The new software tool helps retailers ensure theyre stocking the right childrens clothing

The new software tool helps retailers ensure they're stocking the right children's clothing

UK real-time retail analytics firm Edited has developed a new software tool that allows buying and merchandising teams to more accurately track childrenswear products and prices in real time to understand how their rivals are navigating the market and gain a competitive edge.

The  childrenswear market is expanding fast, thanks to rising demand for miniature versions of contemporary adult styles like activewear, pinafore dresses and bomber jackets. Or, as the trend is called, 'Mini Me' fashion. 

"Children's fashion is becoming more like adult fashion," says Shamiran Michael, kidswear e-commerce merchandiser at River Island. "We're seeing success on styles similar to women's and menswear. These days parents want their children to look more mature and cool. That's conveyed through Mini Me best sellers."

However, there is confusion when it comes to labelling and sizing for the category, Edited says, with it being "an inherently tricky market to apply science to."

The new tool was developed out of a need to "unknot" the many different naming conventions in girls' and boys' sizes, as well as footwear with linear and non-linear sizing scales. Instead of simply recording size data, the company says it was imperative to build something that could interpret and understand the data.

"There is no standardised way of referring to kids' sizing, that means every brand or retailer basically has its own way of labelling childrenswear," the company explains. "So when you're trying to get a computer to recognise all these different labels as the same thing and group them together, it takes more than a little ingenuity."

The new software tool was therefore developed to help retailers "seize the market's momentum" and ensure they're stocking the right children's clothing, allowing buying and merchandising teams to filter the kids' market by age, size and gender. 

"We built a complex normalisation algorithm that takes a size from any retailer, market or brand and classifies it according to our own sizing standard, a predefined range of sizes based on extensive research into children's apparel across millions of SKUs," the company explains.

"That sizing standard includes months (0-24), years (2-18), non-numeric sizes (S, M, L, XL) and even footwear (UK, US, etc). The algorithm then applies syntax and semantic analysis to every product we capture and correlates its size with our standard.

"By doing that we've created a simple and usable filter that gives Edited users the power to pivot on a wide range of data from 13 different regions across thousands of retailers and brands. It's a world first, and we are immensely proud of our super smart data scientists – not just building it – but doing so without an existing blueprint or template."

According to Euromonitor, the UK childrenswear clothing market was valued at GBP5.8bn (US$7.5bn) in 2015, with the market growing by 2% for the 20 largest childrenswear retailers in the UK over the last three months to 15 July.