The importance of innovation on- and offline - Rakuten Fits Me

The importance of innovation on- and offline

Fashtech, Innovation By Matt Harris, May 4, 2016

innovation_online_and_offlineIn celebration of Drapers Digital Forum which took place on Thursday 28th of April, ahead of the annual Drapers Digital Awards, we look at the importance of innovation and why bridging the gap between on- and offline channels needs to be high on retailers’ agenda in the months ahead.

Nowadays, you can’t go an hour without receiving a handful of emails about the next big digital channel or development in the market, and how you should be using it to enhance the experience a customer receives when interacting with your brand. Technology is rapidly changing the balance of power between consumers and retailers. While there are some powerful and amazing up-and-coming technology-driven applications available to help retailers improve their interactions with shoppers, most organisations seem to view these as merely another opportunity to help themselves rather than help their shoppers have a better experience. It’s no wonder that shoppers exhibit so little loyalty when they are treated as just a number to be converted, uplifted or tracked.

Offering a personalised experience that really caters to the needs and fit of individual customers is particularly important for specialist brands such as sportswear retailers. One of our clients, Wiggle – a sportswear retailer which sells a range of cycle, run, swim and triathlon products, understand better than most that the way clothes fit is extremely important to its thrill seeking and active customer base. If the garments purchased are not fit for purpose customers are not going to participate in their designated activities with confidence or in comfort. This solution also benefits the business as it will result in a lower level of returns and complaints to customer service lines.

Our fit recommendation tool was implemented onto Wiggle’s website last year, and has transformed the way customers are able to search and discover items on the Wiggle website. Utilising’s data sets of insight on the changing body shapes and requirements of consumers’ around the world, Wiggle is now able to offer a personalised experience to its shoppers.

For brands that also have a high-street presence, this can minimise the need to actually visit a store to try something on, therefore making the online shopping offering much more likely to satisfy customers. But it also enhances the need to make this personalised experience available both online and when visiting the store. By ensuring you have a ‘passport’ of each of your customers, which aids both their online experience, and their in-store experience is imperative. Imagine if a customer could walk into a store and when asking for advice and guidance, sales staff are able to pull up the profile of the shopper and see their fit preferences and recommend garments accordingly, just like the website does. For us, this is the holy grail of the customer shopping experience.

By deploying fit preference data in a structured way, clothing brands and retailers can serve and deliver precisely what each customer is looking for: products and styles that match each individual. This will then have a long term effect on brand loyalty and repeat purchase behaviour: shoppers are less likely to be brand-disloyal if his or her preferred store starts and then continues to suggest ideas which are ever-more-accurate.

Author: Matt Harris

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