From PSFK's Accelerating Innovation In Retail report, here's how today's brands and retailers are using a data-driven approach to research and development

Consumer data can be collected, stored and analyzed in an infinite number of ways to give retailers an advantage in their creative process. For research and development efforts, companies are deriving insights from in-store behaviors, product interactions, loyalty engagement and shopper feedback to identify areas for improvement.

The following five examples illustrate how leading brands are translating consumer data into actionable strategies that can inform decisions around merchandising, rewards programs and technology investment to continually refine the front-end experience and ensure customer needs are always top of mind:

Rent The Runway
Luxury clothing rental platform Rent the Runway launched a clothing line driven by data generated from years of consumer feedback. Using information collected from post-rental surveys about fit and style preferences, Rent The Runway combined data points about wear rate, where the items were worn, fit by style and sizes, and demand for different types of hemlines, sleeve lengths and more, and then empowered their designers to design a clothing line based on this data.

Stitch Fix
Subscription-based fashion retailer Stitch Fix uses data analysis and machine-learning algorithms in order to adapt and improve its selection of menswear as well as the logistics behind the operations of its monthly service. The data technology the company uses is able to track what a customer is in the market for, what they purchase, what they don’t keep and why. This information is then used to quickly adapt strategies if needed.

Adidas
Sportswear retailer Adidas designed a collection of running shoes within its Future Labs innovation team that caters to the unique needs of runners in major cities. Using real-world and lab data collected in cities including London, Paris, New York and Shanghai, Adidas was able to create sneakers that account for the specific needs of local runners, such as terrain and weather.

Mars x Alibaba
Alibaba collaborated with confectionary brand Mars to develop products for the Chinese market. Using insights gleaned from Mars’ consumer research, as well as data from the 500 million consumers on Alibaba’s various online marketplaces, Alibaba helped Mars create a spicy Snickers bar for the Chinese market, after uncovering a growing consumer preference for spicy flavors.

Prose
Prose is a hair care brand that creates custom shampoos and conditioners based on customers' data inputs. Customers go to Prose’s website to answer a five-minute questionnaire about their hair, including questions about its texture, how it responds to humidity and scent preferences. Then an algorithm comes up with a specific formula that is then made in a New York lab and shipped to the customer. Prose has collected half a million consumer profiles, gathering 135 data points per person. Data engineers are now training machine-learning algorithms to create more effective formulas.

“There is no long-term correlation between the amount of money a company spends on its innovation efforts and its overall financial performance. Instead, what matters is how companies use that money and other resources to create products and services that connect with their customers,” says Barry Jaruzelski, Thought Leader on Innovation. Indeed, a company's commitment to innovation goes far beyond money spent. For extensive insight into the many ways in which brands and retailers are applying their creative efforts, download PSFK's Accelerating Innovation In Retail report, out now.


Lead image: stock photos from Fh Photo/Shutterstock

Consumer data can be collected, stored and analyzed in an infinite number of ways to give retailers an advantage in their creative process. For research and development efforts, companies are deriving insights from in-store behaviors, product interactions, loyalty engagement and shopper feedback to identify areas for improvement.

The following five examples illustrate how leading brands are translating consumer data into actionable strategies that can inform decisions around merchandising, rewards programs and technology investment to continually refine the front-end experience and ensure customer needs are always top of mind: