Top 10 Capabilities to Look for in a Voice of Consumer Platform
September 22, 2022
Think of all the things you use on a daily basis. These are the must-haves in your routine. Things that must offer certain standards of functionality: toothbrushes need bristles; glasses need lenses; moisturizers need… moisture.
In the same way, there are certain analytics you should come to expect from a Voice of Consumer (VOC) platform. In honor of a Millennial-favorite format, here are 12 capabilities every Voice of Consumer platform should provide – and if they aren’t, you may want to cross them off your “potential partners” list.
1. Consumer Profiles
First and foremost, what help is it to listen to consumers if you can’t be confident that they’re your consumers? Your VOC platform should make it easy to define, visualize, and standardize specific target consumers for segmentation analysis. You should also be able to pre-configure groups of consumers that are most relevant to your brand before launching a test.
Qualifying questions can be as general as “Have you worn sneakers in the past year?” or as specific as “How much have you spent on running sneakers from Our Brand in the last year?”
2. Audience Calibration
This same functionality should also take the next logical step, helping you identify the most reliable consumers for repeated feedback and layer on sales data to optimize your audience strategy. The results should yield better customer distributions across an optimal set of attributes.
3. Consumer Sentiment Scores
Validating early product ideas or emerging trends is easy when you have an interactive graph that ranks each item based on consumer responses. Not everything can be summed up in a single score though so you should also be able to dive deep into qualitative and quantitative consumer feedback with just a couple of clicks.
Want to see what a particular demographic thinks about a proposed new style? Your VOC platform should allow you to uncover consumer feedback and sentiment by specific consumer profiles, countries, and more. Those filters should include:
Pre-defined consumer profiles (Do they shop at a particular department store? Are they part of your “running enthusiasts” audience based on behavior and interests?)
The ability to sort by custom questions, such as: Are you a current customer? Where do you usually buy shirts? Which activities do you regularly participate in?
What good is this data dissection if you can’t see it in the context of the category at large? Any good VOC platform will aggregate consumer sentiment scores for all tested products in that specific category, allowing you to immediately understand how assortments stack up season after season.
6. Head-to-Head Product Comparisons
SKU cannibalization occurs when similar items in your line compete for the same consumers, which can make serious dents in your margins. Instead of producing both styles and watching one get swallowed whole, your VOC platform should allow you to compare the two items independently from the rest of the assortment. This makes it easy to identify redundancies in the line.
Sometimes you need to isolate and further understand particular attributes, identify gaps, or spot where you may be over-indexed in an assortment or line. The ability to visually slice and dice an assortment by color, silhouette, etc., and explore data by subset makes it easy to deliver an efficient but comprehensive assortment.
8. Line Efficiency Insights
Crafting a line with core revenue drivers, new styles, and seasonal color ups raises some challenging questions: How many high-energy styles do we need? Are we being too conservative with this much core? Why can’t we just keep both?
It’s time to put the voice of your consumer to work, helping you deliver efficient lines, drive sell-in, and keep article count in check. A visualized line efficiency graph ensures you are striking the perfect balance between newness and carryover, preventing cannibalization, and answering some of your most challenging questions like “How many new color options do we need? Do my core colors still resonate with my customers?”
9. Pricing Analytics
Understanding consumers’ true willingness to pay is more critical than ever. The most advanced VOC platforms are at the forefront of pricing analytics, leveraging value-based methodologies and conjoint analysis to assess consumers’ price sensitivity style-by-style and identify the optimal price to maximize margin and profit, as well as uncover the pricing elasticity and how consumers perceive your pricing compared to your competitors.
10. Consumer Demand Data
Not only are brands challenged with answering “what do consumers want?” but they must also answer “how much do we produce?” Great VOC platforms use proven statistical research methodologies and predictive analytics to deliver reliable consumer demand data, enabling you to optimize buys and dramatically reduce unplanned markdowns, stockouts, and deadstock.
While this list is far from exhaustive, few VOC platforms out there that could boast the full inventory of this list. The world of data science and analytics for retail is still developing, and we are constantly applying proven methodologies to answer questions that emerge throughout the value chain and discovering new ways to better anticipate consumer wants and needs. Regardless of the VOC platform you choose to take with you on your consumer-obsessed journey, you should always look for a partner that is dedicated to consistent innovation, rather than resting on the laurels of historical success.
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