30 Most Innovative Companies 2019
Since the dawn of the smartphone, retail has been in a state of disruption. There are currently more smartphones than people in the world, and this fact has firmly planted consumers in the driver’s seat when it comes to how they buy. It has also powered new retail models, shifted expectations for personalization and fast-fashion and given rise to retail industry behemoths like Amazon who are masters at meeting and shaping consumer expectations for what is possible in a digital world.
The retail industry is driven by companies that embrace innovation and personalization. This has reshaped how retail is now doing business, from modernizing product development, to shortening lead times, to putting personalized consumer information in the hands of in-store sales associates, to even how and where consumers are targeted with personalized marketing initiatives and advertisements. Core to the success and failure of many new and traditional retailers has been the ability to capture data, analyze it in real-time and move at the speed of the click. While consumers are evolving rapidly, continually disrupting the industry, retailers are now smart enough to keep up, provided they are willing to continue to capture, curate, and leverage the power of their own data with consumers in the center. Those that do will continue to win.
As a company, First Insight has been at the forefront of innovation by using online social engagement tools to gather real-time preference, pricing, and sentiment data on future product offerings. While retailers have long been applying analytics to historical sales data, the challenge for new products is that history is often of limited value.
First Insight filters real-time data through AI-driven predictive analytic models to determine which products present the greatest opportunity, empowering retailers, brands, and manufacturers to incorporate the voice of the customer to design products, build optimal assortments, set prices, and make targeted offers guided by specific attribute recommendations from the tool. First Insight is structuring unstructured data on new products for the first time using an approach which combines real-time human input with machine learning. This enables retailers and brands to bring to market the most successful new products to increase sell-through and margins, reducing the need for mark-downs and diminishing the number of items that end up in the off-price market.
First Insight customers have been able to reduce markdowns by 25%, reduce time-to-market by up to half, raise the price on 11% of new products, and increase the number of successful products by 30-100%. Typical results are increases in gross margin of 3-9%.
First Insight’s customers include some of world’s leading vertically integrated brands, sporting goods companies, department stores, and mass merchant retailers ranging from small digitally-native brands to some of the world’s largest retailers including Kohl’s, Marks & Spencer, Chico’s FAS, Lilly Pulitzer, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Camuto Group, vineyard vines, and rue21.
Focused on International Growth
Consumers are increasingly shopping beyond the boundaries of their home countries. Retailers and brands must be ready to meet their expectations and listen to the voice of the consumer – from nearly anywhere in the world. First Insight offers the only Digital Product Testing solution with a true global footprint. The platform is being used to test new products in over 30 countries across an ever-widening set of sectors, from luxury goods and jewelry to seasonal products like patio furniture, across both wholesale and retail, and this continues to grow through the addition of new languages and currencies throughout the world. First Insight recently announced global expansion with new offices in Europe and Asia along with partnerships with companies like Bata India. They also announced the extension of global solution capabilities including the addition of 12 new currencies and 10 new languages to the platform.
Simple and Scalable Solution
While technology and analytics are advanced and state-of-the-art, First Insight has built a tool that is easy to implement and use. Small retailers and brands can start out by testing a single season, while large retailers can test tens of thousands of products.
The platform also works at the speed of retail with definitive results becoming available within 24-72 hours, and the solution can be operational in a matter of weeks. The platform delivers clear, actionable data which is easy to interpret with product rankings, buy depth and pricing recommendations, segmented according to clients’ targeted customer groups.
As regulations protecting consumer data continue to take hold globally, First Insight is the first and only platform of its kind that is in full compliance with the new GDPR standards. The company and platform are also SOC-2 compliant, further ensuring adherence to global standards for data security.
The retail community will continue to evolve to meet the expectations of the modern shopper, whether it’s through smarter AI, more personalized engagement or greater data and privacy protection. First Insight looks forward to expanding their solutions while continuing to grow their geographic footprint to enable more retailers to keep pace with consumer expectations and remain competitive as new brands and retail models emerge.
The Dynamic Leader
Greg Petro, Founder & CEO
Greg Petro is the Founder and CEO of First Insight, a global technology company transforming how leading retailers make product investment, pricing, and marketing decisions. From early on, Greg realized there was a better way for retailers to make decisions and devoted himself to revolutionizing the retail industry. With decades of experience in retail, economics, and growing SaaS businesses, Greg has helped to build First Insight into the world’s leading platform for creating differentiated products.
Greg has extensive knowledge in the retail and technology industry, having held previous roles at i2/JDA, Saks, Inc. and Macy’s. His expertise and dedication to the industry have been touted at events including the NRF Big Show and WWD CEO Summit and in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, CNBC and the Financial Times where he’s discussed how retailers can navigate today’s disruptions. Recently Greg was recognized as one of NRF’s “25 Most Influential People in Retail” and as one of Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneurs of the Year”. He sits on the Board of Advisors for the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), part of the SUNY School system, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School of Business. Greg holds both an undergraduate degree in Economics and an MBA from The University of Pittsburgh.
“First Insight’s Customer-Centric Merchandising Platform is your weapon to even the playing field and transform your business.”