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Woolworths South Africa Taps First Insight for Retail Tech Platform

With the aim of optimizing product development, sourcing and merchandising capabilities, Woolworths Group’s South African division inked a deal with First Insight for the company’s Next-Gen Retail Tech Platform. The South African retailer’s goals in using the solution are to bolster margins and drive customer engagement.

In a statement Monday, Woolworths South Africa said it will use First Insight’s platform “to gather zero-party, Voice of Customer data and operationalize product testing for faster and better merchandising decisions in their womenswear division,” adding that the partnership “will empower Woolworths with actionable insights to guide their product investment, pricing, and marketing decisions.”

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Greg Petro, chief executive officer of First Insight, said his company’s “proven data gives retailers and brands the insight and competitive advantage they need to offer their consumers better assortments at the right price.”

First Insight said it uses online social engagement tools “to gather real-time customer preference, pricing, and sentiment data on potential product offerings. The information is filtered through First Insight’s proprietary analytic models to determine which products present the greatest risk and opportunity.”

Roxanne Gillan, general manager of business development and innovation at Woolworths, said the company was “excited about our partnership with First Insight as their research and data will provide us with valuable insights, to better service our customer needs through a more targeted merchandise selection.”

The Woolworths Group has three operating units. Woolworths South Africa is based in South Africa and operates across 10 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, the company said. The retailer also operates the Country Road Group, which is based in Australia and serves New Zealand and South Africa as well. The company also has a joint venture with the ABSA Group and operates Woolworths Financial Services.

The Woolworths Group has about 176 Big W branded department stores, which offer apparel for women, men and children. The store also features home goods, electronics, sporting goods, health and beauty, office supplies, and pet food and care, among other categories. The Woolworths Group operates about 1,087 Woolworths supermarkets and Metro Food branded stores. In New Zealand, the company has 190 supermarkets under the Countdown moniker.

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