2.4 Conduct comparison shopping (Part 2)

How to comp shop effectively with real-time data

In a market that shifts fast, watching the market happen, as it happens gives you an advantage. This is where real-time data comes in.

 

Comp shopping with data can help brands spot gaps in the market and adjust their assortment mix accordingly, especially in…

  • Assortment
  • Trends
  • Pricing

Assortment

For assortments, there are a few metrics you can study, which are:

The macro view: Total sell-out performance by brand, full price vs. discounted contributions, median price and price spread

The micro view: Category analysis by new-in and replenished, bestsellers and worse sellers, pricing and discounting strategies, colour mixes

 

Let’s illustrate this with an example. Let’s say your competitors are Zara and H&M, and you want to identify their new-in contributions for the past 3 months.

Macro View – Having a benchmark

The macro view covers an overview of your competition. How are they performing? What’s their best-selling price range? What’s a good sell-out rate? This helps you construct a benchmark for your own business.

 

To get an overview of how your competitors are performing, the best way is to compare their total products and sell-out performances. Here, you can see that:

 

  • Although H&M has a larger breadth of assortment with 2x more products than Zara with 9,488 products, its sell-out fell marginally behind Zara by approximately 4%.
  • H&M had a smaller contribution of discounted items at 5% (471 products) despite having more products compared to Zara.

 

Key takeaway: With this information, you have a clear benchmark for your next collection’s assortment size.

 

  • Fast fashion brands have more than 95% of assortment at full price in Spring 2019, indicating high newness.
  • Large assortment does not necessarily drive higher sell-out.

 

Next up, you need to know what’s the benchmark in pricing. This ensures you’re meeting market expectations (which would be further explained in step 3). By studying median price and price spread, you’d have a clear idea of how much (or less) you can price.

 

Comparing Zara and H&M on median price and price spread, Zara had a higher price positioning.

 

Key takeaway: The prices for specific categories can be determined in micro view, but for now, you know which segment (premium, fast fashion etc.) you can aim for.

 

Try it out!

  1. Go to your Omnilytics’ Competitive Benchmarking tool.
  2. Select a market of your choice. If you want to recreate the example above, select ‘United Kingdom’.
  3. Next, choose the retailers or brands of your choice. In the example above, we used Zara and H&M.
  4. Go to Sell Out Performance by Retailer and Price Summary by Retailer.

Try out exercise

 

Micro View – Deep-dive analysis

Once you know how your competitors are performing in general, it’s time to break it down further. Which particular category is performing the best? What are the bestsellers and worst sellers? How about colours?

 

Understanding your competitor’s new-in and replenishment levels allow you to gauge which category is facing high demand. In return, you can then identify what you can potentially adopt into your own assortment.

 

The top-performing categories for Zara and H&M are outerwear, tops and accessories. You can then break them down into specifics, such as colours, styles and silhouettes.

 

Try it out!

  1. Go to your Omnilytics’ Competitive Benchmarking tool.
  2. Select a market of your choice. If you want to recreate the example above, select ‘United Kingdom’.
  3. Next, choose the retailers or brands of your choice. In the example above, we used Zara and H&M.
  4. Under ‘Stock Status’, filter by ‘New-in’ and ‘Replenished’.

Try out exercise

 

Trends

In today’s consumer-driven market, trends are especially crucial – consumers want the latest at the fastest time.

 

There are many ways to identify trends, here are a few common ways:

Runways/Trade Shows

  • Historically, runways have been the key fashion trendsetter.
    • Highly buzzed runway looks or key accessories from designer brands will most likely drip down to fast-fashion retailers due to prominent media coverage.
  • Styling cues or collection themes largely contribute to macro trends that impact every segment within fashion.   

Seasons & festivities

  • There are some trends that will eventually come back to life whenever a new season arrives.
    • For example, florals, tropical prints and embroidered lace come back in style during the Spring/Summer season.
    • Sequins and metallics across tops and dresses, in contrast, are more prominent over the Fall/Winter season.
  • The same applies to festivities, in which most Asian brands pay plenty of attention to.
    • The colour red, for example, would be prioritised for the Lunar New Year.
    • Research on festive outfits and trends before planning and stocking up ahead to potentialise peak trade over festivities. Ideally, perform buy as early as six months or more to ensure prompt stock delivery.

Fashion authorities

  • From celebrities to trade journals, anyone that has a prominent voice in the industry is considered a fashion authority.
    • However, do keep in mind that these forecasts may not necessarily be 100% accurate – so take it with a grain of salt.

Social media

  • Runways may still have influence today, but it isn’t the only trendsetter.
    • Brands like Missguided and Boohoo are scrapping Instagram in a test-and-repeat model, a practice still effective today.
  • A quick way to gauge trends on social media is to simply study hashtags.
    • Fashion-centric hashtags like #ootd or #fashiontrends can give you insights into what your audience is wearing.

 

With real-time data

The key with trends is to capitalise on emerging ones – before they even grow in popularity. This allows you to ride on the wave when they reach the peak, maximising sales.

 

Using Omnilytics’ Trends Performance, you’re able to identify the key trends used by your competitors or in your market. Analysing trends with real-time data not only helps you to identify market gaps but validate against your competitors’ offerings too.

 

Using the same example of Zara and H&M, you can easily identify the trending categories with the module available.

 

On women’s tops, you can then further break down into subcategories. Here, you know it’s probably best to avoid crop tops and tank tops and look to stock up on wrap tops and drawstring tops instead.

 

Try it out!

  1. Go to Omnilytics Trends Performance module.
  2. Select a market and retailers/brands of your choice.
  3. Select a timeline – Omnilytics Trends Performance works best if your timeline is longer than 6 months.
  4. Filter by gender if you wish to see specific trends for women, men or kids.
  5. To look at the styles of each uptrending or downtrending trend, just click on the images.
  6. You can also break it down by subcategories. Go to your left bar and click on ‘Categories’ and select whichever you want to analyse.
  7. For trends on colours, go to ‘Group By’ (next to Price Range on top) and filter by ‘Colours’.

Try out exercise

 

Bestsellers

For the top categories, you can break them further by looking into specific styles and silhouettes.

Bestsellers – Zara

Bestsellers – H&M

 

Zara saw higher sellouts for more tailored outerwear such as long coats and jackets, while H&M sold more sweaters and casual jackets.

 

Try it out!

  1. Go to Omnilytics Competitive Benchmarking module.
  2. Select a market and retailers/brands of your choice.
  3. To look for items that were sold out, you can either click on ‘Total Sell-out’ under ‘Sell-out Performance by Retailer’.
    1. Alternatively, you can opt to filter by ‘Out-of-stock’ under ‘Stock Status’, and then clicking on ‘‘Total Sell-out’ under ‘Sell-out Performance by Retailer’.
  4. For a more specific analysis, you can also filter by ‘Out-of-stock’ and ‘Replenished’. This gives you an overview of products that were both in-demand and had high stock movement.

Try out exercise

 

Slow-movers

Identifying slow-movers is just as important as determining the bestsellers. By looking into categories and colours that aren’t performing well, you would know which to avoid in your future collection.

 

For Zara, there was a high level of SKUs under the accessories category, especially within the 90-120 days range.

Watches were one of the subcategories within accessories that did not sell well. For your own assortment, you can either stock less or bring in different types of accessories.

 

Try it out!

  1. Go to Omnilytics Ageing Analysis module.
  2. Select a market and retailers/brands of your choice.
  3. The darker the colour, the higher the concentration of SKUs. The same concept applies for category, colours and discounts.

Try out exercise

 

Colour Mixes

There are two aspects of colour mixes: core colours and non-core colours.

Core colours are typically made up of evergreen shades, such as black, white and grey. Because of its everlasting nature, these shades almost always make up most parts of a brand’s colour palette.

Non-core colours are seasonal shades, such as yellow, pink or green. Brands typically bring them in due to festivities, trends or consumer demands.

However, do note that not all markets stock up more of the core colours. The muslimah market, for example, usually favours non-core colours due to a demographic that has a different preference. The key here is to find a balance that works for your brand.  

 

For Zara and H&M, both brands had similar colour palettes, though H&M had a more proportionate range for black, grey and white.

 

For core colours, you can set Zara and H&M’s percentage contribution of core colours as your benchmark.

 

As for seasonal colours, there are two things you can do:

  • Expand bestselling essential styles with seasonal colours to potentialise performance.
  • Trial progressive seasonal colours with minimum order quantity to de-risk yet add interests to the assortment.

 

Try it out!

  1. Go to Omnilytics Competitive Benchmarking page.
  2. Select a market and retailers/brands of your choice.
  3. Filter by ‘Out-of-stock’ under ‘Stock status’ and scroll down to view the colour wheel under ‘Colours’.
  4. Click on any pie wedge to view the styles from each colour.
  5. To filter by categories, go to ‘Categories’ on your left bar. The data should reflect your choice of filters.