Retailers must discover what their customers want and need before customers even know it themselves. With ample resources -- time, money and people -- companies can spot trends, predict the future and steer innovation.

But with mobile research tools, agile retailers can engage in trendspotting by digging for deeper insights, more quickly, and right inside the lives of target customers on the leading edge of virtually any product category. Here's an example of what that might look like, featuring everyone's favorite apparel accessory: hats!


Vertical / Use Case

Retail / Trend-spotting

Project Example

Gen X Hat Trends: What's fashion-forward?

Study Objective

A department store chain seeks to expand it collection of hats across a range of fashion types, prices and styles. Specifically, the retailer wants to identify the latest headwear trends and styles within its Gen-X targeted brands and sections. 

1) identify fashion influences,
2) explore headwear wants
3) delve into their ideas of what fashion-forward headwear might look like.

Participants will submit nearly 400 entries over 7 days, each with answers to open- and closed-end questions, plus multimedia.

SCREENER: Recruit the scouts you need

Objective
Recruit 30 geographically diverse Gen-X (age 35-54) fashion and price-conscious shoppers who have bought at least 2 hats or headwear accessories in the last twelve months and demonstrate a passion or knowledge of hats/headwear.

Timeline
3 days

Teaser
Gen X has always loved fashion, so we are looking for fashion mavens who like to make sure they are on point with a complete look from head to toe. This application requires a 30 second video ... while showing off some of your favorite accessories!

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MISSION 1: Inspiration from above

Objective
Understand each scout's style, brand and store preferences, as well as the blogs, social media, magazine, entertainment and websites that influence their hat and headwear purchases. We asked them to share five influential sources over two days.

Timeline
5 entries per scout in 2 days (total entries: 150)

Participant instructions

Overview: Tell us about your fashion inspiration -- fashion of all kinds, but especially hats! Who do you follow? Where do you look? How do you decide what you like?

WHAT: Tell us about your top fashion inspiration sources -- fashion of all kinds, but especially hats! Who do you follow? Where do you look? How do you decide what you like? What are the sources of your headwear style? Is it a person, a store, a publication, a website, or something else? Maybe it's all of the above!

** If you don't have any specific places you go to look for headwear inspiration, that's okay! Just show us who or where you look to for fashion inspiration.

WHEN: You have 2 days to submit 5 entries, which means this mission will close on [DATE] at 11:59pm.

HOW: Share one entry for each fashion inspiration source. For each entry, you will record a 30 second video and answer a few follow-up questions.

 

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MISSION 2: What your head craves

Objective
Understand what these scouts are coveting from the fashion influencers they follow. We asked them to share five fashion finds they really would love to purchase regardless of price.

Timeline
5 entries per scout in 3  days (total entries: 150)

Participant instructions

Overview: Using all the great fashion sources you told us about in the the last missions, it's time to set you on a mission to find and share five different hats that you would love to own (if price were no object!).

WHAT: Using all the great fashion sources you told us about in the the last missions, it's time to set you on a mission to find and share five different hats or headwear accessories that you would love to own (if price were no object!).

We're looking for a variety of styles and prices, but what matters most is that you love it. Tell us why, show us what it looks like, and tell us all about it.

WHEN: You have 3 days to submit 5 entries, which means this mission will close on [DATE] at 11:59pm.

HOW: Share one entry for each idea. For each entry, you will upload an image, or a screenshot and then answer a few follow-up questions.

 

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Mission 3: Your heady art

Objective
Understand what people's ideal hat looks like, and why. How do people envision the future of hats to look? What's missing/misunderstood in the current hat market that people want in the next generation of hats? We asked people to share 3 new hat designs for 3 different occasions.

Timeline
3 entries per scout in 2  days (total entries: 90)

Participant Instructions

Overview Welcome to your final mission! Now we want you to put your fashion designer fingers to work and sketch us some seriously stylish headwear. Then tell us about your artwork.

WHAT: Think through all the hats you've shown us -- your inspirations, your own collection, the ones you crave. Now it's time to design your own! Grab your colored pencils, pens, markers or crayons and get ready to draw the hats and headwear of your dreams. We are looking for designs for three different occasions: 1) one that you'd wear to school or work, 2) one that you'd wear to a party or a night out, and 3) one that you'd wear for a casual occasion such as a barbecue, baseball game, or shopping.

Not the next Tom Ford or Stella McCartney? No worries. Just feel the inspiration and try to make your designs clear. You may include words or phrases that help us understand or add more detail. But these are just sketches, so don't worry too much!

WHEN: You have 2 days to submit 3 entries, which means your entries are due [DATE]

HOW: For each entry, you'll upload one of your sketches and tell us about it! You'll be asked to submit a sketch for three different occasions.

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Interested in running your own trendspotting project, or other research with dscout? Sign up here to run a trial mission or to contact a dscout expert with questions!