When it comes to stating the importance of supporting retail decisions with real-time data in today’s market, Paul Horsfield, Merchandising Director at boohoo, isn’t one to mince words.
“Having real time data is a requirement. Anybody who wants to trade in this current environment needs it. And EDITED provides that.”
Merchandising Director at boohoo
“Data is hugely important in this day and age,” he says. “If you don’t have up to date real-time data you won’t survive in this aggressive trading, competitive retail market – full stop.”
He’d be one to know too. Since the beginning of 2015, boohoo, one of the UK’s largest pure-play online fashion retailers, has been on a roll – racking up nearly $200 million in sales from over 4.2 million customers. And better yet, the company announced a 40% revenue increase in Q1 2016 over Q1 2015. In an industry obsessed with ‘getting it right’, they’re getting it very right. And part of that is thanks to their firm belief in data-supported trading.
“EDITED is really important to our job. I use it every single day.”
Assistant Buyer at boohoo
“EDITED helps us keep pace with the ever-changing product and pricing trends in the retail industry. Having access to that information has contributed to the 40% growth we had last year,” says Paul.
“Before we had EDITED, a number of things were quite different. One of the key differences was the fact that a lot of our interpretation of the market was quite inconsistent and opinion based, rather than data and fact based.”
In the two years since making EDITED available across its teams, data and fact based interpretations have become standard up and down boohoo’s chain of command. Today EDITED is an integrated tool that Paul says, “sits alongside our current processes rather than requiring us to evolve a new process around it.”
“At boohoo, EDITED has become a part of how we operate.”
Merchandising Director at Boohoo
From daily and weekly trading meetings, to supporting product and pricing decisions at every level, here’s how boohoo uses EDITED to keep its competitive edge in one of the toughest market segments in retail.
Better Information, Faster.
“If EDITED wasn’t available to us, it would be very difficult to monitor the market,” says boohoo Merchandiser Manager Laura Dooley. “We’re not all free to do an in-depth market analysis every day on what’s being discounted or promoted. EDITED really helps us pull that information together as quickly as possible.”
And with real-time data, that information is there on-demand; not monthly or annually. And certainly not after it’s no longer useful.
“I used to have to physically go site-by-site to get a sense of what our competitive landscape looked like, and search for strategic opportunities within it. Especially surrounding individual products like slim fit trousers or mini skirts,” says boohoo Assistant Buyer Sophie Dixon.
“Now, I can just look at a full market analysis, filter it all down and it’ll give me my option count and my product count. Then I can click over to see what the physical products are. For me that’s really helpful and it saves a lot of time. Plus, the data is a lot more accurate than the limited information we had before.”
With less time needed to collect data, boohoo’s teams now have more time to analyze the data and see what it’s telling them, to explore new ideas and test different solutions.
“EDITED gives me a lot more confidence to make the decisions I make in my role.”
Merchandising Manager at boohoo
“At the moment I’m preparing for a strategy meeting so we’re monitoring trends and key colors closely. The data we get lets us ask ourselves if we have everything we need or if we were missing something,” says Laura. “And it also helps with pricing structure, to make sure that we are always at our most competitive.”
Of course, knowing all that is one thing, but acting on it is another. And to make an impact, you need both. After all, knowledge without action is as useful as not knowing at all.
EDITED gives boohoo a means to merge the two, clarifying the market through a wide lense, then allowing individual teams to drill down into specifics, illuminating a clear path to success across products, pricing and promotions in every category.
“That’s one of the biggest advantages I think,” says Laura. “Just being able to see what trends the market is backing and what it’s discounting. As well as where things stand with pricing and options.”
Putting the Data in Action
“We use EDITED on a weekly basis. Principally to look at price promotions across not only the UK market but international markets to see how competitive we are,” says Paul. “It also shows us quite clearly what is and isn’t working from a product perspective in all those markets at the touch of a button. That helps us make informed trading decisions.”
And those decisions are not trivial or occasional, they’re the very sort of fundamental decisions that keep boohoo ahead of its competitors day in and day out.
“EDITED is a key data tool that helps us work in a competitive market and ensures that we can trade to the best of our ability.”
Merchandising Director at boohoo
Similarly, data helps boohoo’s teams understand when the competition is bringing new styles to market, giving them the insight they need to be among the first wave of retailers promoting new trends in the market.
“We pride ourselves on our ability to stay ahead of trends and consistently have the right products on order. But if we spot an opportunity to fill a market gap sooner, we can say, ‘okay we really need to pull this product forward’. We’d then prioritize that order so we could get it on site as soon as possible,” says Sophie.
“We’ve got a really quick turnaround, and EDITED makes us more competitive because we can quickly spot opportunities and then actually capitalize on them.”