WGSN, the global foresight business specialising in consumer, fashion and design trends, today launched a fashion industry first – WGSN StyleTrial. This brand new product provides crowdsourced validation for the fashion industry. It utilises the power of big data analytics and consumer panels to accurately predict the likely performance of items and to identify best-sellers before they hit the shop floor.
WGSN StyleTrial brings clarity to one of the biggest risks facing retailers today – bad buying decisions. During 2014, the British fashion retail industry had approximately 38% UK (US 40%) of its stock reduced or on promotion, representing £22.1BN in the UK ($281.8BN in the US) of sales not being made at full price. According to The Journal of Product Innovation Management 40% of all new products fail because most retailers and brands make new product decisions based on historical data and in-store testing only.
“With the high street battling a raft of challenges, WGSN StyleTrial will provide some much needed security and confidence,” says Sansan Chen, Executive Vice President, Product at WGSN – a statement underpinned by the interest of more than 40 retailers across [the UK and US] currently discussing WGSN StyleTrial with WGSN.
“Historic data is a valued, core asset of many modern retailers who rightly use it to infer future insight, but as fashion gets ever faster and the consumer is better connected, better informed and more influential than ever before, retailers need a more accurate predictor.
“If the high street reduces its markdown stock (reduced or on promotion) by 10% and gets it right this year, with consumer confidence returning in force, retailers can expect a greater share of full price sales, and higher margins as a result. With an estimated £59.6BN in the UK ($731.0BN in the US) consumer spend on clothing, footwear and accessories up for grabs, and with competition increasing and e-commerce growing in market share, no brand can afford to be the one that misses the mark.
“WGSN StyleTrial enables WGSN’s clients to understand consumer opinion before they commit to a product, meaning our customers don’t need to wait for sales figures to uncover a million-dollar mistake.” concludes Sansan.
WGSN StyleTrial enables rapid consumer feedback from a tailored demographic, to identify best-sellers, poor performers, optimal price points and size ratios before orders are placed.
Powered by SoundOut, the world-leader in music track-testing, WGSN StyleTrial has already demonstrated near 100% accuracy during trial stage – an unsurprising result, according to David Courtier-Dutton, Founder and CEO of SoundOut.
“In just three years SoundOut has become the dominant player in new music testing for the major record labels. SoundOut has now tested over 250,000 tracks, helping the music industry identify which are the next big hits. It’s a proven model that is set to also have a dramatic impact on everyday retail buying decisions.
“The marriage of crowdsourcing, the wisdom of crowds’ methodology and big data analytics has never been applied before to the fashion industry at scale, and we are confident that WGSN StyleTrial will have a material effect on the net margins of retailers. With over 750,000 consumers powering WGSN StyleTrial, the fashion industry now has an all new, uniquely powerful predictive lens.”
WGSN StyleTrial is available by invite only and exclusively through WGSN.
 What is a bad buying decision? Calculation: 2014 Consumer Spend on clothing, footwear & accessories (sales) / 100 * 40% of stock = 2014 Bad Buying Decision. Based on Planet Retail estimate for value of clothing, footwear & accessories market
. The Journal of Product Innovation Management is a bimonthly peer-reviewed academic journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Product Development and Management Association. https://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1111%2Fj.1540-5885.2012.01009.x?r3_referer=wol&tracking_action=preview_click&show_checkout=1&purchase_referrer=onlinelibrary.wiley.com&purchase_site_license=LICENSE_DENIED_NO_CUSTOMER
 The value of markdown stock equates to 10% of total Consumer Spend (sales) for both the UK and US
2015 Consumer Spend: Total consumer spend on clothing, footwear, accessories, watches and jewellery (including VAT and sales tax): Source: Planet Retail