The online retail industry is as fast-paced as it comes. In most industries, businesses agree upon a strategic approach, put it into action and then analyze its impact either quarterly or at the year’s end. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, fashion just moves so much faster.
Across all of our brands at TechStyle, we use data-driven platforms and innovative retail technologies that allow us to move as the market moves. Or better yet, we anticipate where the market is going. It’s critical to try and stay ahead of the curve. We have over 5 million members active in the subscription program internationally and over 90 million in our database. And real-time feedback from that diverse audience gives us the flexibility to engage in fast-fashion strategies that deliver high-quality, on-trend products at amazing value.
The advent of ecommerce has revolutionized the way we shop. It’s opened up opportunities for big brands and boutique retailers alike, connecting consumers with products wherever in the world they happen to be. But what we’ve gained in convenience, we’ve lost in connection. Human interactions are instrumental in forging the relationship between brand and consumer. They’re also incredibly difficult to replicate online.
For me, the goal is to craft a closer relationship between brand and customer. Understanding the customer experience, why she shops us vs other brands, and what we can do to improve our offering is how we keep a strong competitive advantage. We get face to face with real customers often, we conduct surveys, and we read sales and click data daily. We also use enterprise analytics to enhance the customer experience, by identifying purchasing intent and recognizing patterns of behavior.
This allows us to do everything from managing our inventory to include in-demand items, to identifying emerging trends. But the real benefit to this data is that we can use it to provide customers with a more seamless shopping experience. We begin by personalizing the customer experience from the very first engagement. To do this we use a unique style profile quiz to help identify each of our 5 million+ members’ individual personal style and size preferences. This allows us to curate a member’s favorite styles, suggest specific items and highlight trending styles they could try.
For all of our customers, fashion is an important part of their lives. Wherever they live, whatever they do, whatever their individual style. We wanted to tap into that sense of community and provide people with a platform that keeps them up to date with the latest trends. In an ever-evolving ecommerce landscape, brands have to go beyond personalization. They have to begin building better relationships.
What are the challenges?
As one of the first brands to marry personal styling with online commerce, we’ve always been innovative and forward-thinking. At some point, however, all brands face the same problem: how do you stand-out in a competitive and crowded marketplace?
It’s a challenge to cut through the noise and reach the people you want to reach. I believe the best way to do that is to provide a first-class customer experience. And it is something that, as a team, we identified as being absolutely critical to cultivating customer loyalty.
We also realized that to stand-out, understanding the “why” would be crucial. Why are people behaving in a certain way on the website? Why are they reacting the way they are? What is the cause? What could we be doing better?
Finding a solution
We are largely vertically integrated when it comes to our tech stack – it’s what allows us to be flexible and adapt to the customers’ needs in real time. Nine times out of 10 when we face the decision to build vs buy, we build. But if we have a particular need and come across a potential solution that works well, we will partner with experts to augment our tech stack. An example of that is a company called Clicktale who we use to help us ‘listen’ to our customers shopping online. Through Clicktale’s experience analytics tool, we are able to better understand customer intent and watch the ways in which our shoppers interact with our site. By understanding how our customers navigate differently based on different shopping intentions, we’ve been able to better personalize the online experience.
As an online retailer, we can’t interact with our customers face-to-face and study their reactions in person. But with the data and insights provided by Clicktale’s technology, we’ve been able to better understand customer behavior and deliver a better experience. We can now measure and evaluate every hover and scroll, any points of frustration, and even see where on the website the customer is becoming confused. This allows us to adjust the experience accordingly – making the journey as seamless as possible for our customers.