There have been trends of collecting data to determine growth, however, gut plays a better part now.
In order to understand customer demands, likes, etc, insights are analysed. It helps companies, specifically the fashion and beauty based, to introduce new products according to the previous response.
However, many companies expressed that they introduce products mostly based on intuition and not data.
Designer Anita Dongre, during a recent fashion panel, mentioned that judging the right time to launch a product or an idea is a matter of gut. “For the repeats that we do, it’s data but for anything new, it has to be gut.”
“It’s actually so subtle. You can’t be too ahead. There are often ideas that I’ve introduced that haven’t been accepted, they’ve flopped and then two years later, everybody suddenly wants them. That’s the thing (about fashion). You can’t be too early, you can’t be too late. You have to decide when is the right time because you also have to wait for that idea to become a trend and acceptable to all.”
On being asked how much was driven by data and how much by gut, Dongre said, “ I think it’s 80% gut. I still work with (my) gut.”
On contrast, Manish Taneja, the co founder and CEO of purplle.com, an online beauty company, said they launch around 150 products every month based on data collected and predicted.
“Sometimes we fail to quantify the market size that we’re going after or we try to be a little easy on ourselves but more often than not, I think if it goes by data, in our case at least, we can predict very, very accurately the sales that we expect from a shampoo or a cream or a lotion or a night serum.”
Devangi Parekh, director of boutique fashion chain Aza Fashions, likes to strike a balance between both.
“Data is extremely important in understanding each of the cities – what is the demand there, adding products in which categories etc. But when it comes to trends like is ruffles going to be huge, will neon colours be trending, are fanny packs back etc, that’s a timing thing; you have to be ahead of the curve but not too ahead. It’s definitely a gut thing at the end of the day.”
Parekh believes that while listening to the data is good, gut is what pushes companies to the next level. “If it was just data, then you would just stay where you are; you wouldn’t be the next big thing. To get to the next big thing, a little bit of gut is needed.”