What we do

Solving retailer's business problems with sustainable solutions. At Thought Provoking Consulting we specialise in helping organisations within the retail industry reach their goals by combining our broad experience with a collaborative working approach. We believe this helps us to obtain the best solutions for each individual client. We offer 4 services, broadly categorised as:

Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked 'Why'.

- Bernard Baruch
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3D-PLM +

See how you can model, validate, and deliver compelling experiences.

There are an enormous set of challenges facing the fashion industry. The new tech-savvy consumer, highly competitive markets both at home and abroad, and the emergence of new business models are forcing brands and retailers to innovate and proactively align their business objectives with their consumers. Consumer shopping behaviours and expectations of the brands are driving new priorities and opportunities.

These new priorities are instantiated through digital marketing and customer engagement, localisation strategies and more flexible store formats for global expansion, and millennial-first strategies focused on speed and newness and increasing choice. This all leads to more labels, more ranges, and more variations. Amidst this escalating complexity, retail basics for differentiation, clear value propositions, compelling experiences, and competitive positioning remain.

The impact of emerging technologies on the product lifecycle processes have greatly enhanced and transformed how product can now be brought to market. The leaders are transitioning to more innovative methods from concept to consumer through the use of 3D, visualisation, and digital solutions. Strategic and tangible benefits can be made by applying these new concepts. Many of the improvements made by digital tools centre around improving communication, thus improving the quality of the garment while reducing time to market. The flexibility and timeliness of digital assets often results in better decision-making and storytelling resulting in less line volatility and better sell-through.

Major benefits include:

➤ Improve first prototype fit approval rate by up to 80%

➤ Reduce prototype turnaround time from weeks with physical prototypes to days with digital prototypes

➤ Dramatically reduce or eliminate sample costs through the use of digital samples

➤ Reduce late adds and change by up to 50% through digital visualisation of designs, prints, and patterns

➤ Speed assortment creation by up to 25% while allowing for the creation of more consumer-relevant assortments with 3D and virtual merchandising tools

➤ By allowing for better decision-making while being able to create more consumer-relevant assortments, 3D visual assortment planning has the potential to increase sell-through by 1%-5%

Differentiate your Brand online and provide a superior consumer experience while enhancing your focus on digital commerce to incorporate digital product creation and virtual planning. Future trends for personalisation, customisations, and simulation will require connected processes and digital assets from consumer insight to market trends to supply chain pressures.

The transformative approach is to assess the wider opportunities to re-use and leverage digital assets across the larger enterprise. You can streamline operations and deliver innovative capabilities into the business for real change.

 

Thought Provoking Consulting have developed a proposition to introduce, educate, and support Brands and Retailers as they progress their strategic initiatives for consumer centricity. We help companies assess the opportunity, define the vision, quantify the value, and blueprint the path to success. TPC have decades long experience with the specialist 3D/Digital tools for apparel and retail. We provide fit for purpose insights and advisory to address the impact of change across people, processes, and technology.

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Planning +

➤ Do you still plan by product and store or is the customer at the centre of your planning philosophy?

➤ Are you planning your on-line business as a separate entity rather than part of the business as a whole?

➤ Are you planning at channel/product level too early in the process?

➤ Are your planning processes as nimble and flexible as they need to be, to allow you to trade effectively?

➤ Are you held to ransom by your system or does it support the way you need to work to meet the customer’s needs?

➤ Does your product planning link with marketing & digital planning?

Merchandise Planning is a core competence that all retailers need to a degree. As they say a goal without a plan is just a wish and so retailers need to plan their financial commitments, stock investments and assortments in order to be successful. In the past planning has centred around the product and time dimensions. In the new Omni-channel world however traditional approaches are no longer sufficient. Retailers need to recognise that things move faster than ever before and that the world of two or three seasons is long gone. In addition, the new world order demands a much greater focus on the customer.

In the old world stores and clusters of stores were a key focal point. A store however is really just a geographical cluster of customers. In the Omni-channel world we know much more about the customer – their age, gender, buying habits and how they buy. We can use this information to cluster customers in more intelligent ways. By centring planning on the customer you also align the business with marketing which focuses on customer acquisition and loyalty. There are huge benefits from this approach.

Many retailers see a system as the lynchpin of a new planning project. At Thought Provoking Consulting we have decades of experience implementing all of the various planning systems on the market. We recognise that the system is only a part of the solution however. The greater part lies in the business processes adopted and the approach a retailer takes to planning its merchandise offer and bringing it to market.

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Pricing +

Price is the single biggest lever a retailer has to impact its performance.

➤ How advanced is your company at deploying price to maximum advantage?

➤ How do you decide the ‘right’ promotions and discounts?

➤ Do you run the same promotion this year as last?

➤ Do you make pricing decisions considering customer image, volumes as well as margins?

➤ Why do you present product prices on the website as you do? Do you understand how your customer’s use price/product information in their decision making?

➤ Are you best in class in how you make your pricing and promotion decision?

The answers to these questions give some indication as to whether your organisation is making best use of price as a lever of performance.

“A Price is way more than just a number! To win customers’ hearts, minds and wallets involves not just great rational analytics and thinking but a firm understanding and use of psychology in every price and promotions decision. Deploying this explicit understanding is extremely rewarding, while being both liberating and commercially advantageous to clients.”

     — Dr. Iain Watson, Principal Consultant TPC

Thought Provoking Consulting can provide a full range of services in support of better pricing, providing both guidance on high level pricing strategy and down to everyday product pricing decisions. Our recommendations are based on the psychology of pricing, analytics and our experience implementing regular price, promotions, and markdown strategies.

We use a science based approach to identify opportunities while leveraging a collection of customisable smart Excel tools to embed our recommendations within the business. We also provide insight-driven best practices for price presentation that quickly returns benefit. Our areas of expertise include:

Regular Price implementing new price architectures, establishing customer’s Latitude Of Acceptance (LOA) toward price changes, identifying and pricing Known Value Items (KVIs), supporting daily/weekly price trading, shifting from cost plus to value based pricing, and creating competitive price reporting and game-theory practices.

Promotional Price establishing a promotional strategy, linking tangible objectives: increase margin, reduce excess stock, acquire new customers, gain market share, etc. to promotional approaches, optimising headline messages and promotional mechanics, and planning individual promotions with our Promotions Model- an Excel based smart tool that allows merchants to optimise line level promotional prices, quickly, easily, and objectively.

Markdown Price mitigating markdown risk through in-season promotion, identifying the best approach to achieving terminal stock objectives as profitably as possible, and sourcing the best markdown solutions.

TPC has extensive experience in all of these areas. We help retailers and brands achieve their goals by functioning as part of the team. We adhere to a ‘do it with’ rather than ‘do it to’ approach.

Our client’s goals can be tactical objectives based on sales or profit targets or longer term strategic initiatives, for example to improve pricing competences. We have been able to help our customers in both cases achieve the returns and progress they are looking for.

Significant progress can often be achieved without investment in expensive software. We have successfully deployed advanced models and tooling in easily adopted environments, such as Excel. Our thorough approach to training clients on these leave-behind models and tools ensure the improvements we make are sustainable.

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Programmes of Change +

Transformation programmes are major strategic undertakings which offer the potential for huge strategic benefits, but also carry significant risk. At Thought Provoking Consulting we have substantial experience and unquestioned transformation programme expertise coupled with a unique, holistic yet pragmatic approach to achieving the intended outcomes.

We believe that achieving success from transformation programmes requires an agile approach which is focused on driving benefits, reducing risk and managing cost throughout the programme lifecycle.  All of this needs to be done in a way which is sympathetic to the unique characteristics of each client’s Retail business model – we do not believe in ‘commodity’ approaches which often add substantial cost for little reward or benefit.

Our experience base spans all Retail business models and scales of operation from large multinational department stores through to domestic mid tier category specialists.  We have a proven track record of helping retailers around the globe transform their operations.

Our philosophy is a customer centric one. This means we put the customer at the heart of the target operating model process to help our clients better understand how they will be impacted and how their behaviour will be affected by change. This approach allows us to maintain a clear perspective on what is and is not impactful and important.

Delivering transformation typically requires a teaming approach which brings together multiple third parties including systems integrators and other specialists who need to collaborate successfully with you and with each other to achieve success.  We understand this and pride ourselves on our ability to bring you independent, impartial trusted advice to ensure your best interests are always at the heart of any programme delivery model.

Our core offerings include:

➤ Exec Leadership advisory support

➤ Discovery and Solution Shaping

➤ Benefits modelling and management

➤ Programme delivery management

➤ Sourcing, selection and commercial negotiation

➤ Independent Programme Assurance

➤ Programme turnarounds

Our Delivery Approach: