The Business Behind That Perfect Party Dress

So we’ve been an entire month into the New Year, and while we were still in the post-party season detox mode, retailers across the US were already out with up to 80% discounts on the merchandise that was “fresh” and “new in” just before Christmas. The holiday season of 2016 saw an overall surge in discounts after the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales; a shift in the dynamics of retail sales calendar in the States accounted to be driven by millennials who apparently shopped way early before Thanksgiving, and more later.

As Black Friday virtually stretched over for two months in 2016, e-tailers have been more cautious than ever in rolling out new stock. How has that affected the party-wear business? Intelligence Node investigates with its proprietary SaaS-based tool, Incompetitor™ analyzing data points derived by mapping 1 billion unique products across 130,000+ brands for more than 1100+ categories every day.

Traditionally party wear dresses are broadly categorized as ‘evening dresses’. Google search queries for ‘evening dresses’ decreased by 4% for the US and 3% for the UK in 2016. But it doesn’t necessarily confirm a declining interest in party dresses. ‘Cocktail dresses’ in the US went up by 13%  and ‘party dresses’ up by 13% in the UK. Off shoulder  ‘bardot dresses’ were searched 162% more this past year.

If we have to describe the mood for party wear business in 2016, we’d use “cautious”.

We looked at the generally favored timeframe for introducing new stocks in partywear, which is early December, just at the hem of Black Friday weekend in November. Our data indicates a mere 2% increase in average in stock dresses compared to Dec 2015, despite in stock in the apparel category going up by 35% overall. This could be attributed to Black Friday looming over since September and the fact that this is the year ‘see now, buy now’ business model was adopted in one form or another by a rising number of brands and retailers. It renders the time-frame for buying partywear hazy, giving rise to continual discounting and simultaneous collection launches since as early as September first week.

Jumpsuits and skirts fared slightly better, 3% & 5% respectively, giving how velvet overalls and metallic pleated skirts have been a rage in the evening wear category. Search queries for ‘jumpsuit’ went up by 49% in the US; zooming in, ‘black jumpsuits’ have been searched 51% more according to Think with Google Report. Pleated skirts were having a moment, with a 33% increase in interest by end of 2016.

Discounting trends across different price/market segments for the last four months show an interesting insight into how conventional retailers differ from fast fashion brands and luxury e-tailers when it comes to holiday discounts. Macy’s, JC Penny, Barney’s, Nordstrom etc. still give heavy discounts over Thanksgiving weekends, whereas the newer, more dynamic players like Zara waited it out until the 2nd week of January to push sales. Luxury e-stores had a foot on both sides of the Holiday season, extending discounts from Black Friday right up till the end of January.

Dresses have been discounted more than skirts and jumpsuits in 2016 compared to 2015. Overall the “occasion wear” and “evening wear” have seen more slashed price tags than last year. Discounts were up by 11% in dresses and 8% in skirts. For a 2016 trend, discount rates on jumpsuits were not very encouraging. We saw an increase of 10.5% from 2015; just as much as dresses, indicating a failure to spike enough, considering the pre-Fall confidence in the category.

On the upside, the Luxury segment did quite well in the dresses department. 97.9% were out-of-stock at full price by end of December. Significantly more than accessible brand stores (87.3%) and way more than fast fashion brands (36%). Overall 45% of the stock in dresses wasn’t discounted at all in the Nov-Dec holiday season.

Compared to 2015, e-tailers were well-stocked this year. Average out-of-stock items were down by 16.77% for dresses and 14.92% for jumpsuits. Skirts saw the average out-of-stock rate decreasing by 19%. Could this mean that 2016’s pleated skirts were more successful than 2015’s voluminous midis? Maybe, for we saw velvet dresses neck-to-neck with pleated metallic skirts to gain the top spot, even during a colder last week of December.

2016 has seen some very strongly defined trends, dresses being on of the favored categories. Velvet dresses, off-shoulder/cold-shoulder dresses, slip dresses, metallics, sequins & ruffles made a splash this fall and overlapped across occasion wear, evening wear, and casuals- making them prevalent everywhere you laid eyes.

The overlap was not just confined to categories. About 39% of styles had a combination of two or more of these attributes. Off-shoulder velvet dresses, sequined slip dresses, ruffled velvet dresses, metallic ruffled dresses- and so on. The 90’s influence was heavy this holiday season, with Kate Moss’s iconic slip dresses making their mark alongside velvet Bardot numbers.

While this holiday season has seen ambiguous trends in holiday discounting and sales, across the past four months, retailers have been able to cash in on a handful of styles in dresses and skirts, thanks to ‘star’ items that hadn’t been around the past few years. It would be wise to gear up for the coming year with pricing strategies that tie-in discounting seasons as well as full-price (virtual) shelves to hit the sweet spot in e-commerce buying trends. Take note that your customers will expect bargain deals all year-round, and will spend on new collections, albeit cautiously. Now is the time to get a dynamic pricing automation strategy to feed both the proverbial beasts.

The Definitive Guide To Predictive Analytics

A branch of advanced analytics that allows you to predict unknown events in the future, predictive analytics is a highly sought-after technology that gives you an upper hand when it comes to competition.

The analysis is an easy-to-use process, thanks to the advancing technology and smarter and faster computers. The need for an intelligent strategy to beat the tough economic conditions and competition in the market led to companies adapting to predictive analytics tools. Continue reading “The Definitive Guide To Predictive Analytics”

What Small Businesses Think of Big Data and Analytics ?

The big data trend has been gaining traction rapidly in the international markets. Almost all the multinationals have their own data analytics arm; or they outsource this service from the many data analytics companies that excel at it.

But, it is undeniably true that many organizations today are making data waves. But, it is also the undeniable truth that most Small Businesses are yet to join this bandwagon. It’s been estimated that with the rapid spread of mobile devices and the “Internet of Things,” the world is generating more than 2.5 billion gigabytes of data every single day.

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The Internet of Things: Transforming the Retail Industry

2015 has brought with it a revolution, when it comes to disruptive technologies and innovative methods of utilizing the same. One of the most popular trends to grace the world today is the Internet of Things(IoT). Actually calling it a trend would be counterproductive.

IoT is not really a trend- because it is definitely here to stay and spin the world in new directions. IoT has already made itself indispensable. From smart cars to smart homes, IoT exists in the grey area between accepted technologies and awesome new gizmos that rule the market today.

The surprise though, is that in spite of IoT being a buzz word, it has not become as mainstream as, say the internet or the mobile, or even virtual. Not everyone everywhere is aware of the huge implications that IoT already has and will have in their lives.

This is largely because IoT is not retail ready. Of course there are many new gadgets coming up every day that are collectively termed as IoT. But can you really imagine one person wearing or using 50 different objects to harness the power of the Internet of Things?

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Ethnically Yours- Big Data

Every culture in the world comes with a set of norms and rules. And the way one should dress happens to be one of those unspoken norms that govern popular conscious. Society decides what is appropriate and what is not for various gender, ethnic groups, etc.

Although these days dress has become mainstream everywhere, there are still groups of people that adhere to traditions. And ethnic wear is one of those long standing traditions that have gripped the imaginations of designers everywhere.

Which is why, the ethnic wear industry in India today comprises 75% of the total women’s wear market, at USD 10.82 billion. This is a huge number, considering the fact that the Indian Apparel market is presently valued at USD 39 billion and expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.5% to reach USD 60 billion by 2017.

With more than 10 million women joining the workforce, the apparel industry is expected to gain a potential 35 million consumers by 2020, according to a Technopak report. These numbers are clear indicators that modern and comfort based dressing will not erase centuries of traditional ideals.

Ethnic wear, especially in India today, is most popular during the wedding (read winter) season in India. Weddings see a variety of ethnic and traditional dress styles coming together. The challenge for most designers and retailers, though, lies in deciding what will earn those profits as well as brand recognition.

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Brain Trauma and Big Data…

The death of Phil Hughes, Australian Test Cricketer, due to injury during a cricket match, came as a shock to the international community last year. The reason for his death- a subarachnoid haemorrhage or in simpler words internal bleeding in certain parts of the brain.

The fact that in spite of medical science being so exact, Hughes could not be saved is an indication that when it comes to the brain and its many intricacies, even the best among us are left with almost no knowledge.

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Big Data- Growth Story 2014…

Big data, it seems, has become the new mantra for all and sundry. Every industry you see has used or is planning to use data analytics to increase sales or get to know their customer base. Newer and better organizations are coming up because of data analytics becoming important. Also, new jobs have been generated in the name of data.

For the uninitiated, Big Data refers to a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. Data analytics is all about processing this data using softwares, tools or other such services. Continue reading “Big Data- Growth Story 2014…”

AI- Seeing the Future!

We have heard this word many a times. Sci-fi movies are always quoting AI as if it’s a household word. Artificial Intelligence has interested scientists and enthusiasts for a long time now. Ever since mankind developed the computer, the ides of AI has taken root.

It would not be farfetched to assume that in a few decades artificial intelligence will be a large part of our lives. It already plays a significant role even today- just look at Siri or Cortana for example. These words are very familiar because we can ask them various questions and they probably answer them accurately.

Whenever we hear the words AI, our curiosity is piqued. So what’s all the fuss about? Artificial intelligence (AI) is the human-like intelligence exhibited by machines or software. . The AI field is interdisciplinary, in which a number of sciences and professions converge, including computer science, psychology, linguistics, philosophy and neuroscience, as well as other specialized fields such as artificial psychology.

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Business in Celebration!

It’s Christmas Eve. The whole world is waiting with bated breath to welcome ‘the messiah.’ All the lines have been erased to witness the birth of Christ- the savior. This in itself is a miracle. Even before he arrives, he brings with him joy and peace.

Jesus lived centuries ago. And still his words, his very presence lingers in the hearts of people all over the world. And in this atmosphere of hope and happiness is the reason that Christmas is such an amazing time for us.

Businesses start preparations months in advance to cash in on Christmas. But we believe differently. We believe us and by extension most business owners are engaged in spreading the currency of love and joy.

Most businesses that survive in the long term end up adapting to their own changing sets of consumers. But with ecommerce becoming almost mainstream, and the huge amount of choices they provide, it has become necessary to find newer ways to retain customer attention.

Grabbing eyeballs may be easy even, but getting them curious enough to actually continue to look at a particular product or service is the real challenge. The virtual world is like a quagmire of options- it entices your consumers, yes; but it distracts at the same time.

With IoT proliferating and growing, it is becoming too easy to gather data. But converting that data into actionable insights is another challenge. Until now, we have had to rely on surveys and other statistical but human methods to get to the bottom of problems.

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Black Friday- The Mandatory Article!

It is a testament to the monopoly that the USA holds over the world today, that most market pundits and the top tier management is talking about Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, non-stop. The trends, the latest ideas, and especially the sales, are all anyone will speak about.

Thanksgiving is majorly celebrated in the United States and Canada, and yet people all over the world are using it to propel their own sales and brand image in the country of dreams- USA. The cultural connotations of Thanksgiving are similar to many other celebrations held all over the world. It is a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the blessings in the preceding year.

The word ‘thanksgiving,’ means just that, giving thanks. A beautiful thought, that when echoed by a whole nation, becomes not just cultural, but secular as well. But roots of the idea aside, these days, at least internationally, Thanksgiving is known for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday phenomena, which marks a gift buying frenzy, just before the start of the holiday season and Christmas.

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