave behind. This means that they are essentially our eyes, ears, and hands. For us, store staff is who knows our customers best.
What can retailers do to ensure that all of this input from store staff makes it to headquarters?
Normally they set up showrooms, embark on trips for market research, send emails for occasional feedback on certain items…These are expensive and inefficient processes.
The global pandemic of 2020 has meant the cancellation of trips, and we have had to make changes to our previous way of approaching work. Our greatest ally right now is technology designed to set up efficient processes and to use internal communication tools that are agile and useful.
The is the reason wemuse exists: to be an efficient and user-friendly tool that gathers this feedback from our employees, instantly and in a way that is easy to analyze in order to take action.
Currently we have clients like Brownie, who have implemented this methodology and transformed the in-person meetings where collections were presented in Barcelona into online votes via wemuse. This way, they have been able to create a Showroom 2.0 that exists on the smartphone of each one of their store managers.
The name wemuse was born from a crystal-clear vision: to empower employees and take their opinions into account, and at the same time make them feel like headquarters is listening. It is a tool that allows for a very agile workflow, democratizes product selection decisions, and makes our teams (WE) the true or new muses (MUSE) for brands.
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