Matthew Field, Co-Founder of MakerSights, shares his insights on incorporating customer feedback into business decisions

The merchandising team at Taylor Stitch, a fast-growing apparel brand based in San Francisco, had a problem. They had a 48-hour window to place the largest fabric buy of their fall season, material for their popular Yosemite shirt line, and they couldn’t reach a consensus about which patterns would drive the most sales. Should they double down on styles that had sold well in the past, or focus investment on newer designs that spoke to the future?

This debate is not unique to Taylor Stitch. Merchants across the retail industry are responsible for creating the product assortments that customers find when they walk into a store or navigate to a brand’s website. These are often multi-million dollar decisions that must be made on short timelines using a blend of art and inexact science. The ultimate goal—to deliver products that customers love and buy.

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