Big Data in the fashion industry, is more than the biggest trend right now, is a necessity for any fashion company that wants to get more out of the digital world for their brand.
But, what is big data anyway? Big data is enormous quantity of raw information; the word raw is the key when talking about it. These data is only helpful if you are able to translate this massive amount of data into useful and practical material. When you collect data, then statistics, numbers and patterns start to appear, but all these numbers have to be translated in order to make something out with them; by the time you do it, you can create great useful tools. One great example is WGSN, the famous fashionista website, that shows what’s in now, but also forecast trends. They translate the data to forecast styles, colors and even materials all of these using big data, it’s basically the bible to stylists.
Another great example is us: Fashionbi, which stands for fashion business intelligence, and that is exactly what it is, big data used with intelligence in order to give the brands detailed and specific information about the fashion, luxury and beauty industry performance within the digital world. That way it allows brands to make clever choices through forecasting, evaluating and informing the companies performance, taking into consideration the most valuable asset for a brand: the client's perception (which in many cases is very different to the companies perceptions of themselves). If the implementation of the strategy is well accomplished and these awareness is taken into consideration the array of information given through the analyzing of big data generates new insights which are of immeasurable value., and it will change and improve the way it communicates with their costumers. So if WGSN is the bible to stylists, Fashionbi is the bible to any fashion brand out there.
Technology is changing the fashion world as we know it. It’s a complete revolution, as it has been said in one of our past analysis, “we are in the era where fashion and technology are married, and very much in love”. Technology is completely altering the way the fashion business operates, and big data has a lot to do with that.
Fashion has been a big part of social media since the beginning, bloggers and influencers where pioneers, then brands followed as they realized it was not only a cheap but effective way of being noticed. Luxury and premium brands where a little reluctant at first, fearing they would lose prestige, but most of them are now conscious of the power of social media, and the importance of how it is a being part of it.
And how can you not be enchanted bye the chance of taking a glance of their consumer’s mind with promptness never before seen. But since big data raw information doesn’t work by itself, social media is not magic either, for it to work it needs a crucial ingredient: strategy.
Recapitulating, big data in the fashion industry (perhaps in all industries) needs to be fed by social media information, and also needs to be structured and interpreted in the right way, which is not an easy task. Social media needs to have a strategy, is not enough to open an account on every single site, choosing which is more suitable to your core values of the brand, and which are used the most by the target audience, engaging people, having conversations, knowing which times are the best to be active on the accounts.
Fashionbi as a company offering big data solutions has not only tools and reports, it has personalized consultancy (since each brand is different) for an entire digital strategy. Giving you the real insights of your market, country by country, you against your benchmark, and even tell you which are your biggest influencers out there, which are basically unpaid Brand Ambassadors of your brand, and the best communication tool your company will ever have. On top of that it has fashion free news and events coverage 24 hours a day; what can be better that the company handling your digital strategy being with you in every event to promote it in the right way.
Broadcasting the latest happenings in the industry we are always covering the fashion brands online to offline strategies. This includes attending to their events and we go there not only to see who was there and what they wore, but more interesting we compared the offline results to the online gained results!.
Recently we were present at Geox event (who are not our clients, just yet), where the social media star Facehunter was touring across the main flagship Geox stores through Europe: Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and Milan. The collaboration’s objectives where to present the brand new collection, and to promote the last Facehunter’s book: “A year in the life of Facehunter”. It was a great idea that should have attracted a lot of people. The event was flawless, Champaign, food, a make-up artist, and a great DJ. Bloggers and some clients where Photographed by Yvan Rodic (Facehunter) he also did some book signing.
The digital result of the event: not so good, not so bad either. If the idea was great, the event was impeccable, then how come it had almost no resonance in the digital world? The answer is very simple: the Italian brand Geox hasn’t implemented yet a good digital strategy; they have Twitter just for the UK market (they Euro tour didn’t include London), and they don’t use much neither Instagram nor Facebook. If during these events they would have had a digital strategy it would have been great, with the Facehunter giant fan base pulling.
During the events, the brand use of Facebook was minimal, but even so, the people gave some likes around the dates of the occasions. They had a growth on active fans of 6.52% vs. an regular average of 6.02% active fans per day, not much but still positive. Berlin had the most posts by the brand and the biggest respond from the people. In Milan a very curious thing happened, they had little activity and big response from the followers (in comparisson to the brand's activity). The hash tag they implemented was barely used; The Facebook activity compared to their benchmark on market segment and core business was totally negative. The event wasn’t a complete digital disaster, although it could have been a total success with the correct implementation of strategy beforehand and correct use of follow up metrics. Overall Geox only showed some few positive results during the dates of the events, the rest of the time, the activity is very slow, they are engaging with people very few times a day (4 times a day in average), and so is the users resond, a big decrease on the users comments:-16.98%, a decimal increase on shares of : 0.11%, and growth on the likes: 9.77% (which is not much taking into consideration that this period although wider , also include the dates of the events).
In conclusion the use of big data has to be implemented along with a social media strategy in order for it to be successful. Big data can show insights in a very quick way, giving the client a competitive edge. Big data is staying and it's importance will increase, but it is nothing without the right human mind interpreting it. Big data is like a beautiful black dress, it's here to stay and no brand is complete without it.