Predictive analytics help Rue21 drive speed to market with right items

Rue21 is creating assortments based on customer buying behavior.

The teen apparel retailer’s new predictive analytics solution from First Insight is helping the company make design and buying decisions across its apparel, footwear and accessories categories based on customer sentiment. The technology will also enable the company to invest in merchandise that will differentiate their assortments.

The solution’s online social engagement tools gather real-time preference, pricing and sentiment data on potential product offerings. The information is filtered through First Insight’s predictive analytic models that determine which products present the greatest opportunity. As a result, Rue21 can evaluate a greater number of products, and reflect direct consumer input in their buying decisions, according to the company.

“First Insight is enabling us to test a wide range of possible new products within 24 to 48 hours,” said Karen Pinney, chief merchandising officer. “This capability enables us to drive speed to market with the right items, which is critical for a fast fashion retailer. When compared to in-store testing, First Insight is faster, more accurate and less costly because we avoid buying unproductive store test inventory.”

The solution also ensures the company can differentiate its assortments with merchandise that its customers want to purchase. “We are already seeing results through eliminating under-performing products early in the selection process, while re-investing our inventory dollars into higher performers,” said Michael Appel, CEO of Rue21.

Rue21 currently operates 752 stores in 45 states.