Consumer data is one of the fashion industry’s most valuable commodities, supporting decisions from the colour and style of each new collection to the influencers chosen by different brands and their wider digital strategies.
Analysing this data and turning it into useful business information is at the heart of Dr Boshuo Guo’s research. As Lecturer in Digital Fashion Marketing at the University of Leeds, Boshuo specialises in using data to provide insight into consumer behaviour, enabling businesses to make better strategic decisions.
Some of the most significant sources of data come from digital services. Since completing her PhD in management research at Imperial College London Boshuo has worked extensively with clickstream data – everything that comes from a customer’s interactions with a website, from the time spent on each page to their navigation decisions.
“Social media is a powerful tool. Ultimately it is about people talking, but we can use techniques such as hashtag analysis and natural language processing to generate quantitative data on topics like consumer sentiment and the wider interests of target customers,” Boshuo explains.
For businesses that have an existing product line, much of this data will already be available. But for brands that are launching new product lines or moving into completely new categories, it can be difficult to identify the target customer. Boshuo is working on a Future Fashion Factory project using her wider research and analysis skills to identify the target market for a new fashion product.
By analysing the publicly available data collected from a social network to understand who is talking about these kinds of products and the other topics they engage with, the project will gather insights into the interests and priorities of the target market that can help inform product development and future marketing strategies.
More broadly, Boshuo is excited about engaging with different sources of data, from alternative social networks such as Instagram to in-store smart technology and app data. Combining these sources offers a real opportunity to understand the full customer journey both on and offline. New forms of digital retail also offer exciting possibilities.
“Luxury brands have started driving sales through live-streaming events, using influencers and experts to demonstrate products and enabling purchasing in real time,” adds Boshuo. “That is a very rich source of information that brands will need to mine effectively.
“I am keen to collaborate with businesses on marketing and data projects, whether this is applying new analyses to existing data for consumer research or collecting data from public sources to augment and enhance brand strategy.”
If you have an idea for a project using data analytics to gain new consumer insights, email Boshuo at B.Guo1@leeds.ac.uk