It is one thing to develop a profile of the customer you would like to attract to your fashion collection – and another to understand the profile of the customers who are actually purchasing, wearing and talking about your designs. In the days before technology, retailers relied on the costly and time-consuming process of building personal relationships with each customer that walked in the door.
Today there are many sources from which to glean this information and, if used correctly, they can be very cost effective. Brand loyalty cards have become the most ubiquitous method of collecting data on what customers are purchasing, bringing the added benefit of being able to encourage repeat business through the offer of discounts and promotions.
The development of social media and its popularity with influential Boomer and Millennial generations has created opportunities to gather more personalised market information. Facebook chatter, ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’, Tweets and sharing across photo-enabled services such as Instagram, all provide rich qualitative data on what people really think about your brand. These channels are also increasingly being used to introduce promotions and even sell products to selected market groups.
Innovative in-store technologies, such as RFiD-tagged clothing, record each time an item is taken into the fitting rooms. Virtual reality fitting room technologies enable customers to see what an item will look like on their own ‘virtual’ model, without having to go into a shop to try it on. Plus, developments in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), organic search, and other digital marketing tools have helped ensure that you can better analyse the online behaviour of your customers, and ensure your company brand can actually be found in the first place.
Information from all of these sources can be harvested and used to build a data-rich profile of the customer, enabling the fashion retailer to develop personalised marketing messages and promotions, both in-store and online.
According to many industry observers, this will be the way to gain competitive advantage in the future. The Aberdeen Group research company suggests that 75% of consumers like it when brands tailor their messaging and offers, and goes on to note that personalised marketing can improve conversion rates by 10%.
The challenge is to be able to manage all of this information in a way that will help the business grow, rather than get bogged down in detail.
This is where well designed ERP or business management software should be able to help you access customer data from multiple sources and integrate it across design, production, marketing, shipping, CRM and invoicing functions. This in turn will help you to develop a dialog with your customers and put them at the centre of your growing business.
To find out more about the importance of connecting your front and back end office technology, please join our fashion advice seminar.
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