Guest post: We have walked in your shoes

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Ahead of the Retail World Philippines conference next week we are delighted to feature this guest post from one of our partners, Slicer. Check out their stand at the exhibition, and in the meantime, enjoy this post!

You know, hardly any of us in the fashion merchandising world are 100% left-brained. It doesn’t go with the territory, and anyhow there are hardware stores and accountancies those guys surely prefer. We like to work with pictures and concepts so we can see in a second what works, what goes with what, and what’s needed.  But then there’s the job of checking sales, stock movements and competition to make sure your hunch is right. And you know the biggest drag in our business is trying to match up the concepts and pictures with the stock tags and sales so you can make the calls on evidence as well as intuition. That’s a place where lots of mistakes happen: we get some things wrong and anyway it all takes too long. Meanwhile, trying to explain our ideas to the financial and operations types normally covers a bunch of table napkins and leaves them scratching their heads, and saying they have to call up the data. The choices get delayed.

This is nuts – why do hypotheses based on speedy, intuitive reasoning have to wait for grinding, numbers-based logic before we make a decision? Good news: – they don’t, at least not since we launched Kanvas. We built Kanvas as a software platform combining pictures with data to allow us all to play at the same time, bringing left and right brains together to provide concept and evidence in one place to make better choices. Kanvas speeds things up, preserves creativity, gets rid of dumb errors, and speeds up communication and teamwork. Also, it’s a good deal with simple terms and our current customers love it. What’s not to like?

So what does Kanvas do that makes life easier? Simple, really. It allows you to work with pictures of line items (yours or other people’s), tag them, sort them, build them into pictures and posters and pass them around, while also attaching any kind of quantitative or verbal data to the pictures, whether just identity stock numbers and collection details, or serious numbers:  sales, margins, inventory movements and warehouse stocks. Wouldn’t that, like, make your life easier? “Hey Bill, take a look at our summer collection with all the brown shirts taken out. See how much crisper? And you know what? They aren’t selling well anyway.” “Savita, if we only had a couple of dark strapless stilettos like these ones from Louboutin, but cheaper, we could really cover the evening wear market as well. Let’s build them in with these estimated sales from the research, and you see how it improves our run rate. Let’s mash this up into a presentation and take it along to Alan. It’ll only take ten minutes”.

Pretty attractive compared with a bunch of back-and-forth emails, attachments, spreadsheets, cut-and-paste…life’s just too short. Kanvas is quick and easy to learn. Just dump your pictures and spreadsheets in and get going – it’s intuitive. Your data is locked away completely privately in the cloud, and it’s web-based, so you can access it from anywhere. You’ll be amazed at the speed and flexibility it brings to your life – we’ve identified and built up dozens of use cases without even scratching the surface. For instance:

  • Creating lines and collections and order-booking/buying: disconnects between data and images leads to over/under ordering and product errors. Combine the two in one screen and errors are obvious.
  • Design and/or buying decisions: you make errors when you can’t access and integrate information from multiple sources so you lack vital information.
  • Mood book, line book creation: manual processes lead to mistakes and rework, reduce productivity and increase cycle time. If you can do it all in one space, then output on your own templates, or make up a new one on the fly, it’s faster and better.`
  • Tactical marketing decisions: fast choices such as discounting, special offers and in-store placement based on visual analysis using performance data to come up with and test ideas at the speed of thought.

Basically, without a common platform that includes images and information, you need a lot of back-and-forward communication and custom manual work. Things slip through the cracks, people fail to understand each other, time presses so you do what it takes and in the end poor collaboration and lack of timely feedback mean bad decisions, poor output quality and increased cycle time. Learning suffers – trying to reconstruct and figure out why we did what we did is impossible! Who needs that? And the lost revenues, higher costs, morale effects that go with it. One customer reckons these problems cost them 10% in revenues and 10% in costs!

We’ve walked in your shoes (maybe not the strapless Louboutins) and been just as frustrated as you are with the lack of tools designed specifically for merchandising type people – that’s why we teamed up to develop Kanvas. Just say no to a catalogue in one hand and a spreadsheet in the other and step up to a platform that can not only increase the bottom line, but your quality f life as well.

We hope you like it as much as the leading US and Asian companies that have signed up in our first couple of months of sales, and we look forward to talking to you in person soon. In the meantime, we hope the ideas and screenshots get you excited.

Reposted with kind permission from Slicer 


Interested to know more? Slicer will be giving live presentations at our on-floor seminars and exhibition at Retail World Philippines.  Click HERE to find out more on their speaking engagement and the respective speakers lined up for the 6th and 7th September at the SMX Convention Centre. See you there! 

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