What’s going to happen when fashion meets data: Sources, Tools & Benefits

Event

Seminar: Data Collection @ Christine Tsui International Fashion
Date: 03 March 2018
Seminar Host: Cliff-Madrid-Researcher Tsung (Madrid)
Cliff-Madrid-Researcher Tsung is an artificial intelligence scientist and a data science consultant working in Madrid, Kingdom of Spain. Cliff-Madrid-Researcher has worked for several national and European Union’s scientific projects with primary focus of intelligent software systems. He’s currently operating a data science consultancy providing intelligent business solutions to SMEs in Madrid.

Outline

1. Sources of data

  • Data as assets
  • Internal vs. External Data

2. Tooling

  • Investment in tooling
  • Tools vs systems

3. New technologies

Part One: SOURCES OF DATA

Data as assets

Given the definition of “assets” in business:
An asset is a resource with economic value that an individual, corporation or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit.
Data can be considered as intangible assets to business as they can be acquired, and they possess the potentials of generating benefits to the enterprises in the future. When we think of data management in business operations, we can, and we should, manage data the same way as we manage other assets.
Business owners need to understand that collecting data, as acquiring any other assets, comes with a cost. It is always wise to evaluate the potential benefits of the data / the costs of collecting them before taking any decisive actions.
– Cliff-Madrid-Researcher
From my personal experience, most of the enterprises from the non-tech sectors do not have an active data collection policy. Is your company actively collecting data from your business practice? Or is it a passive action?Especially those of you who work in fashion business. By “active” I mean the existence of a clear regulation / policy that is enforced upon the employees.

BettyWang-Helsinki-Student
Most of my previous client companies provide periodic competitor analysis. For data of products or fashion trend, they usually purchase data from third party. And for financial data, it is confidential except those disclosed by public companies in their annual report.
Katherine SH AnalystI would like to answer this one as working in the fashion industry – it is collected since that’s all we’re doing in my dept., which can be regarded as ‘big data’. But for other departments, mostly are relying on historical experience I/O what’s going on currently.
– Cliff-Madrid-Researcher 
There are multiple kinds of data that are valuable to businesses, they come in various sizes, sources, formats etc.Data is a kind of intangible assets to enterprises, and like all assets, acquiring them will carry some costs. It might be an explicit cost, as @Natalie~Xiamen~Analyst shared with us, or an implicit cost, such as time and pressure on IT infrastructure.

Internal vs. External Sources

The sources of data can be categorized by various attributes, for new data science infrastructure development projects, especially those which are being developed for SMEs, one such attribute is “internal” vs. “external” data, i.e. the data generated and collected from within one’s own business vs. the data collected from external entities.
We agreed upon the importance of the internal data over the external data for SMEs. The internal data are collected within the range of control of the business, i) it is usually cheaper to collect comparing to external data which business owners may have to purchase from the third party; ii) business can usually react quicker on decisions made based on internal data than external data, iii) the quality and the reliability are usually higher for internal data. Therefore, for new projects, to quickly show its value, internal data carries a greater value during the decision-making process whereby data science truly shines.
One should not underestimate the value of external data despite the aforementioned explanations. Some task can only rely on external data such as the pricing policy and the supply chain optimization.
– Katherine SH AnalystWe’ve tried third party as well but it doesn’t work out well, then managing level decided to get rid of it. It works out for financial or other aspects but just doesn’t work for fashion.
Natalie~Xiamen~Analyst 
It might be industry difference? We care a lot for competitor’s dataand it is really important for us in terms of settlement price etc. 3rd party info is not reliable so we often choose at least 3 companies and compare
Cliff-Madrid-Researcher 
Ok, from my own experience, those non-data intensive industries (excluding finance, tech, healthcare sector etc.) would witness a quick and better benefits from analyzing internal operational data.
Shanshan- Tokyo- investment
I’m not in the field but I think internal data should be more informative if the firms have the capacity to build a data team. 3rd party data is processed which might embed some bias caused by the data vendors
Alena~Shanghai~AGL 
So in other words get as much as you can from internal first and continue with external if needed

Part Two: TOOLING

INVESTMENT IN TOOLING

In order to achieve higher effectiveness and efficiency, one would consider invest in cutting edge hardware and software. A commonly overlooked reality is the fact that the primary factor for the successful deployment of data science project is the “people”. Adequate investment in tooling depending on the organizational nature and the capability of the employees should be made.
We agreed upon the benefits on investing in the training programs for employees to improve their skills with current tools, e.g. spreadsheets, SQL database etc. Several examples of advanced add-ons for Microsoft Excel were presented.
Cliff-Madrid-Researcher
As we said, we want cheap (low collecting costs) and good (high future benefits) data. In order to achieve that, we need better tools and supporting company policies. I’d like to hear from your experience. What software do you use for collecting data?
Christine~Shanghai~Group founder
Like POS, ERPMany software now. OMS. WMS. Many companies purchased expensive IT systems but only a very small part of the software is used.
Cliff-Madrid-Researcher
Many business owners put too much effort on purchasing state-of-art hardware and software, but overlooked the basic cost — people and their time. The biggest reason we want to buy some fancy systems with name of 3 capital letters is to lower down HR cost. It might be sufficient to use Microsoft Excel (or other spreadsheet software like LibreOffice) if it fits your need. Keep in mind that every action comes with a cost, is it worth it? That highly depends on the individual business. Small family-based tailors are probably better with paper and pen rather than SQL databases

TOOLS versus SYSTEMS

The requirements for ancillary technologies such as data science is vastly different in SMEs than their bigger counterparts. While large enterprises rely on the established and rigid protocols to ensure the consistency of their business operation, small companies opted for more agile approaches.
It is more practical for small business to consider using individual desktop or mobile software (apps) and maximize their utilities. Replacing currently functioning business protocol with an enterprise resources planning system carries a risk.
Cliff-Madrid-Researcher
For big enterprises with complicated business processes, “standardization” is really important to avoid chaos (to maintain consistency). So, software like ERP are essential for coordinating the business, clients, employees, materials etc.
Katherine SH Analyst
Remember back when I was doing intern in a fashion company ERP is just something to make the boss happy to see and most employees found it nothing but time wasting
Katherine SH Analyst for big enterprises changing system could be a headache, as employer it does hurt at the beginning
Cliff-Madrid-Researcher
@Heather-Wuhan-AGL standardization is practical in such enterprises. They need to play by the book. Stability above all, even if it comes with some side effects. But for small businesses, like most of my clients, we don’t “play by the book”, small business owners are more like “artists” than “engineers”. So when we think of tools, we need things on your belt that you can use it anytime you want, you can put it down or even throw it away anytime you want. And this is useful not only for small businesses but also big enterprises. If we consider departments of a big enterprise as individual small businesses, then we can adopt such agile approaches. A practical suggestion is to encourage your employees to learn better use of the existing tools, such as spreadsheets (Excel for example, learn VBA, learn simplex solver, learn socialbakersetc). There exist numerous interesting add-ins that you can use in Excel, for example the NodeXL is an Excel add-in that perform social network analysis.
28870961_417030092084336_1995724693742551040_nFigure 1 NodeXL Interface

Part Three: NEW TECHNOLOGIES

New technologies for data collection are booming. The rapid advancement of the artificial intelligence brings us some new opportunities to obtain the data that were once expensive or inaccessible. It is a forbiddingly long list of technologies that can be employed by fashion industry in various way, to SMEs in this sector, the computer vision and the natural language processing are two interesting topics that worth a glance.
Cliff-Madrid-Researcher 
With the advancement of A.I. there are many more things can be done by the computer 24*7.For example, the picture I just sent was a demo from face detection system, which can also estimate the gender and age of the person. Deploying such systems in the store, one can easily get a glance at the basic demographic info of the clients.

28685713_417030712084274_3156973323892555776_n

Figure 1OpenCV Gender And Age Prediction
https://github.com/torch/torch.github.io/blob/master/blog/_posts/2016-06-01-deep-fun-with-opencv.md
Cliff-Madrid-Researcher

This is another example of A.I. computer vision system can isolate human figures and parse clothing parts from a street photo. Then we can quick analysis what color, style, piece…do people prefer. This is an example from 2012

28870596_417031545417524_4775569742670856192_n

Figure 2 Cloth parsing with computer vision
Kota Yamaguchi, M HadiKiapour, Luis E Ortiz, Tamara L Berg, “Parsing Clothing in Fashion Photographs”, CVPR 2012.

Conclusion

Several important aspects of the data collection tasks were discussed in this seminar. The fundamental proposal was to manage the data as a type of intangible assets to the enterprise. Based on this proposal, a range of topics such as the investment in data collection, selections of tools and the new relevant technologies were introduced in the seminar. This seminar was divided in three parts. The first part of the discussion consists of the methodology for evaluating the sources of data, the participants agreed upon the importance of the nature of data as intangible assets and the value of internal vs. external data for small and medium enterprises; we further investigated the costs and benefits of employing certain tools in data collection, the participants agreed upon the value of enhancing the utility of existing tools; the final part of the discussion focused on introducing several new technologies which were relevant to the data collection.

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麻花摊老板  13:16
First question
麻花摊老板  13:18
From my personal experience, most enterprises from non-tech sectors do not have an active data collection policy. Is your company actively collecting data from your business practice? or is it a passive action
麻花摊老板  13:18
Especially those of you who work in fashion business
Christine Tsui  13:20
U r right. Most dont
麻花摊老板  13:20
By “active” I mean the existence of a CLEAR regulation / policy that is enforced upon employees.
??Betty  13:23
Most of my previous client companies provide periordic competitor analysis. For data of products or fashion trend, they usually purchase data from third party. And for financial data, it is confidential except those disclosed by public companies in their annual report.
Qian  13:23
Would like to answer this one as working in the fashion industry – it is collected since thats all we’re doing in my dept., which can be regarded as ‘big data’
Vincent ?  13:24
there are companies out there collecting data like stylesage and edited
麻花摊老板  13:25
@Katherine SH Analyst How would you define “big data”?
Qian  13:25
But for other departments, mostly are relying on historical experience i/o what’s going on currently
Vincent ?  13:25
edited and stylesage collect all online sales data
Qian  13:25
by tagging our customers 😉
Vincent ?  13:26
about likes of asos Nordstrom and so on
麻花摊老板  13:27
Big data has a specific definition in modern tech practice, it means a set of techniques for store and processing data that is impossible to be processed with traditional means. It usually involves distributed computing (MapReduce algorithm)
麻花摊老板  13:28
great, that’s another observation. as @BettyWang-Helsinki-Student stated, competitor analysis is performed. I have seen many people are obsessed with “Competitor’s data”, it puzzled me actually.
麻花摊老板  13:29
Why would your clients have such interests in external data rather than internal business data?
Qian  13:30
We’ve tried third party as well but it doesn’t work out well
Qian  13:30
then managing level decided to get rid of it
麻花摊老板  13:31
@Katherine SH Analyst sorry, im a bit lost, what didnt work well?
Qian  13:31
3rd party data
Qian  13:33
it works out for financial or other aspects but just doesn’t works for fashion
Heather  13:33
@Cliff-Madrid-Researcher internal  biz data are more valuable for a company right?
???Natalie Lan  13:33
It might be industry difference?We care a lot for competitor’s data
???Natalie Lan  13:34
And it is really important for us in terms of settlement price etc
麻花摊老板  13:35
I believe many of us who worked professionally on data related jobs would agree that secondary data (collected by 3rd party) are not reliable / practical in many scenarios
Yohanna  13:36
Just say,as a student who the major is financial engineering,statistics is hard to learn,it needs good understand of mathmetics
麻花摊老板  13:37
@Natalie~Xiamen~Analyst you are right, we will get to that later
麻花摊老板  13:37
As @Heather-Wuhan-AGL questioned, if “big data” is more valuable to enterprises
麻花摊老板  13:38
What do you think ?
???Natalie Lan  13:38
3rd party info is not reliable so we often choose at least 3 companies and compare
Christine Tsui  13:39
@Cliff-Madrid-Researcher think of what?big data for enterprise?
麻花摊老板  13:39
@Christine~Shanghai~Group founder of the question made by Heather
Christine Tsui  13:39
i think most companies dont really know what is big data.
Christine Tsui  13:40
they have data. is data big data?
Yohanna  13:40
so big comoanies can coperate with e-commerce companies to get big data
Christine Tsui  13:41
like Alibaba Tecent?they r not just e commece
麻花摊老板  13:41
Let’s limit our discussion to fashion business
麻花摊老板  13:42
I have asked a bunch of questions, the point I was trying to make is:
Jeffrey Liu @??  13:44
Just the right time to jump in
麻花摊老板  13:44
There are multiple kind of data that are valuable to business, they come in various sizes, sources.
麻花摊老板  13:45
麻花摊老板  13:46
It might be an explicit cost, as @Natalie~Xiamen~Analyst shared with us
???Natalie Lan  13:47
Exactly
Shanshan Wei.533  13:47
Agree with the intangible asset, great point
麻花摊老板  13:47
ó an implicito coste, such as time and pressure on IT infrastructure
麻花摊老板  13:47
or an implicit cost* …. sorry for the spanish
麻花摊老板  13:48
Ok, so, what is “asset”?
麻花摊老板  13:49
A rough definition is – “An asset is a resource with economic value that an individual, corporation or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit.”
麻花摊老板  13:50
One key point here is that such resources should have potentials of bringing benefits in the future
麻花摊老板  13:51
An intangible asset is an asset that is not physical in nature.
Christine Tsui  13:52
right. Data is intangible assets?
麻花摊老板  13:53
@Christine~Shanghai~Group founder  if you are referring to the definition in accounting laws, I can’t guarantee.
麻花摊老板  13:54
such as “Corporate Reputation”, it is a valuable asset but not defined in the law
麻花摊老板  13:55
So
麻花摊老板  13:56
##  Data are assets, and it should be treated that way.
## Collecting data costs, data should generate future benefit
麻花摊老板  13:58
Therefore, our goal is to maximize the utility of our data: lower the costs, elevate the benefits
???Natalie Lan  13:59
one question how u judge the data is “beneficial to future “?
麻花摊老板  13:59
yes, good question
麻花摊老板  13:59
@Natalie~Xiamen~Analyst what is the fundamental goal of business
麻花摊老板  13:59
?
???Natalie Lan  13:59
People “thought” it is not valuable but it turns out to be crucial
???Natalie Lan  14:00
Earn money?[??][??][??]
Alena  14:00
I guess so [??]
麻花摊老板  14:00
Yes, very good. or let’s put it in a fancier way “Profit Maximization”
Alena  14:00
That’s the main goal at the end of the day anyway
麻花摊老板  14:01
So how do you calculate profit?
Alena  14:02
Revenue minus cost
麻花摊老板  14:02
revenue – cost
麻花摊老板  14:03
yes
麻花摊老板  14:03
so
麻花摊老板  14:03
When we say “data is beneficial to future” we simply mean it helps us to lower down the cost or increase revenue
Jeffrey Liu @??  14:04
But most of the companies are Short sighted ??
麻花摊老板  14:05
Keep this in mind, every single action you take in business is either to lower down the cost or to increase revenue.
麻花摊老板  14:07
@Jeffrey-GZ-Private Label I always have faith in business owners, I think they are knowledgable about their own businesses.
??-Alistair  14:07
It’s down to cash
??-Alistair  14:08
So i would say increase cashinflow, or decrease cashoutflow
麻花摊老板  14:09
@Heather-Wuhan-AGL That is a bit out of topic, try watch the lecture I gave last week
麻花摊老板  14:10
Ok, from my own experience, non data intensive industries (excluding finance, tech, healthcare sector etc) would witness a quick and better benefits from analyzing internal operational data
Qian  14:11
so true
麻花摊老板  14:12
So what do you think? from your own exprience. Is it better to emphazie on the internal, or external data first?
Shanshan Wei.533  14:12
Lack of skilled staffs is a bottleneck? – at least it’s what I observed in Japan
Qian  14:12
by mentioning internal operating data – is it incl display way as selling report or focusing on new ways?
???  14:14
I work  for full dress  , it is a small  market  ,     only  one company  I know  they  collect ” best sell ”  ” worse  sell “, and years possible  sell data , a HK  company  i worked  before
Alena  14:14
I would say internal cause external require additional cost that would lower the final profit
麻花摊老板  14:15
@Katherine SH Analyst That is processing the data, let’s focus on collecting them. For example, the demographic attributes of your clients
Alena  14:16
So in other words get as mich as you can from internal first and continue with external if needed
Shanshan Wei.533  14:16
I’m not in the field but I think internal data should be more informative if the firms have the capacity to build a data team. 3rd party data is processed which might embed some bias caused by the data vendors
麻花摊老板  14:17
Personally I support such strategy as mentioned by Alena.
麻花摊老板  14:18
Primary internal data (the data you collect from your business) comes first.
麻花摊老板  14:18
But why?
???  14:18
internal   maybe , deal with  own  matter first
麻花摊老板  14:19
Why internal data comes first?
Christine Tsui  14:21
direct related w ur biz
麻花摊老板  14:22
When we think of a question, it is wise to deduce to the most fundamental and then make sense.
Christine Tsui  14:22
direct representation of ur biz
麻花摊老板  14:22
Yes, Dr. Tsui.
Christine Tsui  14:22
agreed
麻花摊老板  14:23
Data analysis helps in decision making process
麻花摊老板  14:23
Once we made a decision, we definitly want to implement it later.
Christine Tsui  14:23
precisely
麻花摊老板  14:24
To successfully implement a decision, one needs to have some degree of control of the environment
麻花摊老板  14:24
Internal data comes from your “range of control”
Christine Tsui  14:25
yes. Though most do have such control at all
Alena  14:25
Aaah, I see
麻花摊老板  14:26
External data are, too, very valuable.
麻花摊老板  14:27
But the capability of desicion making might not match the data
麻花摊老板  14:30
To conclude the first part of this discussion: 1. Data are assets, and we should manage them as assets.
麻花摊老板  14:30
  1. Evaluate your decision making process, balance the costs and benefits of data collection
麻花摊老板  14:32
ok, it’s been 1hr and half, we can talk about data collection and storage from technical perspective as scheduled, or we can do some casual Q&A, what you think?
麻花摊老板  14:36
As we said, we want cheap (low collecting costs) and good (high future benefit) data.
麻花摊老板  14:38
In order to achieve that, we need better tools and supporting company policies
麻花摊老板  14:39
I’d like to here from your experience. What do you use to collect data?
麻花摊老板  14:39
Software, hardware
Christine Tsui  14:39
like POS
Christine Tsui  14:40
in retailing. most still us POS
麻花摊老板  14:40
yes, pos for sales.
麻花摊老板  14:40
HR?
麻花摊老板  14:40
supply chain?
Christine Tsui  14:41
ERP?
Christine Tsui  14:42
many software now.OMS.WMS.
Alena  14:42
ERP?
麻花摊老板  14:42
Human
麻花摊老板  14:42
People
麻花摊老板  14:42
your employees
麻花摊老板  14:44
I’m not sure about China, but human resource is a big burden in many places
Christine Tsui  14:44
yes
Christine Tsui  14:44
same in China
Christine Tsui  14:45
when u say big burden. means in terms of what?cost?or efficiency?
Alena  14:45
In terms of supporting company’s policy?
麻花摊老板  14:45
And many business owners put too much efforts on purchasing state-of-art hardware and softwares, but overlooked th basic cost, people and their time
麻花摊老板  14:46
@Alena~Shanghai~AGL come to that later
Alena  14:46
Ok
麻花摊老板  14:47
The biggest reason we want to buy some fancy systems with name that contains 3 capital letters is to lower down HR cost
麻花摊老板  14:47
We should keep that in mind, if your HR cost is low, Excel might be sufficient.
Christine Tsui  14:47
@Cliff-Madrid-Researcher exactly. it is same in China
Christine Tsui  14:48
agreed.
Christine Tsui  14:48
many companies purchased expensive IT systems but only a very small part of the software is used.
麻花摊老板  14:49
And this is related the question made by @Shanshan- Tokyo- investment
麻花摊老板  14:50
(She asked if “incapable employees” is a bottleneck for company’s adoption to new technologies)
麻花摊老板  14:51
You need tools and policies that is adopt to your own business’ capabilities. Don’t deploy fancy software if no one knows how to use them and you have no plan to hire some one new
麻花摊老板  14:51
are adopted*
Alena  14:51
Well, makes sense
Alena  14:52
Yep, but what if there is a constant failing human factor? Should you rather invest in better HR practice in that case?
麻花摊老板  14:53
From a survey conducted in China, less than 30% of the enterprises interviewed state the ERP systems that are currently deployed as “useful”
Qian  14:53
haha fancy system with 3 capital letter names
麻花摊老板  14:54
@Alena~Shanghai~AGL Good question. And very hard to answer. Keep in mind that every action comes with a cost, is it worth it? That highly depends on the individual business.
麻花摊老板  14:55
Small family-based tailors are probably better with paper and pen rather than SQL databases
Qian  14:56
remember back when I was doing intern in a fashion company ERP is just sth to make the boss happy to see and most employees found it nothing but time wasting
Alena  14:56
Get your point
麻花摊老板  14:57
@Katherine SH Analyst Yes. My family owns some factories in China, I was persoanlly involved in the development of deployment of the ERP and SPC (statistica process control) systems
麻花摊老板  14:57
The only reason such systems were deployed was to pass the ISO qualification inspection
Alena  14:57
Wow
麻花摊老板  14:58
But there is a catch
Alena  14:58
Personally, I had no idea it might be so inefficient or not useful even
麻花摊老板  15:00
For big enterprises with complicated business processes, “standardization” is really important to avoid chaos
???Natalie Lan  15:00
And it is expensive @Alena~Shanghai~AGL
麻花摊老板  15:00
So, softwares like ERP are essential for coordinate the business, clients, employees, materials etc etc
麻花摊老板  15:01
coordinating*
Heather  15:02
and those tools benefit the“standardization”?even they are not that practical….
Qian  15:03
for big enterprises changing system could be a headache
Qian  15:04
as employer it does hurt at the beginning
麻花摊老板  15:04
@Heather-Wuhan-AGL standardization is practical in such enterprises. They need to play by the book. Stability above all.
麻花摊老板  15:04
Even if it comes with some side effects
麻花摊老板  15:05
But for small businesses, like most of my clients, we don’t “play by the book”,
Christine Tsui  15:05
@Cliff-Madrid-Researcher that is true. hahaha
麻花摊老板  15:06
Small business owners are more like “artists” than “engineers”
麻花摊老板  15:08
@Heather-Wuhan-AGL Think of KFC, it might not be the best fried chicken in the world but standardization made it fast and consistent. The side effect is KFC cant satisfy your demand of putting carrot in the burger.
Christine Tsui  15:08
@Cliff-Madrid-Researcher exactly.
麻花摊老板  15:10
So when we think of tools, we need things on your belt that you can use it anytime you want and you can put it down or even throw it away anytime you want.
麻花摊老板  15:12
And this is useful not only for small businesses but also big enterprises
麻花摊老板  15:13
If we consider departs of a big enterprise as individual small businesses, then we can adopt such “agile” approaches
麻花摊老板  15:14
Therefore
麻花摊老板  15:15
A practical suggestion is to encourage your employees to learn better use of the existing tools, such as spreadsheets (Excel for example, learn VBA, learn simplex solver, learn socialbakers etc).
麻花摊老板  15:16
[??: 9c1c2821e600f82b07392ea864ba3872.jpg(麻花摊老板??)]
麻花摊老板  15:17
for example, with NodeXL, you can do social media analysis (to find your KOI) within Excel
麻花摊老板  15:18
This amazing plugin is free and open source (means you can even change the code)
麻花摊老板  15:18
there is a wide range of such free plugins, some might be very beneficial to your business with little costs
麻花摊老板  15:19
@Heather-Wuhan-AGL Supporting policies 🙂
麻花摊老板  15:21
Supporting policies shall be made once a company find data science might be beneficial. This usually includes training, extra bonous etc. I won’t go too far on this since it highly depends.
麻花摊老板  15:25
To conclude the second part:
  1. In addition to big and rigid IT infrastructure, one may consider simpler and agile tools for data collection and analysis jobs.
  2. Such tools shall adopt to the employees’ capabilities
  3. Tools are not mutually exclusive, one may use different tools at different levels (personal – team – department – enterprise )
麻花摊老板  15:27
I guess you are tired by now already. I’ll breifly say something about the 3rd part now.
Since people and their time are such valuable assets (a.k.a. expensive…) we shall consider automate some of the data collection process.
麻花摊老板  15:27
[??: d579b1b42677251b274a6b08799f2b3b.jpg(麻花摊老板??)]
麻花摊老板  15:28
With the advancement of A.I. there are many more things can be done by the computer 24*7.
麻花摊老板  15:29
For example, the picture I just sent was a demo from face detection system, which can also estimate the gender and age of the person
麻花摊老板  15:29
Depoying such systems in the store, one can easily get a glace at the basic demographic info of the clients
麻花摊老板  15:31
Another example is speech recognition
麻花摊老板  15:31
One may deploy some small microphones on the shelves of the store and such technology can detect keywords when people talk.
Christine Tsui  15:32
and RFID?
麻花摊老板  15:32
You may obtain some useful information by how frequently your clients mention a particular word
麻花摊老板  15:32
RFID is another less new technology, Zara is well known for using it @Christine~Shanghai~Group founder
Christine Tsui  15:32
though i suspect whether such recognition  is leagal?
麻花摊老板  15:33
Think RFID as “invisible barcodes”
Christine Tsui  15:33
yes RFID is not new
麻花摊老板  15:33
@Christine~Shanghai~Group founder @Vanessa  GZ  couture Very very good question, suprised me, most of my chinese friends rarely question if something is “legal” XD
Christine Tsui  15:33
my point is. the adoption of these new tech. whethet they will cause legal issye?
麻花摊老板  15:34
Such technologies are mostly illegal in Europe
Alena  15:34
I actually wanted to ask the same question
Alena  15:35
Seems a bit too invading to one’s privacy
麻花摊老板  15:35
There are some legal loophole that one can exploit, for example instead of recoding clients’ conversation, the system only counts the occurance of a set of keywords
Christine Tsui  15:35
that is smart
麻花摊老板  15:35
Then it’s legal in most countries. But again, I’m not a lawyer, I can’t give any legal advise
Alena  15:35
Well yes, but still ??
麻花摊老板  15:36
The computer vision system is legal, it is an add-on to surveillance cameras.
麻花摊老板  15:37
In Spain, we must put a notice on the entrance stating that “This facility is monitoerd by surveillance systems”
麻花摊老板  15:38
I’m not sure about China, U.S. etc, for legal advises you really need a lawyer
Christine Tsui  15:40
same in China
???Natalie Lan  15:41
If I were the consumer, I would like to be notified if the shop adopt this technology otherwise I will regard it as a privacy leakage and be offensive.
Alena  15:41
Good ppint
???  15:41
Even the system only counts the occurance of a set of keywords, but If people  knows still  would  be  uncomfortable ,  and it still  privacy concerns
Alena  15:41
Are you talking about the eye tracker, right?
麻花摊老板  15:42
yes, it is a big issue
麻花摊老板  15:42
[??: a324e81e5a6054d9ab4d8f1c4cee0d84.jpg(麻花摊老板??)]
麻花摊老板  15:43
let’s use a less agressive example
麻花摊老板  15:43
A.I. computer vision system can isolate human figures from a street photo
麻花摊老板  15:43
then we can quick analysis what color ppl prefer
麻花摊老板  15:43
or even what cutting etc
麻花摊老板  15:45
do a quick analysis of *
麻花摊老板  15:53
this is an example from 2012
Data is a type of intangible assets to enterprises, and like all assets, acquiring them will casts some costs

Q&A| Is it true that a Chanel cloth worth 35000 yuan will be thrown away after being worn only once?

By Christine Tsui

Translated by Rachel Wang

 

A question from Zhihu:

Is it true that a Chanel cloth worth 35000 yuan will be thrown away after being worn only once? (According to the following microblog)

The original micro-blog:

Poverty has limited my imagination… The rich do not consider how to wash the clothes at all:

34354

When I worked in a dry-cleaning shop, a guest took a Chanel coat worth over 600,000 yen (about 35,000 RMB). But it was faded after washing, so the guest complained us. We called the after-sales service center of Chanel, only to get an answer that “we have never taken washing into the consideration of designs.” … which means that the customers would throw it away after wearing the coat a few times… I could do nothing but be stricken dumb with the rich world…

In my opinion, even if the condition in the microblog is true, it at least should not be a common issue.

As a practitioner working in the garment industry for so many years, I know that none of the clothing brands dare to claim 100% reliable quality, for the quality inspection rate of clothing products could never reach 100%, but only in a certain proportion. So, sometimes the quality problems are possible.

As far as I concern, even if all the luxury brands in the world have quality problems, Chanel must be the last one of them.

  1. Old brand as Chanel is, reputation and quality are more important than anything else. Although, in general, the high-end product quality has regressed in many ways (such as the loss of some craft techniques for haute-couture). Chanel, in terms of either quality or service, however, is still the best of luxury brands.
  2. Most people probably know little about the staff training in luxury companies. Almost every company has staff training, but that of the luxury brands is much superior, especially in the training of front-line salespeople and VIP customer service staff. In most stores of common brands, if customers have any question to ask the clerks about price, dress material, washing methods or inventory, I dare to guarantee that nine times out of ten the clerks would know nothing unless to read over the tags or check in the system, let along their knowledge of clothes matching, fashion stories or brand history. But the service in luxury stores could be totally different. Of course, nothing could be absolutely, for I have also experienced poor service in luxury stores. , the salespeople of luxury stores have a better understanding of the products and services than the other sales staff. After all, the trainings are different. For the simplest example, if a customer enters the store, what distance to be kept is appropriate? It would be rude to be too close, for the customer feels overlooked to be followed closely. But too far, the customer would feel that the attention to himself/herself is not enough.
  3. Besides, it is unique for Chanel that it has not been listed yet. So objectively, it bears less performance pressure than LVMH or Kering. As a result, its marketing strategies are understated but luxurious, rather than extravagant and thunderous like other brands. The reason why I mention this factor here is that the quality usually gets worse when a brand is particularly eager to expand and gain in a short time. The too rapid development consumes the energy and time to ensure the product quality. Without this problem, Chanel’s strategy has always been steady, in some cases, too conservative in my point of view, which has made it miss some market opportunities (such as the opportunity to switch to a younger market). But maybe that is exactly why it can endure in a long time. So, I believe that the quality problem mentioned in the microblog could not a common issue for Chanel.
  4. Does the situation exist? Would the rich throw the cloth only worn once? The answer is yes, but mainly for the super riches in the Middle East (the biggest consumers of luxury goods in the world). Because their wealth is mostly easy money. So sometimes they have dropped the clothes to the laundry, they don’t even have a desire to get the garments back. Therefore, they really don’t care about the quality.

 

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Views| Is the Victoria’s Secret show an erotic show? How to treat the comment by Hung Huang?

By Christine Tsui

Translated by Rachel

 

Recently Hung Huang said on her micro blog that “The Victoria’s Secret Show is just an erotic show, relying on objectifying women and fulfilling the show with stars to seemingly increase its value.”. What does this statement really reflect? I want to say something about my view.

Actually, I don’t agree with Hung’s comments at all. (Any justified disapproval is welcomed; but all the other views without arguments are nonsense!)

The comparison of the Victoria’s Secret Show to an erotic show entirely reveals the viewer’s own mentality. The metaphor is similar to the ideology in 1980s, that any naked women or sculptures are supposed to be porn. The elegant arts sometimes have little discrepancy with vulgar businesses in somebody’s view!

According to Hung’s logic, almost all the fashion shows would be eroticism, for most of the time the models expose their thighs and shoulders. So, what’s the point for those editors, journalists, buyers, stars, going over to the show only for the flesh? Why are there so many designers diligent in producing new styles all the year?

So, please don’t humiliate the fashion industry! Don’t reckon the fashion industry practitioners as shallow crowds. Under the veil of fashion, there are indeed extravagant guys, hypocrisy ones and womanizers. But they are minority in the fashion world. The majority, just like any other industries, would work hard to devote themselves to the job they love and earn the money they deserve!

Although the products of VS are in quite low quality, and the organization of the showcase this year is said to be a mess, but the production and professionalism of the show itself should not be in doubt. The professional level of the models (except for someone) is also the world-class. But Hung’s comment completely diminishes the professional devotions of the directors, models, musicians, dressers, stage designers and even audience. What backs the fantasy show is the decades of consistent efforts of these people!

The fashion industry is easily to be misunderstood. Outsiders always hold two extreme views of the industry. Some people admire at fashion for working with stars, wearing fancy clothes and participating in the noble parties or something like that, when the other disdain it, for they think fashion is only extravagance.

In fact, the industry is neither that enviable nor that shallow.

The fashion world is essentially a female world. In this industry, eighty to ninety percent are women. Meanwhile, female consumers are the major forces of fashion consumption market. In fashion history, the woman once indeed was the role of “the object consumed by men”, in other words, dressing up only to please the man, in a certain period. But how many women nowadays can not survive if they do not want to please the man?

Q&A| Why the consumerism of fashion is easier to influence females than males?

By Christine Tsui

Translated by Rachel Wang

 

(The question from Zhihu.com)

Why the consumerism is easier to influence females than males?

For example, if advertorials boast the effects of some skin care products or list the must-buy bags of XX brands, many a girl would immediately set up for shopping at any cost, some even involved in nude photos as loan guarantees. But boys are hardly to be persuaded to purchase.

 

Actually, the question is not accurate enough. The questioner puts up with “Why the consumerism is easier to influence females than males?”, but his or her description only involves clothes and cosmetics stuff, in another word, living goods of fashion. So, the examples could not be comprehensive. Is buying a car not consumption? Is it still dominated by the female?

Therefore, it’s not appropriate to label consumerism as women’s priority, for it is only the discrepant consumption habits. The male chases quality when the female chases styles; the male resents shopping the living goods when the female is crazy about it in instinct; the male targets clearly the necessities when the female always pay for impulse…

As to the reason, I suppose only the consumption psychologists hold the right answer.

So, if the questioner is confused with female consumption behavior, I would recommend adjusting the question itself, to be more precisely, “Why the consumerism of fashion is easier to influence females than males?”

Above all, compared with men, women more intend to dress themselves up. Other than the instinct elements, women also need to be beautiful to live in this world for long historical periods, which could not be separated from the evolution of female’s social positions.

Not until the World War II could the independence of the female realize. For thousands of years, women could not survive without men. In order to outperform the other women, one must show off herself with appearance advantages, when the education opportunities are not always open to the female, which means a woman is hardly able to attract men with knowledge. By the way, men may not admire clever women at all. In the appearance competition, girls dress up and make up as much as they can, so the consumption is reasonable.

From this view, apart from the instinctive pursuit of beauty, the male’s hunting for pretty girls stimulates women’s passion for fashion. Girls pay for fashion and boys pay for the girls.

However, an answer like this is not comprehensive enough.

For example, more and more independent females live on themselves instead of males, so it is increasingly not necessary for these girls to cater for men’s tastes. But many of them still have much passion for fashion goods. So, what does fashion mean for them?

Many people, especially men, would like to label the women who are passionate for fashion as shallow ones. This sort of judgement obviously is out of the ones who do not understand the true fashion. In fact, fashion affects people’s behaviors and inner world greatly, instead of only function as decoration.

For instance, a woman in the high heel shoes would feel differently when in the sneakers, elegant the former but energetic the latter. I know it may be confusing for males, so gentlemen could image the feeling in a suit. Is it the same to the feeling in sports wears? Would even your way of walking change?

From that, fashion functions not only decorations but also communication—a channel to one’s own heart and to others’ inner world as well. Just like the first impression on a person is mainly rely on his or her appearance.

Obviously, females are better at express themselves through appearance than males.

Yet, in the recent years, more and more men would like to pay attention to the appearance and dressing, for they have become aware of fashion as communication functions that more than languages do, and the emergence of fashion consumption of men may also make a difference.

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Views|Where would the Double Eleven Festival go?

By Christine Tsui

Translated by Rachel Wang

 

Do you know the Double Eleven? Nov. 11th, the day before yesterday, is the largest shopping festival for Chinese. The information of it floods in my WeChat and it is reported that almost all the brands have broken their sales records. So, this time I would like talk about my own view on the Double Eleven Festival from the perspective of industry and consumption.

From the perspective of industry, several elements of Double Eleven have quite a reference value. First, I think Jack Ma, in the group of post-70s entrepreneurs, not only holds the best understanding of the post-90s and the Internet, but also is outstanding in the communication with customers. Originally the Double Eleven was only a point of shopping, but now it has become a grand carnival.

In addition, the festival promotes all the industries to some extent, which is held by one of my friend, Zhu Gangqiang, the founder of the Jacob Special Column. In his view, the explosive of the sales volume in one day or one week may cover the volume of the rest of a year, which would force all the industries to promote the efficiency of the whole supply and logistics chains. For instance, over 160 billion RMB goods needs to be delivered in 1-2 weeks. This volume would cover the annual GDF of some provinces. As a result, the supply, logistics and even online systems bear high requirements to deal with so many orders. Meanwhile, for many companies, the departments, from online system to customer service, would work overnight, so the severs also need to be fast enough to avoiding halting and delay of the orders.

As a result, hardware and software systems and even manpower faces a huge challenge, breaking the limits of a company repeatedly. From this view, the Double Eleven Festival rises the efficiency of the who industry, which is a positive effect.

However, I think this shopping mechanism has many negative effects at the same time. For myself, I only placed one order on the Double Eleven last year, and it was not a rush, but to book in advance. That’s all.

One of the side effects of this carnival is that some company would make their deals for whole year rushed into a single day. The insiders of online stores would know that the explosive sales would be followed by a high refund rate, 40% as far as I know of Double Eleven. Alibaba only exposes their sales data without the following issues.

Refund is a complicated business, immersed in the checks of each sections, costs of extra affairs and works of classifying. It can be imagined that the refunded goods may be only used once and sent back in wrong packages. For the sellers, this process is a kind of waste. The cost may never be calculated, or to say, exposed before. It would be a kind of harm for the companies.

Besides, the concentrated marketing is the same to a man full of leisure suddenly bounces up to fight overnight, which is far from common sense. Historically speaking, all the explosive stuff would not last for a long time, and the ones slow and steady would have a lasting vitality. In my opinion, the Double Eleven is not healthy as well, for it has no use in the long-term development of a company. Many companies only recruit staff for this particular day, and sometimes even a qualified courier is hard to find.

In conclusion, a large invisible cost hides behind the big day for shopping. It includes the cost of refund, marketing and temporary recruitment. , I think the extremely explosive sales mechanism is undesirable. Although there were offline activities before, 72-hour-sale from Dec. 30th to Jan. 2nd, the volume could not be as extreme as the Double Eleven, equivalent to a month’s sale.

In a word, I do not hold an optimistic attitude towards the future of Double Eleven. Comparing the explosions and long-lasting sales, I would support the later mode. But in this period, to be long-lasting is not as hot as to be fast. In the age of Internet, people would like to attach more attention to the myopic benefits. Above all, the money in hand is the best proof of success.

Views│How will the post-80s and 90s generation defend from the intelligent robots?

By Christine Tsui

Translated by Rachel Wang

 

I would like to share a case before the discussion of today’s topic.

It is the recruitment of my assistant, which is the hottest position recently, only open to my online community, with over 40 applications. The ratio is quite considerable. However, only four of the forty application letters barely satisfy me, when the other letters may cannot be regarded as letters. The writers seem know nothing about forms of letters, only leaving a line of “Please refer to my CV” without even a title or a signature. So, I decide to put the four better ones on probation, in two groups. They receive the same tasks at one time and the same salary as well.

The first group is dropped in a short time.

For one thing, they have little sense of time. It is acceptable that they would be occasionally too busy to deal with the part-time job, if they inform the colleagues in advance. However, they would say nothing until I find out their absence. Then, they would say “Sorry, I was too busy yesterday.”

For another thing, they are too careless. About ten out of nine youngsters I know have this defect. The most obvious issue is the misspelling. For instance, I find two mistakes in a nine-word title, and one of them types the “identity plate” as the “identity plead”. They seem to have no habits of double-checks, only to regret after the errors marked. What’s more, they seldom distinguish the three terms of “de” (a type of Chinese transitional words). As a result, the mistakes in their writing become a common issue.

Besides, the punctuation always goes wrong.

I previously reckon that the issues above are unique to the Chinese youngsters, but recently I change my mind. I have some dealings these days with a Britain law firm, which in the common sense should be a rigorous agency. But in the account settling, they wrongly take the number of 200 as 26000. Simple mistake as it is, four of them involved do not notice it at all.

In addition, they always take things for granted. Facing difficulties, many post 90s are not used to communicate, but would assume the matters in their own way—I think you would not need it any more, or I think it will be OK. Behind these I-thinks, they just skip the communication or confirmation.

All the defects above cannot acceptable, so the two candidates are dropped.

The third one is enthusiastic indeed, yet still quite careless. But for her, the problem that matters most is honesty instead of carelessness. After three days’ delay, I ask her whether she is able to undertake her responsibility. At last, she tells the truth, that she has found another full-time job, and she may be too busy to take this position.

I suppose that she may have found her job when she applies for the assistant position. She knows that her time is limited, but also is reluctant to give up this opportunity. Only at the last moment does she confess her dilemma to me, which is not an honesty behavior. So, I do not accept her apology, for the honesty is not reflected from the words, but the works.

The last candidate is still on her probation. Fortunately, she is better than the other three. I tell her the conditions of other candidates and I really expect her to take this position.

In my opinion, the carelessness is common among the post 80s, 90s and even the younger ones, especially the post 85s to 95s. I once owed it to the one-child policy and Chinese education, but recently I realize it comes from the internet. The post 90s have access to the overwhelming data and information on the internet from birth, so they are used to look through the flood of message without any signs left in their mind, so they would also not distinguish right from wrong. All the knowledges they approach to on the Internet are too convenient, making people think less and abandoning some good traditions.

Actually, the youngsters nowadays are very enthusiastic to their works, which is such an advantage. However, they are careless and lack sense of time, or to say, sense of promise—to finish the task in a certain time.

As a post 70s, I have been taught to double check the works since I was young. Yet the youngsters now are not familiar with that. They would send the results immediately after completion, caring nothing about the qualities at all. I am not blaming all the young people, but it’s indeed a common issue for the most youngsters, when only a small proportion of them would do their job truly carefully and earnestly.

I believe that, in the future, the unemployment would be quite severe, for the robots would be increasingly intelligent with little chance of careless mistakes. So, the careless people would be easily replaced, which will even be a social issue. In other words, if one can outperform robots neither in creativity nor in the carefulness and social responsibility, he or she will be the first group of people to be replaced. As to the question in the title, I believe everyone would understand my view. By the way, if you hold any other opinions, you are always welcomed to share your thoughts with me!

Views│What’s the uniqueness of the post-90s designers?

By Christine Tsui

Translated by Rachel

 

Recently I have interviewed some post-90s designers in the Shanghai Fashion Week, so I would like to write this essay about my feelings of them.

In my book China Fashion, I only interviewed a group of post-60 to 80 designers. But I have been observing the emerging designers of the post-90 generations for a long time. The eldest post-90s should be at their 27, newly maturing. To interview them in the Shanghai Fashion Week, I did some observation and research in depth.

Compared with the designs of the previous generations, the 20s-year-old designers share some obvious uniqueness. The most distinct point is their overseas background. Many of them graduated from Central Saint Martins College and Parsons School of Design, with apparent signs of their alma maters, especially the ones from Saint Martins. They feature the spirits of revolt and subversion, which is evident no matter what path they follow respectively.

Meanwhile, the era they were brought up in is an Internet one, a westernized one, and an abundant one, which makes them different from their predecessors.

Above all, they are bolder, or as mentioned above, feature the spirits of revolt and subversion, which can be seen from the themes of their designs. They would pay more attention to the social events, such as the equality of labor and the gender issue, as their designs, models and advertisements tends to obscure the genders. The clothes they design could suit both the male and female, which indeed partially from the trends. The model they choose are also with vague gender features, girls without obvious breasts and boys in slim shapes, and even the makeup on the models’ faces could not distinct the gender. All of them could be a kind of discussion on their gender values.

The politics and social issues are the realms that the elder designers would not engage in for the sake of many concerns. So, I would like to say, the youngsters are brave.

In addition, they care little about judgements.

The designers of the post-90s have a kind of self-admiration, and they usually would not be bothered with whether others like their works or not, as long as there is a group of fan, no matter a great pack or a small group, support them. This attitude may be shaped by the customers at the same age.

Specifically, the customers at their 30s to 50s would like to suppose the judgements from others when they are in something new, when the 20s do not take it much seriously at all. The youngsters now only focus on their own style, nothing to do with others. As a result, the combination of brave designers and the brave customers inspires a diverse fashion world for the young.

In this Shanghai Fashion Week, I was an audience of several designer brands, all for young ladies. But the styles are utterly diverse. Some are cute and adorable, and some are neutral, like SHUSHU/TONG, with exquisite sweet style. I also take an interview for MUKZIN, a brand I admire a lot, whose style can be a melting pot for all kinds of cultures, deconstructing many cultural elements. Just like the theme they launched out, “Mountains-Seas Book and the Jurassic Park”, combining the ancient orient legend with the western film. They break the edge of cultures and rebuild them as a mixture, which surprised me a lot. That a brand for ladies could goes like MUKZIN is such a unique style other than the typical lady garment.

In a word, courage and variety should be the best inclusion of the designs of the post-90s designers. They involve all kinds of theme in their designs and chase to be exclusive themselves. They are unique, but how far on earth they could go in the future, I think, may also rely on opportunities.

Q&A│Is it true that the major customers of luxuries have been the people aged between 25-35? Why?

By Christine Tsui

Translated by Rachel Wang

 

A view posted on the Zhihu.com goes that “according to Pinault, Kering’s major customer group has been the people aged under 35.” For Gucci, 50% of sales volume is thanks to the millennial generation, when in Saint Laurent, 65%, which means our key customers are only at their 25-35. This customer group pays more attention to the ready-to-wear than the last generation. However, what increases the youngster ratio in luxury consumption? Does it mean that the youngsters are growingly affluent?

It is only a trend, as I see, instead of a fait accompli.

In fact, the view of the questioner lacks the support of rigorous statistics. Objectively speaking, the average income and success in career of the 20s to 30s is not as much as the 40s to 50s. But it is trendy that more and more youngsters turn to be the luxuries customers, which can be proved by the following two points.

1.  In general, the luxury brands are under great sales pressure. Even the brands like Chanel have suffered from the slowdown of growth. In contrast, the brands mentioned as examples above are exactly the ones having made a hit on the sales performance. Their common measures in the recent years are to cater for the demands of this era, in another word, the tastes of the 20s and 30s, changing the design styles, with the elements of street fashion, sports, animated and mixed cultures, and diverging from the previously treasured styles of grace and elegancy. Meanwhile, the designs lunched against the young tastes all brings sales challenges to their brands.

2.  In addition, the luxury brands’ choices of spokesmen and the guests to their activities leans more towards to the young stars, like Angelababy, Zanilia Zhao, Kris Wu, Karry Wang, which was impossible in previous, for the luxury brands were only fond of the world-class top stars. Reviewing the choices of spokesmen before, we can find out that it is conventional for luxury brands to engage the mature males and females.

So, what makes the change?

1.  The youngsters’ great consumption ability is out of doubt.

2.  In my observation, though the luxury goods brought by the young and old are all the same, the consumer psychologies are utterly different. For the older generation, to buy luxury goods is more likely to be conspicuous consumption, while for the young, they concentrate more on the product itself (especially the designs) instead of only the logos. It may explain the success only favors the brands converting themselves to younger ones, when the stubbornly grace and elegant brands are risking the gloomy sales.

3.  What’s more, the sense of fashion is where the youngers surpass their parents. For example, the looks Gucci lunched are usually not suitable for most common people, but the 20s and 30s are skilled in mix and match with items from both luxurious Gucci and inexpensive ZARA. In the traditional times, most luxury consumers would like to pile the pricy logos on them tastelessly and showily.

4.  Meanwhile, the customers aged 40s and 50s may convert to the haute couture, which makes the traditional luxury brands lose a proportion of customers. As a result, the customer group aged 20s to 30s occupied more in the sales volumes.

 

Q&A│How to do clothing sales? Is there any masterstroke to sell quickly?

By Christine Tsui

Translated by Rachel Wang

 

A question goes on the Zhihu.com:

“I am at my 20s. I run a clothing shop for both adults and kids. But the location is much out of way and the business suffers a lot, which I have known a little before I open this store.

It is only 120 meters between my store and the most crowded street of our town. But what’s the point is that few people know my store, so, even on low prices, customers are rare. For instance, the cloth, sold by others for 185RMB, is only for 130RMB in my shop. What’s the worse, my store is the only one in the street, where there is a kindergarten passed by so many parents, and a branch of the State Grid collecting fees of electricity for the whole town every month. However, they are nothing to do with my business!

What’s wrong on earth with my business? How can I deal with it?”

 

The questioner does not mention the profitability, which I suppose would be unsatisfactory enough. Besides, I do not know how long the shop has been opened, so I can only put up the following suggestions:

1.  The flow of customers is the life of the offline stores. The essence of your dilemma is the lack of customers, so the major task for you is to increase the flow.

2. There are two ways to attract more customers. The first is to depend on the natural customer flow, which is exactly the shortage of your store, so the only way is the other one, to deliberately drawing the crowds, in other words, to promote both online and offline. The specific approaches are the followings:

  • The first offline promotion approach is the traditional ones (it may work in our town), for instance, leaflet distribution, billboard hoardings in the places with heavy traffic, and the obvious signs etc.
  • The second offline promotion approach is the joint promotion along with other stores that share the same target customers but with no competing relationships between your stores. For example, you should know which restaurants or amusement places the person buying clothes in your stores would like to go. And you should organize joint promotions with them. They would introduce their customers to you, and in turn you would also introduce yours to them. In addition, you can set the push money in advance.
  • The online marketing can run through social media, like WeChat Microblogs, or establish the online communities, which can maintain all the customers within a community. You can reward the regular customers who recommend your stores to the new ones with a certain percentage of push money to attract more people to your store.

3. Without the flow of customers, it would be in vain whatever sales skill you would like to use, so the customer flow should have the privilege to be solved.

4. The less customers are, the higher the unit price should be set in your store. In the contrary, you sold in lower price than other stores did, which could only lead to a dismal sales performance. It should be a simple formula that Sales Volume = Sales Numbers* Unit Price. So, your sales performance would go down when you not only set the low unit prices, but also suffer from the stagnant customers flows. You cannot compete with the fast fashion brands with prices, for they hold a large sales volume. For you, you should raise the unit volume when you are not able to boost the number of units overnight, which means to ensure the quality and design equal to the high unit prices. Meanwhile, you can also manage to improve the per customer transaction. In other words, you can encourage each customer to buy more than one piece.

5. When it comes to the products, they should be qualified with the demands of your customers. The essence of retail is to sell the suitable items to the right people in the right sites. You should learn about the demands of your customers and try to supply exactly what they want.

6. In a word, the core of your business is not to find certain master strokes, but to improve the customer flow, and then the quality of your goods.

7. By the way, if you have run the store for over one year and have tried all the methods above but still cannot gain any payoff, my only suggestion would be giving up the business. You should conclude from the experience and try to find another location to restart your business. If the real estate of the previous shop is owned by yourself, you can lend it out. As we all know, starting your own business is the kind of process of repeated trial and failure, and at last you may find the right direction.

Views│What is the Future of Luxury Brands?

By Christine Tsui

Translated by Rachel Wang

 

In this essay, I would discuss the future of luxury brands, for the first-half-year financial reports of most luxury brands, including both the top ones, like Chanel, and the entry luxury brands, like Michael Kors, indicate the downturn of the whole industries, though the brands, having changed the development patterns, of Gucci and LV still performed well. Nowadays, with the unsatisfactory performance, where should the luxury brands go?

In my view, what makes the luxury brands luxurious lies in the following factors:

1. The scarcity of materials.

In the selection of materials, luxuries would use rarer materials than common ones: crocodile skin as different brands use, the luxury brands would only choose the Himalayan crocodiles; fibers as they use, the top brands would only accept a certain type from unique animals from Latin America. So, the scarcity is a key feature for luxuries.

However, along with the technology developments, the scarcity advantage has been diminished now.

2. Unique communications with the public.

To maintain a kind of mystery, luxury would like to stand high above the customers, which has been a common style for these brands. Nevertheless, that is exactly what the generation of 90s hold repulsion on.

Meanwhile, the designs of the brands, to reserve the classic elements of brands’ traditions, fail to cater for the young customers in the market.

It has been noticed that the terms of “grace and elegance”, worshiped by Gucci before, are fading out. On the contrary, the fresh designer’s affiliation to Gucci introduces the new sports elements, with animated colors and street-fashion styles, into the traditional brand. Though there still are signs of grace and elegant elements in the looks, the trend has been reversed.

In addition, the silhouettes of clothing are changes obviously. In the Tom Ford period, Gucci was featured with fit clippings to outline the curve of women. But now it turns to the oversize style, utterly different from the designs before.

Not only Gucci draws close to a younger customer group, but LV also cooperates with Supreme, a French street-fashion brand, aiming to attracting more attention from young people.

The current young people have no interest in high-fashion or aloof designs, which leads the designs and marketing methods of LV and Gucci rejuvenate a lot. The brands refusing this trend, Chanel for example, receive gloomy results, only to prove their insistence a mistake.

In conclusion, how can the luxury brands find the way out? In my points of view, the luxury brands should be more amiable to customers, which is not only a direction to pursue, but also a challenge to overcome. Only in this way, the luxury brands can re-gain a firm foothold in the increasingly young market.