Apparel retailers invest in online experience, customer satisfaction
Photo by iStock.com
By Sunil Mirani, co-founder and CEO at Ugam
Getting fitted for a suit or purchasing clothes to one's preference are known to be best done in person. But a growing number of innovative retailers are finding ways to recreate these experiences online. These retailers use data to deliver personalization in a meaningful way. They are also not focused only on the purchase, but also on customer satisfaction after the purchase.
Take the suit example. If a customer wants to skip the store, now he can follow online instructions for a self-measurement process and receive a tailored suit within about a month. If the fit isn't right, he has the option of going in person for adjustments. The new measurements will be noted in his online profile, ensuring a smoother experience in the future.
On the more casual end, some retailers are embracing a role as curators of style. In these cases, the shopper provides an overview of his or her taste, spending preferences and social channels. Based on this data, outfits are picked by stylists, and then the shopper has the option to send back anything they don't like. Or, the shopper can answer questions about what type of occasion and/or weather conditions they are dressing for, and receive expert suggestions. Some retailers and brands are even deploying high-powered artificial intelligence to guide this process and automatically build detailed profiles so it will know a shopper's preference on their future visits.
In each of these examples, retailers are using online tools to get to know their customers better. They are offering a more interactive and personalized shopping experience, resulting in satisfied customers.
Millennials now make up the largest share of the population, and they're different from baby boomers. Much has been made about how the new generation of shoppers pairs a lack of loyalty with lofty expectations for a consistent omnichannel experience. But the success of the methodologies outlined above illustrates that investing in that experience can pay dividends. It also demonstrates that millennials have an appreciation for customer service that may have been getting overlooked until recently.
Retailers that recognize this opportunity are doing their best to offer unique interactions that also produce detailed size and preference data. This information will allow them to improve their personalization and customer service efforts.
As the millennial clothes shopping experience continues to blur the lines between online and brick-and-mortar, finding ways to creatively interact with the customer becomes more and more valuable. Retailers that have thought long and hard about the omnichannel customer journey are being rewarded — not just with customer data, but with happy customer data.