M&S boosts data strategy with predictive analysis deal

M&SJust a week after revealing it is setting up an in-house data science academy, Marks & Spencer is further strengthening its data strategy with plans to expand its partnership with predictive analytics specialist First Insight.
The retailer has been working with First Insight since 2016 to make design, buying, and pricing decisions on several of its key categories, including apparel, lingerie, footwear, accessories, food, home and beauty.
M&S says the software has enabled the business to test tens of thousands of products in order to buy more of what customers like, with the platform helping shape collections and pricing strategy.
First Insight uses online social engagement tools to gather real-time preference, pricing and sentiment data on potential product offerings. This information is then filtered through a predictive analytic system to determine which products present the greatest opportunity.
Now the scheme will be rolled out to other areas of the business.
M&S director of supply chain and logistics Gordon Mowat said: “Everything M&S does as a company is filtered through the lens of what we know about our customers, and every decision starts with them.
“First Insight’s technology gives us invaluable feedback on new products during design and development, so we can buy more of what our customer likes and eliminate products that score less well.”
Since the turn of the year, when M&S chief executive Steve Rowe admitted his business was behind in terms of its use of data and its overall digital proposition, the retailer has announced a strategic artificial intelligence partnership with Microsoft, the data science academy in partnership with Decoded, and a start-up incubator programme alongside Founders Factory.

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