Category: Customer Experience

CRM Strategy

6 Important Lessons We Learned About Customer Retention in…

So… how was everyone’s 2020?

(Whoa, whoa…sorry I asked. Put the chair down, please don’t hurt me!)

In all seriousness, the past year has been pretty tumultuous — and has led to many sweeping changes around the world.

To be sure, these sweeping changes have had a major impact on the world of retail, overall.

And, even putting aside the pandemic and political upheaval, evolving technology and customer expectations have pushed retail businesses to make some drastic changes, as well.

As we put a bow on leave 2020 in the past where it belongs, let’s not forget the lessons we’ve learned that will help us better serve and retain our customers well into the future.

1. A Cohesive Customer Experience is Crucial

The importance of delivering a cohesive omnichannel experience to your retail customers is nothing new.

But it certainly hasn’t faded over the last year. Really, it’s become more important than ever to ensure your customers can pick up where they left off with your brand — regardless of when, where, and how they engage with you.

Now, “going omnichannel” doesn’t necessarily mean your brand needs to be active on every marketing channel in existence. Rather, the goal of omnichannel marketing is to be active on the channels your customers need you to be — and to ensure these channels seamlessly connect with one another.

(Yes, you’ll want to continue adding new channels to your distribution strategy over time. But, you need to be intentional when doing so; migrating to a new channel just because it’s there will likely cause more harm than good.)

Failure to provide a cohesive experience to your customers can be devastating to your retention rates.

As a 2019 report from MuleSoft shows, 72% of digital consumers say a disconnected CX would cause them to switch brands almost immediately. This is up from 69% the previous year — and there’s every reason to believe this percentage will continue to increase in the years to come.

Omnichannel cohesion inherently allows you to personalize your customers’ experiences with your brand in a number of ways. In fact, much of what we’ll be discussing ties directly into your brand’s omnichannel initiatives.

That said, strengthening your omnichannel efforts is perhaps the top priority for 2021 and beyond. Get this ball rolling, and it will open many more opportunities to deliver value to your customers moving forward.

Keep Your First-Time Customers Coming Back

2. Convenience Reigns Supreme

Let’s face it:

It’s pretty much human nature to look for the easiest way to accomplish our goals.

It is…literally why we spend our money on goods and services: We want or need something that is difficult (or impossible) to get on our own, so we pay others to help us out.

Of course, we’re not just saying that modern brands need to offer products and services that provide convenience and ease to their customers. This much is obvious.

As we touched on in the last section, the modern consumer wants their entire branded experience to be as convenient as possible.

Simply put, they don’t want to put any more effort than they have to in order to get what they want from your brand. Again, it’s about being where your customers expect you to be, with exactly what they’re looking to get from your brand — and being able to deliver it to them with ease.

Providing such convenience is huge for customer acquisition, satisfaction, and retention.

  • 90% of retail consumers will go with brands that provide the most convenient options and overall experience
  • Brands that have focused on convenience in recent years have experienced an average 67% business growth
  • 1 in 2 retail consumers report spending more on brands due to the level of convenience provided

(The COVID era has, of course, piled on the need for convenience — but it’s definitely not the only factor. We’ll come back to this a bit later on.)

The writing is on the wall:

If you’re not constantly looking for ways to more conveniently deliver value to your customers, you stand a pretty good chance of losing them. At the very least, they won’t be spending nearly as much time and money with your brand if it’s not easy for them to do so.

3. We’re All in the Hospitality Business Now

Across the board, this year has been a wake-up call for brands and consumers alike with regard to our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Now, this isn’t to say that the safety of our customers isn’t always a top priority.

Unfortunately, many consumers report not feeling 100% safe and secure when buying certain products or engaging with certain brands. Needless to say, the coronavirus pandemic has only made the modern consumer more wary of their own health and safety.

That said, it’s crucial — and, in many cases, legally mandated — that retailers revisit their plans for keeping their customers safe  throughout their shopping experiences. If your customers feel that their safety is in danger, they have no reason to continue doing business with your brand.

In addition to making improvements to your overall safety plans, you also need to effectively communicate these changes to your customers. If they don’t know what you’re doing to ensure their safety, they’ll likely err on the side of caution — meaning they’re going to stay as far away from your store as possible.

So, no matter what products or services you offer, your brand needs to be in the business of hospitality above all else. Once you’re certain your customers will be able to safely engage with your brand — and you’re certain they know this — you’ll be free to deliver your branded experience to them exactly as you’d planned.

4. Proactive and Automated Customer Support is Expected

Piggybacking off the last section, it’s also vital to ensure your customers can get the maximum possible value out of every engagement with your brand.

It’s not enough to just give your customers the product or service they paid for. As a retailer, you also need to support your customers throughout their journey with your brand.

Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly the norm. According to Intercom, only 42% of companies feel that their customer support efforts aren’t exactly up to snuff.

They point to three key challenges in this area:

  • Meeting customer expectations re: service and support
  • Improving and streamlining customer service and support workflows
  • Managing service and support volume

The key to overcoming these challenges:

Delivering proactive — and, when possible, automated — support to your audience.

Proactive support typically comes in the form of informational content and educational experiences, such as:

  • Knowledge bases and FAQ pages
  • Informational blog posts and emails
  • Comprehensive user onboarding

You can also use chatbots, live chat, and direct messaging to preempt service requests from your customers — delivering the exact information they need to proceed before they even know they need it.

Whether providing it through automation or manually, delivering laser-focused support requires having a soup-to-nuts understanding of your overall customer journey. By anticipating every step your customers take with your brand, you’ll know exactly what they’ll need at any given moment — and can focus your efforts on making sure they get it.

The fact that less than half of retailers believe they’re on the right track — despite 73% acknowledging a problem in this area — makes clear:

We’re bound to see a renewed and improved focus on customer support in 2021 and beyond. If your team isn’t actively looking for ways to better serve and support your customers, it’ll be increasingly difficult to keep them from defecting to brands that are.

5. Pay Attention to Zero-Party Data

At the start of 2020, Google announced that Chrome will stop supporting third-party cookies by 2022.

This poses a huge problem for retailers who rely on such data to gain a better understanding of their customers. Though Chrome is just one of many browsers — and there are certainly other ways of collecting this third-party data — it’s still a problem that needs solving.

Which is why retailers will need to focus heavily on zero-party data in the years to come.

Basically, zero-party data refers to any information your audience gives you without being prompted.

A few examples:

  • Customer service queries via email
  • Direct messages via social media
  • On-site behaviors and actions

Though zero-party data is that which is unsolicited, you’ll still need to put structures in place to enable your customers to provide it. If, for example, you don’t have a presence on social media, that’s one less opportunity for your customers to proactively reach out and tell you what they’re thinking.

(Umm…that doesn’t apply to your brand, does it?)

You also need to be able to recognize, identify, collect, and use the info your customers volunteer to make tangible improvements — both to your processes and your customer experience.

The modern customer wants to provide more info to the brands they work with, as it will ultimately benefit them in the long run. It’s on you, then, to ensure they can tell you what you need to know in order to put your best foot forward.

6. Temporary Changes, or Permanent Solutions?

If one thing’s for certain, it’s that nothing in the retail world is certain moving into 2021.

On the one hand, many of the changes that have come about due to COVID are likely to stick around even after the pandemic has settled. As a recent report from McKinsey shows, most consumers plan to continue doing more online shopping — and will also continue to use self-checkout well into the future.

On the other hand, there’s data to support the idea for some COVID-era consumer expectations to fade in due time. As Hub Entertainment Research reports, most of those who preferred in-store shopping to online before the pandemic hit will likely head back to brick-and-mortar stores when it’s safe to do so.

As unprecedented as the last year has been — in the retail world and the world at large — so, too, is the post-COVID era to come. With this in mind, the best course of action for retailers is to stay agile, keeping a close eye on the moment-to-moment changes in their industries.

To be sure, this should be the case regardless of any “big picture” goings on in the world. The retail world of tomorrow is not the retail world of today — and only those who keep up with the changing times will be able to thrive in a world that’s yet to exist.

Of course, we here at PostFunnel are dedicated to keeping you in the know, and helping you press forward in a way that will benefit your customers and your company. As we head into 2021, stay with us for the latest news and trends in the retail world — and keep your team prepared for whatever surprise is next in store.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

The post 6 Important Lessons We Learned About Customer Retention in 2020 appeared first on Post Funnel.

CRM Strategy

When to Move from Acquisition to Retention

There’s no debating the importance of customer acquisition, especially for new businesses. After all, without customers, there is no business — which is why marketers often heavily focus their efforts and ad budgets on getting people to walk through those doors, either physically or virtually.

At some point, though, companies need to change gears and ensure that customers keep coming back. Here’s how you can shift into a customer retention mindset once your business takes off.

Phase 1: Implement good customer service from day one

Naturally, your top priority when starting a new business isn’t going to be customer retention; it will be user acquisition. While marketing campaigns at this point should utilize smart acquisition strategies, there are still ways to plan for the future by implementing one of the most important factors for retention: stellar customer service.

It’s never too early to focus on customer service. In fact, putting customer-friendly policies and training regimens in place early on will lead to fewer headaches later. Build a reputation on how you treat your customers in good times and bad, and your efforts will pay off down the line.

Keep Your First-Time Customers Coming Back

Phase 2: Give active customers more reasons to return

According to the Harvard Business Review, acquiring customers is usually about five to 25 times more expensive than retaining customers. At some point, it’s simply not cost-effective to focus the majority of your marketing efforts on customer acquisition anymore. This point is different for every business; it could be a few months or a year. There’s no standard timeline, so what’s important is having a general awareness of your customer base and rewarding active customers for their loyalty.

Some of the best loyalty rewards programs keep it simple, giving customers free or discounted products in exchange for purchases. However, once churn starts to set in, don’t be afraid to change up your reward offerings. Think outside the box and go beyond the standard points

systems used by major brands like Starbucks and Sephora. Get creative — just make sure you’re hitting customers with these benefits before they lose interest.

Phase 3: Reinvest revenue in technology

Most small businesses don’t have the budget to implement a plethora of high-tech applications from launch, and that’s okay. However, in a post-coronavirus environment, brands need to go digital to stay relevant. This detail is vital for a couple of reasons: First, ordering from apps or websites means your customers can treat themselves while maintaining distance. Secondly, modern shoppers have come to expect a certain level of convenience, and you need to invest in technology to meet these demands.

Once it’s financially feasible to do so, invest in your company’s digital infrastructure to add innovative features that keep customers engaged in the long run. This could mean hosting online events, letting shoppers virtually try on clothes, or just developing an easy-to-use app that only requires a few clicks from open to checkout. Find digital solutions that make sense for your brand and make them a priority when budgeting.

There’s no easy way to know when it’s time to switch from acquisition to retention, but with these steps in mind, you’ll be ready when the time comes. By using tactics like customer service, loyalty rewards, and innovative technology, you’ll be able to proactively reduce churn and build a long-term fanbase.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

 

The post When to Move from Acquisition to Retention appeared first on Post Funnel.

CRM

4 Customer Experience Management Stats — and What They…

Here at PostFunnel, we’re all about making data-driven decisions — and helping you do the same for your business.

(It just makes sense to do so: With the right data in hand, you’ll always know the best direction to take your marketing campaigns and initiatives.)

While you certainly want to pay attention to the data your team collects (and your audience provides), it’s also important to keep up with the more overarching trends weaving themselves through the eCommerce realm.

To that end, we’re going to take a look at four key eCommerce statistics that paint a clear picture of the state of customer experience management — in 2020 and beyond.

Let’s dive in.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

CX Leaders are Three Times More Likely to Exceed Their Marketing Goals

According to the 2020 Digital Trends Report from Adobe, companies that prioritize customer experience management are 300% more likely to reach and exceed their goals than their competition.

What’s more, CXM leaders also see three times the returns from their efforts, too.

Simply put:

Optimizing your overall CX will lead to more revenues and larger profits for your business.

To be sure, we’ve known this would eventually be the case for a while now.

(Remember back in 2013 when Walker predicted that CX would overtake price and product as the key factor for consumers’ purchasing decisions? Well…here we are.)

Of course, this isn’t to say that the quality and price of your product don’t matter.

The point of that prediction is that those things are table stakes by today’s standards. To truly set your brand apart from your competition, you need to jampack your entire CX with value at every point along the customer’s journey with your brand.

The key to optimizing the customer experience in 2020: Contextual personalization.

By now, it’s not enough for brands to offer surface-level personalization. Yes, it’s still crucial to provide personalized product recommendations and the like — but this is really the bare minimum you can do for your customers at this point.

You need to take your personalization efforts to the next level.

This means transitioning to a more customer-centric mode of operations, and gaining a more holistic understanding of your audience — both as consumers and as people. This enables your marketing team to more effectively map your customer journey, and better anticipate your customers’ needs and expectations along this journey.

Once you have a clearer idea of your overall customer journey, you can then work on injecting contextual personalization throughout your entire customer experience.

Again, the goal isn’t to just slap basic personalization tactics on top of a generic customer experience. Contextual personalization is about being able to deliver exactly what your individual customers need at any given moment to help them move forward in their journey.

The lesson to take from all this is simple:

If you’re not laser-focused on providing a hyper-personalized experience to your customers, you’re leaving a ton of opportunities on the table — and are likely falling well behind your competition.

Spending on CXM Technology Will Reach $641B by 2022

Of course, providing such an enhanced customer experience requires strategic and liberal use of technology across the board.

It’s no surprise, then, that global spending on CX-related technology is expected to exceed $641 billion by 2022.

Overall, brands continue to invest more and more into technology related to three key areas:

First and foremost, we’re seeing brands adopt AI-driven software and tools to supercharge their customer experience. With artificial intelligence and machine learning in the driver’s seat, your team can easily deliver on your hyper-personalization promises in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Behaviorally triggered outreach and engagement
  • Conversational marketing tactics, such as chatbots and conversational landing pages
  • Delivering dynamically generated content and offers

Another key area where tech comes into play is in delivering an omnichannel experience to the consumer. Here, the goal is to immerse your customers in your brand’s experience by interconnecting your channels (and the experiences you provide on them). In turn, your brand will become almost ubiquitous in your customers’ lives.

Making the shift to omnichannel is also about making the purchasing process more streamlined and convenient for your customers. To this end, we’re seeing brands continue to invest in technology to improve their checkout processes via social commerce, additional payment options, and more.

Companies are also looking to use technology to get better control of their company data, organizational knowledge, and digital assets. By centralizing this data — and making it easily accessible for your team — you’ll ensure your team members always have the information they need to deliver top-notch value to your customers.

There’s no doubt about it: Your tech-related expenses are going to continue to increase as time goes on.

It’s vital, then, that you take a strategic approach when adopting new tools into your tech stack to ensure the returns you experience are worth the investment.

82% of Consumers Expect Immediacy from Their Favorite Brands

According to Hubspot, 82% of consumers expect an immediate response from the brands they do business with after reaching out for support.

On the surface, the message here is pretty obvious:

You need to have structures in place that enable your team to provide immediate assistance to your customers whenever they’re in need.

(A quick note: “Immediate” in this context means ten or fewer minutes.)

This is a huge reason live chat and chatbots have become so en vogue in recent years. By optimizing and/or automating your service and support efforts, you’ll always be able to respond quickly and efficiently to your customers’ requests.

Providing self-service options — such as FAQs, knowledge bases, and other informational content — can also help deliver immediate solutions to your customers. Here, you’re cutting out the middleman (your support team) and allowing your audience to take matters into their own hands.

(Needless to say, you need to optimize these resources in order to deliver value to your audience.)

Again, we’re talking here about immediacy with regard to individual interactions with your customers.

On a deeper level, though, this expectation of immediacy applies to your approach to customer experience management, overall. In order to continually provide for your customers, you need to stay on top of the shifts, changes, and evolutions occurring throughout your industry.

Again, becoming data-driven is essential here.

More than just being able to react to changes in your industry, being data-driven puts you in position to proactively lead your industry in the right direction with regard to customer experience management.

By becoming data-driven, your marketing team will inherently become more focused on growth (as opposed to maintaining the status quo).

When growth becomes your team’s main goal, you’ll always be looking for the “next big thing” you can do to enhance your customer experience — and will consistently be able to cater to your audience’s evolving expectations.

How to build your customer model

One-Third of Consumers Will Defect from Brands They Don’t Trust

A recent study by IBM found that an astounding 33% of customers will stop buying from a preferred brand if they lose trust in the company.

(In fact, the report shows that one-third of consumers have actually defected to a competing brand due to a decrease in trustability.)

So, to be clear:

If you aren’t instilling trust in your customers throughout their experiences with your brand, you’re going to lose them.

Building trust within your target audience is done both on an individual and “big picture” basis.

In terms of the individual customer, it’s vital that they’re able to trust your brand to provide for them as expected. This means:

  • Following through on the claims and promises your brand makes
  • Taking the time to acknowledge and consider the individual customers’ needs and expectations
  • Providing a consistent — and consistently valuable — experience to your customers whenever they engage with your brand

For the most part, building trust within your individual customers will take time; that’s just how trust works.

Still, you can increase their likelihood of trusting you by becoming more open and transparent across the board.

For one thing, the modern consumer needs to know they can trust your brand with their personal information. Yes, the GDPR and similar legislation have made it mandatory for brands to be transparent with how they use their customer data…but your customers will expect this transparency regardless of what the law says.

It’s also essential that your organization be transparent in terms of how your business operates, providing good reason for the modern, socially-conscious consumer to trust you from the get-go.

Some key facts to consider:

  • 73% of consumers trust businesses that can maximize profits while also improving the conditions of the communities they operate in
  • 67% of younger consumers want brands to keep them informed as to how they support and empower their team members
  • 72% of US consumers feel it is more important than ever for brands to reflect their personal values

A better way to define your VIPs

Most importantly, the report from Edelman shows that 81% of brands say they need to trust that a brand will always “do the right thing” before they decide to buy from them.

Now, we hope this goes without saying, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t make clear:

Do. Not. Fake. It.

Whether we’re talking about the claims you make about the value of your product or your public commitments to various social causes, they need to be legitimate.

First of all, it’s the right thing to do.

(See the stat we just mentioned for a reminder of why that’s important.)

Moreover, your customers aren’t just more conscious of these aspects of your business; they’re also more knowledgeable about them, as well. The modern customer does their research — and will ultimately dig up the truth about your brand, whatever it may be.

Again, this isn’t to say you should do a better job of hiding the less-than-responsible things your company does. It’s to say you shouldn’t be doing these things in the first place.

Along that same wavelength, you shouldn’t be looking to build trust as a means to generating more business. Rather, you want to see the strong relationships you build with your customers as ends unto themselves — knowing that this will lead to better things for your business moving forward.

The post 4 Customer Experience Management Stats — and What They Mean for Your Business appeared first on Post Funnel.

B2CRM News

Walmart Unveils New Return Options

In time for Christmas and dealing with all those items ordered for the holidays that didn’t quite work out – Walmart released new return options that eliminates the need to print out shipping labels, tape them on boxes, and seal it all up for delivery to the shipping store.

In ‘Tis the Season for Hassle-Free Returns, Walmart announced a new easy return service called, Carrier Pickup by FedEx. It’s described as “an incredibly convenient way to make that unwanted gift *magically* disappear.”

Better still, the convenience is not to disappear after the holiday season but will remain an option for hassle-free, printer-free and cost-free returns for purchases made in-store, online, or even from a third-party vendor on the Walmart platform.

It works through return requests both through the site and the Walmart App:

  1. Select “Drop off at FedEx” as the return method
  2. Get a return code / QR code
  3. Take packaged return along with the QR code to any FedEx Office location
  4. A FedEx associate will scan the QR code, print a free return label, attach it to the box and ship it back to us

How to build your customer model

Customers who still wish to return items to store may do so, as well. So that customers can choose the method they prefer. Given that returns are such a significant part of online orders, that can boost the customer experience, which is a major plus for the retailer.

Returns are an integral component of any eCommerce business and so must be factored into the brand’s marketing position. Retailers who capitalize on the ability of technology to reduce the pain points of returns for their customers build loyalty that translates into more sales and higher retention.

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Customer Experience

How to Use Customer Data to Improve Your Relationship…

We all know marketing is the lifeblood of the enterprise. It’s how we get business, after all.  But, in our mad scramble to get as many customers as possible, we often forget to nurture the existing ones.  That’s just too big a mistake to ignore. Did you know that 91% of customers prefer to shop […]

The post How to Use Customer Data to Improve Your Relationship with Repeat Buyers appeared first on Nimble Blog.

B2CRM News

Morrisons VS Holland & Barrett: Who’s Treating Customers Better?

Lately, both Morrisons and Holland & Barrett have reported a number of positive actions that they are taking right now to treat customers and/or employees better. Here’s a quick look at who’s doing what from recent news – allowing you, the marketer – to decide which brand is better catering to both customers and staff.

Morrisons

The fourth-largest chain of supermarkets in the U.K is offering customers a wide range of products to shop for with convenient home delivery methods.

According to a recent article in Sunderland Echo, the new supermarket at Dalton Park Outlet created 300+ jobs.

The store also plans on creating an atmosphere of staff working together as a family. Morrisons’ new store manager, Jen Weston, says, “this can only benefit the customers.” They did not specify how, exactly, this would be achieved.

Morrisons also recently announced their special discounts offer for key workers who have been fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year. Emergency service workers, social care workers, armed forces members, and more are entitled to receive a 10% discount when shopping with their Blue Light Card.

The special discount has been created to thank the listed employees above for their hard work, dedication, and support. “We are thrilled to partner with Morrisons in saying thank you to those who have been working on the front line during these difficult few months,” said Blue Light Card, CEO Tom Dalby.

“Morrisons is a well-loved fresh food brand for many, and offering a Blue Light Card discount will make a huge difference to our members. I hope that this partnership will make the Christmas food shop that little bit easier for those who go the furthest for us.”

Finally, take a look at how Morrisons is making customers feel “extra special” with their new Christmas ad:

Holland & Barrett

No more waiting till the end of the month to receive your paycheck! As mentioned in the health and wellness brand analysis in PostFunnel’s 7 CRM commandments series, Holland & Barrett launched a new pay scheme where employees are eligible to receive access to their wages whenever they need them.

“At Holland & Barrett, we believe in the importance of making wellness accessible to all, and this includes focussing on the impact of financial stability on our colleagues’ mental health,” Holland & Barrett head of pay Tricia Foster said.

As a retailer who strongly supports sustainability, Holland & Barrett is also rolling out a new initiative to eliminate food waste. The retailer aims to sell approximately 370K items a year that have past their expiration date, at significantly lower prices. Provided the products remain of appropriate quality and can maintain a long shelf-life, like lentils, nuts, and honey – customers shouldn’t have a problem consuming them beyond their best before date.

“It is estimated that the U.K. generates 41.1 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste each year, with landfill being the second most used waste treatment in the U.K.,” said the head of retail operations at Holland & Barrett, Ryan Lander.

“It’s really a win-win as it helps customers save money and goes a little way to helping save our planet at the same time.”

Oh, and just because we’re writing this during the most epic Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend – we entered both of their websites and couldn’t help but notice H&B offering this:

So, both retailers are going above and beyond to cater to their customers (and employees) at times of need. While we leave it for you to decide which strategy you like more, we’ll just sit this one out and give praise to both.

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Customer Experience

Customer-Centric Adjustments to Your 2021 Finances

Little has changed the outlook of modern business as much as the coronavirus pandemic. In just a short amount of time, companies of all shapes and sizes have had to reorganize, reanalyze, and reassess. In reassessing your finances for 2021, you need to work out how you can stay ahead while maintaining customer relationships. Nothing […]

The post Customer-Centric Adjustments to Your 2021 Finances appeared first on Nimble Blog.

B2CRM News

For Smart Brands, All Access Means Something Completely Different

Representation matters. It shapes, or at least, re-affirms norms and realities. And can help break barriers. In today’s society, integrating diversity into your marketing campaigns, showing a full representation of age, sex, and race in your product offering and ads is expected by many.

But not by everyone. Like with any social issue, when you decide to tackle it instead of avoiding it, you may rub some people the wrong way. As we all know, it’s part of doing progress for businesses.

It’s true to representation, inclusion, and diversity, not only when you speak about age, for example. But also, when your inclusion means “all sizes.”

Still, this market is becoming more and more important for brands, and many leading ones are putting it front and center. Probably, the fact that the US plus-size apparel growth rate is twice that of the total apparel market has something to do with it.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

Leading The Way

When looking at who is leading the way, we can turn to Fashion United’s report, that “54% of all of H&M’s women clothing is between XL and 4XL, with 64% of their tops available fitting these sizes on its online store.”

In October, the Swedish retailer also launched new Curvy Fit denim made with South African women in mind. The new line that offers several different colors and denim styles was designed with less gaping at the waistline and more room in the hips/thighs to better fit larger women.

Meanwhile, though Miss Selfridge only goes up to size 18, 47.7% of their clothing is between 16-18. It shows their consideration towards all body types, with almost half of their clothes made larger.

Shein, the B2C fast fashion eCommerce platform, is also doing a great job at representing a wide range of customers compared to its competitors, as 37.2% of all online products are available in sizes ranging from XL-4XL. The fashion retailer also offers plenty of plus-size dresses.

Not as Easy as 1-2-3

One apparel niche that is starting to embrace the plus-size market is fitness. Here, the challenge is a little trickier since consumers are accustomed to seeing fitness ads with very fit models, making full representation even more important.

And indeed, we now see more and more athleisure brands that are considering customers of all shapes, sizes, and body types, creating larger clothing to provide a wide array of customers with the ability to shop their products confidently. But they are not all getting only positive responses.

Recently, Fortune magazine announced Lululemon Athletica has started expanding the sizes of the clothing it sells. “As a brand, who are we to determine the exclusive nature of the product purely based on size?” said Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald.

“Those are the people we want to recruit, and our sizing was preventing us from recruiting people who have similar states of mind. The value to the organization in doing this is it reinforces who we are, how we want to show up.”

 

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The reviews on our most iconic styles are in (and, yes, our design team has been cc’d). These six styles in sizes 0-20 are just the beginning. Keep your eyes peeled and excitement high. We promise there’s much more coming soon.

A post shared by lululemon (@lululemon) on

 

Although the Canadian brand that practically created the athleisure trend had good intentions when making plus-size clothing – many had mixed feelings regarding the announcement.

For instance, Halie LeSavage, retail writer at The Brew Tweeted:

Indeed, many other customers would agree that going up to a size 20 for its six most popular women items isn’t fully inclusive and not enough.

Still, this is a massive deal for fitness brands that many would assume are meant only for the physically fit. And when embracing all body types, such brands are prone to receiving reactions that aren’t so positive.

Gymshark, the posh fitness clothing and accessories brand based in the United Kingdom, also runs big sizes. And it had a different experience when posting about it.

 

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“Because we are all both soft whilst also being incredibly strong. One side is not weaker, less valid or less worthy. Both exist together perfectly.” – Beautiful words, beautiful body, beautiful soul – @_nelly_london 💙 – @Gymsharkwomen #Gymshark

A post shared by Gymshark (@gymshark) on

Some comments mentioned in Cosmopolitan on the post above include: “Confidence won’t unclog your arteries”, wrote a man, garnering hundreds of likes. “Won’t buy any more products from Fatshark after this post. Unfollowed,” said another. “That girl has no business representing fitness. I’m all for body positivity, but this is supposed to be a fitness brand… that lady is not fit whatsoever. I assume Gymshark is now a brand for overweight people?”

Disappointing, indeed. But progress is a process.

The post For Smart Brands, All Access Means Something Completely Different appeared first on Post Funnel.

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