COVID-19 is driving the importance of data in retail: Part 2: The Knowledge Exchange Perspective

Almost every country across the world has reported cases of COVID-19 (McKinsey 2020), with governments taking different approaches as to how to contain the virus and limit its spread. Travel restrictions and social distancing has meant a greater reliance on technology by businesses and it is predicted that the pandemic will accelerate the fourth industrial revolution (Economist 2020). Fashion brands have been under increasing pressure to be embrace technology for some time, as there is a growing need to understand the market and to respond to consumer demand. The role of the consumer has shifted from one of passive observance to enabled dominance (Deloitte 2018).

Peter Drucker’s famous quote “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” has become something of a mantra in all industries. Businesses need to be able to understand, analyse and interpret data to support decision making in their businesses but often they do not possess the skills and confidence to get the most from the plethora of data that exists. The Fashion Business School, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts recognises the importance of business analytics, data science and artificial intelligence to the fashion industry and works with a number of digital businesses.

Customers are no longer content with simply buying fashion products; they want to interact, belong, influence and be the brands from which they buy. Digital and social media channels influence customers before, during and after making a purchase (Deloitte 2018). The Fashion Business School was approached by Fashion Right Now in September 2019 to assist them in the development of their digital platform.  Founded by Simon Riley in 2018 Fashion Right Now gives businesses clear visibility across social media channels and an understanding as to how their brand is being perceived and presented to the consumer.

It is a real time search and browse engine which gives visibility on the latest fashion and beauty social news. Students and staff were given exclusive access to Fashion Right Now in return for their professional advice and feedback on the usability of the site. Recommendations were given to Fashion Right Now as to how they could improve their platform and develop their search engine ahead of their launch.  The Fashion Business School continues to work with Fashion Right Now offering their expertise and business acumen at a time when data analytics is becoming fundamental to organisations and the entire consumer-brand relationship (Deloitte 2018).

By Hannah Middleton

If you are interested in collaborating in Knowledge Exchange with the Fashion Business School, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Hannah Middleton (h.middleton@arts.ac.uk) to discuss your ideas.

Read Part 1 here