In the wake of COVID-19, fashion companies are scrambling to meet a growing number of customers online. Retailers were forced to adapt, introducing new marketing initiatives and even reshaping business models.
For example, earlier this month, the Zara retail empire announced its plans to invest $3 billion to develop a fully integrated store and online model. And, they’re certainly not alone. The pressure is on for almost every retailer to make each step of the value chain better, faster, and cheaper.
For companies with the ability and willingness to invest, the pandemic has clearly accelerated digital transformations. In some cases, years worth of digital planning has been accomplished in a matter of months.
What we’re seeing first-hand
At Hubtype, we’re seeing increased pressure on fashion brands to protect their key performance indicators. With consumer spending down, metrics like CAC (customer acquisition cost) and LTV (lifetime value) have never been more important.
As a result, there’s an urgent need to improve experiences and cut costs at the same time. To solve this dilemma, brands are leaning heavily on automation.
For fashion retailers that haven’t already embraced automation, chatbots and conversational apps are the first step. Chatbots handle common inquiries and service requests, improving efficiency at each stage of the buying process.
For example, this April, we helped a multinational retailer automate 82% of its customer contacts through chat. With our product, the company now reduces friction in the buying process — and increases sales as a result.
Though, the trend towards conversational commerce is nothing new. Chatbots have been helping businesses deliver customer service at scale for a while. The real shift we’re seeing is one towards even more sophisticated ecommerce operations.
The need for high-touch customer service
Even in a digital world, shoppers still appreciate the face-to-face interaction that comes with tailoring a suit, or selecting the perfect perfume. For that reason, high-touch businesses have so far managed to preserve their traditional way of operating.
But, in the wake of COVID-19, we saw those models come undone. Even bespoke businesses were forced to embrace digitalization, and bring that high-touch customer service online.
For many, the move towards online clienteling and virtual styling appointments was the only option. Without a way to connect with customers online, bridal shops, tailors, jewelers, and other high-touch businesses would come to a halt.
High-end and bespoke brands don’t have the luxury of automating processes in the same way fast fashion brands can. They need to do online in a way that still feels like a luxury experience and not transactional.
For the fast fashion industry, high-touch customer experiences have traditionally been more of a “nice to have.” Now, they’re being used to further differentiate experiences and create deeper connections with their customers.
Elevating experiences in fast fashion
Clienteling won’t just be a solution for luxury brands and bespoke retailers. It’s a trend that all innovative retailers will adopt in one way or another.
As the path to purchase becomes increasingly digital-first, retailers’ mobile and ecommerce capabilities are taking center stage. Fewer in-person touches means that brands need to connect with customers deeper, more memorable ways.
Clienteling technology will facilitate these connections by making every consumer feel like they have a personal shopper who understands their personal tastes and needs. It will help retailers offer VIP experiences for loyal customers, and create more dynamic opportunities.
Breaking down silos between online and ecommerce
In the past, retailers have traditionally had in-store teams and ecommerce teams. That’s all changing. Brands need a hybrid approach in order to win in 2020 and beyond.
The pandemic is pushing brands to rethink their approach to customer loyalty, engagement, and personalization — both in-store and out.
Even brands that don’t typically require high-touch customer service are using it to get ahead. They’re layering hyper-personalized experiences on top of the essentials like chatbots and marketing automation.
At Hubtype, our clients need an end-to-end solution that handles all of these dynamics, and they need it fast. Our products give businesses the flexibility to create these sophisticated workflows with ease.
Our enterprise-grade framework unifies data across CRMs, ERP software, and more. It redefines customer support as a customer acquisition tactic — not just a post-purchase necessity.
Fashion’s digital transformation is now or never
Retailers need to embrace technology to ensure a post-pandemic future. They also need solutions that aren’t going to take months or years to implement.
With Hubtype, brands implement new technology quickly, and then start building on it. We give businesses a powerful framework that will grow with them and adapt to their changing needs.
We know how to navigate disruption and set companies up for long-term success. Let us help you get it right.