The future of fashion retail is personalized
Seven in 10 consumers express frustration if they feel their shopping experience is impersonal. However, for fashion brands who have recently started selling direct to consumers – online – providing product personalization via e-commerce can prove challenging, however: Consumers want a personalized experience when shopping for fashion and they are willing to provide personal data in exchange for it. To meet the demands from consumers for more personalized products, fashion companies must put a system in place to manage customer data effectively – in addition to managing and maintaining product data.
What is product personalization?
Product personalization is altering products to the personal needs and desires of customers. This could be either custom made products which are made for a specific customer or made-to-order products using a standardized production method with a range of options provided within existing specifications.
Why is personalization a priority in retail?
Most consumers are more likely to shop with a retailer that offers more relevant messaging, recommendations, and promotions, and that provides experiences tailored more to their individual preferences. For those brands that have recently moved to selling direct to consumers online – likely because of the pandemic – this may be uncharted territory. While 44 percent of consumers say they are likely to become repeat buyers after a personal experience with a particular retailer, almost two-thirds say they will stop buying from brands that use poor personalization techniques. It is vital, then, that fashion brands fast-track their ability to connect with consumers and offer them the personalized customer experience they demand.
What can an online retailer site do to increase personalization?
For the brand itself, personalization starts with data it controls – without effective management of its own product data, achieving these customer expectations would prove hugely challenging. Managing that product data requires a layered approach, and that starts with a solid Product Information Management (PIM) solution.
The power of PIM
As we have seen, a customer’s choice of fashion retailer is increasingly dictated by the customer experience it offers. But, as consumers take greater control over where and how they shop, three quarters are willing to provide brands with information in exchange for a more enjoyable, customized experience. In exchange for this personal information, they expect to receive accurate, complete, timely and relevant product information, and authentic, consistent, and exceptional product experiences – in addition to the more traditional expectation of fashion as means of expressing their unique style, identity, and values.
PIM is a foundation for successful data management. All a brand’s content – from its product descriptions, technical attributes, images, and videos to commercial master data from its ERP systems – is efficiently managed and maintained in a central repository, from where it can be published to the brand’s online and offline channels as required. Depending on the size of its range, a fashion brand can have huge volumes of product data, each with a unique set of attributes, and in different formats. Centralized data management means this disparate data can be quickly imported from multiple systems and sources, if necessary, to be consolidated in one central location.
The benefits of a PIM solution to a fashion brand are significant
- Faster updates (Shorter time-to-market)
- More accurate product information (Better data quality)
- More profitable (Fewer returns)
Especially when it is looking to offer its customers a more personal experience. Faster updates mean shorter time-to-market, for example, with quick data onboarding and streamlined business processes using automated and collaborative workflows allowing the brand to offer more products than was previously possible.
What is more, better data quality means product information is always accurate and up to date, resulting in fewer returns. And the opportunity to offer customers more personalized up-selling, cross-selling, and “shop the look” promotional messages, will lead to increased revenue.
Fashion brands new to direct selling need to understand that, while retail was once a product-centric industry, it is now very much customer-centric. Customers today hold the power over brands. With reports stating that personalization efforts can boost a brand’s revenues by up to 15 percent, there is clearly a need for fashion brands to place the consumer at the heart of their business. With a PIM solution in place, they can take control of their product data – and the data offered by their customers – to offer each one the uniquely distinct experience they expect.