Lingerie Space gets intimate with more insights
If experience is the new loyalty as many believe, then now is the time for brands to align channels, products and programs to capitalize on this digitally inspired shift in expectations.
If we transfer that to the lingerie space, we find many of the same issues impacting the experience — returns, payment options, shipping — as elsewhere, just in a category that’s intimate by definition, and where shoppers have the same sensibility in of experience demand.
In conversation with Karen Webster from PYMNTS, Nicholas CapuonoChief Customer Officer at worship mesaid that the customer experience needs to match the buyer’s perception of the brand, while also taking into account the digital trends that are considered indispensable in today’s connected economy.
“We’re a digital-native brand,” said Capuono. “Since day one [we’ve been] a true belief that the online experience can bring something new to the customer. We amplify… the shopping experience itself on the site, trying to ensure that during the two, three, four, five minutes the customer has the best knowledge of the product and our value proposition [they give] us.”
Webster focused on the returns process as a typical example of where that experience with a brand can be a defining moment. Capuono described decisions that lead to successful returns.
“Do we refund you if you return the item to our warehouse and trust that you sent the product back?” Capuono said. “Will we… charge some kind of penalty fee if you return something damaged? Do we give you the opportunity to place another order while your return goes back into storage? [Those are] the two key moments in the experience that define satisfaction.”
In the case of Adore Me, the first step is not a refund but a credit for that amount that you can spend on another product.
“If the customer wants to return and refund, we do that,” he said. “But once you’ve initiated the return, we’ll give you the option to place a new order without purchasing a second time.”
See also: The Power of Payments in Driving Digital Transformation
It’s a smart way to keep those dollars within the Adore Me ecosystem, avoid returns and chargebacks, and most importantly, preserve the customer experience. That’s how smart companies work as the threat of a recession overshadows everything.
“Companies that weren’t profitable before are likely to struggle in the coming months,” he said. “Hypergrowth without profitability is no longer relevant for anyone.”
“Digital styling” is experience gold
Adore Me also operates six physical locations, giving Capuono insights into how digital transformation is shifting gears as real life reopens and digital habits adjust to this new normal.
With online lingerie sales now hovering between 15% and 25%, showing the powerful magic that physical retail has in some categories, he said e-commerce is the main channel for selling lingerie and offers cool new opportunities , to attract and attract more customers.
When asked about the recent TikTok kerfuffle and the obstacles to the livestream sales approach, he said Adore Me is experimenting with it as part of an excessive test-and-learn strategy.
Continue reading: TikTok suspends livestream shopping plans in US and Europe
“We started [offer] This type of live shopping experience could be on Instagram, it could be directly on the website. We’ve had very positive comments from customers,” he said. “We saw a lot of spectators. We’ve probably seen 10% to 20% of it [our] Income that was generated directly through live shopping back then. So it’s something that’s starting to matter.”
Capuono said that experience has shown that the livestream sale scored well with consumers who found the quality of interaction to be good without the need for professional influencers.
“It could be someone internal,” he said. “It doesn’t require a professional anchor, but someone who understands the product does.”
He added that live shopping can reinforce the overall messaging surrounding new product launches and offers by overlaying digital presentation with human interaction for optimal engagement.
Calling live shopping “a way to alleviate the frustration we have when communicating via email,” he said it’s hard to get the impact of live people conducting the sale.
“It’s very effective in live shopping, where the creation team says whatever they like [how] You’ve designed a product, and you really can [see] the thought process of the creation team in a live experience,” he said. “It’s very reassuring to be able to communicate in this way what we’re trying to do.”
This “digital styling” is a trend within a trend Capuono sees gaining momentum in his space, though Adore Me has cut its social media spend to control customer acquisition costs.
The invention of the new loyalty
Building its direct-to-consumer (DTC) business depends on nurturing loyalty, and that depends on the right mix of products, pricing, shipping, and returns. In a word: experience.
With that in mind: “The first thing I would say is the product. We see it when you return your first order,” he said. “For us, this is a sign that the quality of the product is very important. The second thing I would say is the shipping experience. We see customers who place very high demands on the shipping experience. It doesn’t mean fast shipping. It means a seamless shipping experience.”
Balancing the harsh realities of one-size-fits-all economy and shipping costs with the warm fuzzies of a good customer experience is a delicate dance. Adore Me uses a membership model for this.
He said: “Membership, by definition, creates extra loyalty to the brand, extra loyalty to the product. We have two different memberships. Regardless of membership [tier]offering this value proposition is highly valued by customers and increases loyalty.”
Related: Leading online retailers make the customer experience part of the product
Coming back to how shipping times and options have a big impact on the customer experience, Capuono said Adore Me — which currently offers free shipping on all orders — is tinkering with various delivery ideas, including charging premium shipping (like Super Fast Shipping ).
“We’ll probably have to have two or three shipping experiences at checkout, communicate well about shipping times – slower if you’re paying, longer if you’re not paying – and I’m sure everyone will be happy to have the choice,” he said continued.
Adore Me, another test-and-learn project, is now experimenting with low fees ($5 to $10) for premium delivery, and Capuono told Webster, “I’m very excited to see the results.”
Adore Me somewhat dodges supply chain issues by stocking up early and then rolling it out creatively, and still faces the same choices as other DTC companies. Two examples are crypto payments and buy now, pay later (BNPL). He doesn’t see either of these as particularly relevant for a lingerie company that does business with its feet on the ground.
He said crypto payments are “probably too much hassle for perhaps very little added value. We didn’t even think about it. The one we think about is buy now, pay later. That could have a lot of potential.
“We’re going to be doing some experimentation on this over the coming weeks and months, but I’m still very cautious…because we have an AOV of about $50-$100…so I don’t think it’s buy-now, pay-later.” [will be] the bread and butter of our business.”
There will be more on product and price innovations shortly, but Capuono has been silent. For example, regarding Adore Me’s on-demand boxes, where people only keep what they like and return the rest, Webster asked if those boxes would be priced differently.
His response: “I’ll answer your question in a few weeks.” Stay tuned.