We spoke to Geoff Watts and Julia Fowler, cofounders of retail intelligence platform, EDITED to discover how their service helped retailers respond to fluctuations as well as new and growing trends in the retail sector.
How how does EDITED work?
EDITED is the global leader in Retail Intelligence. We help retailers increase margins, generate more sales and drive better outcomes through AI-driven Automation, Market and Enterprise Intelligence.
By connecting internal enterprise and external market data, brands like Inditex and Boohoo use the EDITED suite of intelligence products to drive insights into action in a more profitable and coordinated way.
What did your professional background look like before EDITED and what inspired the founding of the company?
As a former fashion designer, Julia was frustrated by the industry’s lack of factual data and holes in traditional product development cycles. So EDITED came to fruition through the combination of Julia’s fashion background and Geoff’s experience in big data and automation. Geoff serves as the CEO and Julia as the COO.
How has the company expanded in the last twelve months?
In the past year, the company has achieved two big milestones: securing a $29M fundraise and completing the acquisition of DynamicAction, a complementary retail technology company that tracks and analyses internal enterprise data. The company has nearly doubled revenue in the last twelve months, and the acquisition has accelerated our roadmap and expanded our product line.
Besides these big company accomplishments, we are continuously innovating to help retailers close the loop between insight and action. We launched EDITED Home this past May. In a time when opportunities in the ecomm home space are abundant, our homeware solution gives retailers a 360 view of the market and their competitors with the critical data they need.
How has EDITED helped the retail industry adapt and respond to demand during the pandemic?
Sudden and extended lockdowns meant that retailers had to adapt quickly to address a move to 100% online, supply chain issues, and the fact that head office staff in key functions like buying and merchandising had to work from home. For many of our customers, EDITED was the only source of outside data they had when physical comp shopping and buying trips were not possible. At one point early in the pandemic we were onboarding over 400 users a day.
We’ve been all hands on deck with a company-wide mobilisation to advise and guide everyone in retail, regardless if they’re a customer of ours, during this time of uncertainty.
Our Analyst department worked hard to uncover the product and pricing strategies that would be key to keep commerce moving during COVID-19, tackling subjects such as discounting, category specifics, communications, and more.
We were also quick to build and launch a real-time interactive market tool called The EDITED COVID-19 Retail Dashboard. Powered by EDITED data, we released this as a free resource so retailers can understand the state of each major market to start reacting according to data and strategise their next steps.
As trusted partners to the biggest retailers and brands, we have always been in a unique and privileged position to have insight into operating best practices across the industry. We collaborated with each customer to create survival guides specific to them and have remained on standby for any issues they may be facing.
What trends have you noticed in this period? Are any here to stay?
A no brainer, but loungewear and activewear became the notable winners of the quarantine. But with consumers eager to get back out and enjoy the return to normal life, we’re seeing the rise of dopamine and sexy dressing.
Homeware became another big category that was accelerated by the pandemic, where consumers looked for ways to amp up their home spaces and create more versatile spaces. We saw more retailers compete with traditional homeware brands by expanding their ranges to include homeware products, whether it was soft textile goods or furniture.
With people bored and indoors, digital channels and ecommerce shopping was adopted at an accelerated rate. This is something we’ll see retailers try to innovate in and revert to a digital first approach.
What makes EDITED different from other retail tech platforms?
EDITED is uniquely placed, with over 10 years of historical market data alongside each retailer’s own internal data, all underpinned by automation tooling that interfaces with retail back-end systems. With the world’s largest retail data platform, there’s no other retail tech platform that can compete with the amount of real-time data EDITED has. We also provide our customers with world-class analysis from an in-house team of Retail Analysts, who create regular reports to help retailers stay ahead of the market on emerging trends and retail calendar events.
What makes our company so unique though is that it’s built by data scientists and engineers working alongside former buyers and merchandisers from global brands and retailers, ensuring we are at the perfect intersection of retail and technology.
What does the future of retail tech look like?
Globally, retailers who haven’t had a mature ecommerce approach have spent a year in a desperate catch-up, and those who were ahead of the game are still ahead of the game.
Regardless of where a retailer is based at, its vertical or target demographic, the industry has gone omnichannel and focused on their digital strategies. What’s in stores is also what’s online – because it has to be. Customers won’t tolerate browsing in one place and not being able to buy in the other.
For the past decade, we’ve known the future belongs to e-commerce and the role retail data plays here. Data is the key to determine what categories and trends to move into and shift away from, as well as how to properly price your products regardless of what region you’re selling into. In particular, retail automation will play a big role to trigger faster, more accurate, decisions, which is why the success of a retailer will hinge on how they embrace data to make smarter and more strategic decisions.
What is the next step for EDITED?
We believe it’s essential today to use data in every retail strategy. It’s our mission to help retailers and brands make faster, superior commercial decisions using enterprise and market intelligence, AI and automation. We will continue to focus on product innovation across all retail verticals, accelerate hiring, and help our customers win in a post-pandemic world.
What advice would you give to new and aspiring founders?
Really get to know your industry deeply – understand the pain points and ‘walk’ in your customer’s shoes.
Geoff Watts & Julia Fowler are the cofounders of EDITED