The design and product creation teams at a century-old athletic and college apparel brand needed to streamline its process, especially in early stage product development where considerable time was wasted debating graphics, colorways, and print and pattern concepts.
The design and product creation teams at a century-old athletic and college apparel brand were spending considerable time debating graphics, colorways, and print and pattern concepts. Resources were often used to create artwork, swatches, and samples that either had to be reworked or never made the cut. In addition, the team was challenged to reduce overall SKU production by 20%.
To help achieve this goal, accelerate decision making, and avoid wasting design efforts, the executive team sought to incorporate forward-facing consumer data into decisions and its product creation process. However, manually programming surveys and internally analyzing the results was time-consuming and inefficient.
As the brand and its desire to understand the consumer perspective grew, the Director of Global Activewear Consumer Insights knew she needed a tool to help streamline consumer testing and make the results more digestible and actionable across the organization.
The Consumer Insights team now uses MakerSights’ Voice of Consumer functionality to collect direct, specific consumer feedback and help the product team make assortment decisions earlier in the development process:
Align on Seasonal Direction
The product creation team now begins evaluating consumer sentiment as early as the concept review phase of assortment development. The brand uses MakerSights’ Buckets analytics feature to assess seasonal direction and narrow its design focus before committing to sketches, swatches, and samples. For example, the team recently tested competitor images of more tailored sweatpants against more loose-fitting styles to validate designers’ instincts and garner support from the product team.
The Consumer Insights team then runs a second round of tests later in the product creation process to further refine its design direction and analyze additional graphics, patterns, and prints. In addition to scoring various product details with MakerSights, consumers also provide qualitative commentary that helps the product team determine whether to tweak or drop certain styles.
Filtering this feedback by consumer behavior (e.g. where they shop or brand engagement) gives the product team a better understanding of how to tailor assortments to appeal to specific target audiences. These insights are easy to access and share via interactive dashboards in MakerSights’ centralized and intuitive assortment management workspace.
Uncover Go-to-Market Insights
Finally, being able to predict top-performing patterns and colorways across segments helps the product team determine which experimental styles have more niche appeal and should be limited to the top tier of retailer’s stores. Consumer testing also allows the Consumer Insights team to pulse-check consumer behaviors.
Using MakerSights has successfully minimized the number of subjective debates that occur during the brand’s product creation process. Teams are now able to quickly and objectively determine whether to adjust or drop a seasonal concept or style based on direct, real-time consumer sentiment data. More confidence and less back-and-forth have allowed the team to make 10% of assortment decisions earlier in the product creation process, which saves significant time, money, and resources downstream.
This has reduced the time the design team previously spent creating artwork and samples by 20%. “In the past, if we were considering eight prints, the design team would have to make that print in all possible colorways, and order screens, and samples for all colorways,” shares the Director of Global Activewear Consumer Insights. “With MakerSights, the team can immediately narrow down the selection based on consumer sentiment data, and build out the multiple colorways in top prints only.”
She continues, “It’s like MakerSights gives the consumer a seat at the table during the decision-making process. Allowing us to confidently make decisions and move on to the next milestone, which has allowed us to cut down on a lot of unnecessary frustration across teams and less re-work.”
MakerSights has enabled us to get a lot closer to our consumers and become more consumer-obsessed across our product creation teams. Because of this, we can make the best decisions about which styles to explore and create much faster and easier than before.