A Practical Guide on How to Invest in Trend Forecasting

Many businesses are exploring trend forecasting and foresight for the first time as a strategic move to future-proof themselves against the backdrop of complex trading conditions. 

While well-established companies invest in trend forecasting and foresight and have seamlessly integrated trends into their processes over decades, newcomers may find it challenging to allocate a budget for this crucial practice.

Explore our practical guide designed to help you access investment in future trends to craft a preferable future for your company.

1. Create a business case

Getting a budget allocated means proving to the business there is a need. Include identification of any trends you’ve missed and how this has impacted you in terms of a) revenue b) reputational damage and c) relevance with your customers. Create a process map to demonstrate where your strategic process starts and ends – what gaps can you identify? Is there a 5 year plan or annual strategy alive in the business and have you articulated your future consumers needs?

2. Decide what kind of trend resource will best fit your needs

How often do you need new trend direction – is it a seasonal, annual, or biannual? Will your trend resource be used for product direction with design teams, messaging with marketing and advertising or strategic direction for C-Suite? Or all of the above?

3. Identify how you will monitor momentum

Will it be important to track the progress of trends and get updates on how quickly they are moving or identify any accelerating/decelerating factors?
Trend Tracking monitors how trends develop from a seed of an idea to translation across all market levels.

4. Establish key measures and KPIs

In a year’s time, what impacts would you like to see in your business? Here are a few examples of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) our clients typically measure against:

• Team members collaborate more seamlessly
• Fewer products go into the end-of-season sales
• There is a high RoS (Rate of Sale)
• Ability to predict the demand for a key trend
• More equipped to update core ranges with newness.

5. Redefine efficiency and ROI

What existing processes will this replace and why is it an improved option? How will you measure your return on investment? Typically, clients who don’t use an external service do their own in-house trend research but don’t have a dedicated workforce for it so it gets deprioritised in a busy business. Measure the financial cost of what you are currently spending with your time allocation. For example, is this travel and expenditure at a trade show, time spent crafting reports, or trend intelligence gathering in every country you operate in? It’s also wise to have other non-financial metrics such as improvements in team collaboration, how confident and infoormed your team feel, and quicker, more accurate decision making.

Is it time to invest?

As businesses navigate the swiftly evolving landscape, the need to invest in trend forecasting as a strategic tool becomes increasingly necessary. For those pressed for time, our Trend Audit service can expedite the process, helping you build a compelling business case to budget for the future. Get in touch if you’d like more information on how we can help build your case.

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