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ThoughtWorks Retail today announces its official 2016 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive panel, “Future of Cool: Predicting What’s Next in Fashion,” which will reveal how to predict what’s next in fashion. ThoughtWorks Retail Consultant Rachel Brooks will moderate a vibrant panel with Google’s Fashion Data Scientist Olivier Zimmer; Shoptelligence’s Founder Laura Khoury; and Zappos Product Manager Kandis Yoakum on how retailers can use data to deduce impactful trends, empower design teams and influence buyers, designers, marketers and distribution professionals. This can’t miss panel was selected from 4,000 entries by a combination of public vote, the SXSW Advisory Board and SXSW staff; it will take place on March 14, at 5 p.m. in Room 8ABC in the Austin Convention Center.

Trends change frequently and, in just the past six months, have included everything from delivery drones to double denim. According to recent research from Pennsylvania State University, the solution to the constantly changing landscape may be big data. According to the university’s research, by analyzing relevant words and phrases from fashion reviews, researchers were able to identify a network of influence among major designers and track how those style trends moved through the industry.

Each panelist in “Future of Cool” has experienced the power of such predictions, and is actively involved in helping the fashion industry leverage big data, predictive analytics and personalization to better serve shoppers and drive retail sales. In early 2015, Google released, “Fashion Trends for Spring 2015 as Told by Google Data,” a report written by Zimmer and his associate Yarden Horwitz. By looking into search patterns, geographic data and co-search behavior, the company was able to establish up-and-coming trends for spring. Shoptelligence, a strategic innovation partner that supports retailers by delivering omni-channel ensemble recommendations, can deliver double digit lift in in-store conversion rates and average order value. And Zappos regularly uses consumer feedback data and even weather forecasts to help inform merchandising and product mix offerings.

“We are thrilled to join our forward-thinking colleagues on this panel of fashion experts and can’t wait to reveal how brands can deduce trends and create more personalized suggestions to consumers,” said Brooks. “We have seen firsthand the impact that leveraging big data technologies can make on not only boosting conversion rates but also enhancing customer personalization and engagement.”

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