Fashion today isn’t just about how good something looks on you or how functional it is. Consumers care about the brand names they wear, what those brands represent, and who else is wearing them. A shopper in 1966 might buy a new coat because they saw it in the beautiful window display at Bloomingdale’s. 50 years later, people buy the coat their favorite fashion blogger is sporting on Instagram. Shoppers get fashion inspiration from celebrities, blogs, social media, and YouTube videos. Retail is no longer just about making quality products; it’s about making those products visible to the consumer, and engaging with them on a deeper level.
Fashion’s chaotic customer journey
According to Elliot Reuben of Salesforce, the fashion journey can be chaotic. The ways in which customers make purchase decisions can even seem irrational: Why would you pay $200 for a pair of rain boots, when you can get a perfectly good pair for $20? For most consumers, making a fashion purchase is almost an entirely emotional decision.
A traditional customer journey looks something like this:
Awareness > Onboarding > Engagement > Consideration > Purchase > Loyalty > Advocacy
But when it comes to fashion, customer journeys are much less predictable. Customers can start their journey at any of those points, and may jump around to different points over time. For example, someone could be an advocate of a brand or product without ever buying it. Take for instance, the beautiful Michael Kors bag that I have pinned on my “gotta have it” Pinterest board; it’s way (way) out of my budget. But by pinning it for all of my followers to see, I’ve become an advocate. And perhaps one of my wealthier friends (or one that’s living way beyond her means) will see it, love it, and buy it.
Burberry blends the iconic with the innovative
Fashion retailers today must cater to those chaotic customer journeys by creating seamless experiences at every touchpoint. No matter where a customer is in their journey, they should get the same feeling from a brand, and experience an equal level of personalized service. Forrester Research predicts that more retailers will begin adopting technology in every area of their business as they seek to improve the Customer Experience.
Burberry, the English brand famous for their stylish outerwear and iconic tan and black plaid, is using technology to blur the lines between the digital and physical aspects of their business. Angela Ahrendts, former Burberry CEO (now SVP of Retail at Apple), said of technology’s role in our lives today, “Be it mobile, be it social, be it physical… they’re all one; life is forever blurred.”
For a 160-year-old brand, Burberry has dived fearlessly into the digital space and is now engaging with customers like never before. The company uses Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s social monitoring tools to track mentions on social media and to engage with customers. On London’s famed Regent Street, Burberry has opened up what they call “the store of the future” — a store so innovative that customers feel like they’re walking right into the brand’s website. When customers visit the store, associates can help them locate items they have saved in their online basket or that they’ve shared on Facebook. And chip-enabled products allow customers to instantly see videos with information about the materials and craftsmanship of items they pick up around the store.
But Burberry isn’t only using technology to improve their Customer Experience — it’s shaping their Worker Experience as well. They have implemented Salesforce Chatter (which they have customized and named “Burberry Chat”) to engage employees and create more openness in the organization. “It’s been the greatest uniter of the culture — more than anything we’ve ever put in place,” said Ahrendts.
Innovations in technology have transformed the retail industry in a beautiful way. Not limited to high-end fashion brands, retailers of all types and sizes can now reach and connect with customers around the world. To learn more about the latest mobile, social, and cloud solutions for retail, check out our ebook, Creating Exceptional Retail Experiences.