Rue21’s Fast-Fashion model improved through learning by doing – WWD


Fast fashion retailer Rue21 said today it has used the University of Liverpool’s ‘learning by doing’ methodology to drive growth while fully embracing First Insight’s predictive analytics technology .

Initially, the company began working with First Insight Inc. to implement consumer-driven predictive analytics for design, purchasing, planning and pricing decisions, according to the company. After three months of effective change, Rue21 applied learning by doing with leaders, merchandising teams, planning and inventory teams, eventually adopting the complete solution.

Action learning, described as an “experience-based and action-oriented” approach to organizational learning, is used to streamline and democratize collaboration between organizations. Mark Chrystal, chief analyst at Rue21 and a graduate of the University of Liverpool’s PhD in Business Administration program, said he had incorporated the ‘learning-by-doing process’ during his studies at the university .

First Insight’s solution enables Rue21 “to assess more products and reflect consumers’ direct contribution to their purchasing decisions,” the company said, through its customer-centric merchandising platform which leverages predictive analytics and machine learning models to find optimal product suggestions and opportunities. Key factors analyzed include real-time preference, price, and sentiment data on potential product offerings, which is collected by online social engagement tools.

Chrystal said, “Too often organizations take a top-down approach when trying to integrate new solutions into the business. Learning by doing empowered the Rue21 merchandising team and gave every individual a voice, regardless of their level. The organizational adoption of First Insight technology and its integration into our business processes has been instrumental in improving our business performance. We have already seen margin improvements of up to 600 basis points on the products we have processed through the First Insight platform. “

The learning-by-doing process creates a “multiplier effect” between individual and organizational learning, according to Clare Rigg, senior lecturer, director of studies and doctor of business administration at the University of Liverpool. “I found that learning stems from taking action and asking insightful questions about pressing issues or compelling opportunities. Rigg added: “Action learning combines action and feedback, asks new questions and learns from and with his peers”, and said: “I commend Rue21 for his successful use of the approach and I am excited about the results they are already seeing.

Greg Petro, Founder and CEO of First Insight, said, “Reluctance and resistance is a big challenge for organizations that introduce a new concept or new technology. Organizations are able to get our solution up and running quickly, but it still requires the full adoption of technology to achieve the best results. Rue21 provides an exemplary case study on how to do this quickly and efficiently.

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