The third and final blog in our three part series on brand experience. We focus on another US retailer, Modcloth.
Modcloth is a pure play, unusual in a retail industry that is heavily influenced by great cross-channel experiences. ModCloth is very worthy of inclusion because of its approach to using the community to fuel its business. Not like Sweaty Betty does but in a much deeper and inclusive way, centred around their product.
The company took more than $100 million in sales last year, and is growing at a rate of 40% annually, according to a ModCloth spokesperson.
If you're truly into fashion, there's often very little middle ground between consuming fashion (e.g. buying and putting your own looks together) and designing fashion (actually designing, manufacturing and having your own collection). ModCloth gives a much wider audience the opportunity to fill that gap - capitalising on budding, amateur or just plain interested followers of fashion to help fuel their own growth and giving them fulfilment in the process.
Be the Buyer
Be the Buyer One of their best initiatives is ‘Be The Buyer’. This is where the general public can help pick what goes into production and in effect, act like one of ModCloth's buying team. Of course this is on a limited selection so it doesn't go as far as Threadless does, but it's still a great engagement piece for those that love fashion and want to participate.
Make the Cut
Another initiative that goes even further is where regular competitions are run for designers to get involved and submit their designs. The latest was a print that will get made into a scarf and then sold on ModCloth. Again, a very simple way to really engage with the community of designers and then asking a wider audience to vote for their favourite - all community-driven, just triggered by ModCloth themselves.
40& of consumers buy more from retailers % who personalise the shopping experience.
We know our customers exceptionally well. Because we're digital, we're able to keep track of things better than any brick-and-mortar retailer is. With our Be the Buyer programme, we get a more precise read on demand because people are on the ‘wait list’ for specific sizes.
CEO and joint-founder of Modcloth, Eric Koger
A free service where ModCloth's own stylists can help you out with sizing, putting together a look or anything else you may want. Not your normal customer service and highly correlated to their target market and their brand promise, this also comes with easy ways to interact like phone, chat and email too.
385 of companies say the most significant % tech-related challenge they face in growing their ecommerce business is building a personalised shopping experience.
Yet another way the community can get involved. Very similar to ASOS's look books, this is where the community can submit looks and they are linked up to ModCloth products for an easy outfit purchase process and a chance for the community to express themselves and get involved.
Customer-focused merchandising and tools
Not a specific initiative - more a way of doing work. It's clear ModCloth are really trying to get under the skin of their consumers. There's a lot of categories that they have created that are consumer- focused. In dresses we have 'Flirty Pin Up', 'Work Appropriate' and 'Top Rated' for example. Then there's the reviews system that is really fashion-focused, with sizing information and a clearly committed community.
Rather than being a store-based monolith, ModCloth are bringing together so many good things and making a cohesive proposition for their consumers. They provide a fantastic brand experience where those interested in fashion can go through many levels of engagement from simply purchasing and enjoying the site, to designing for them. There's not many brands that have executed this kind of proposition to such depth and so well. They also have an admirable recruitment process with a strict "no assholes" rule.