Customer loyalty has always been important to retailers. But thanks to COVID, the game has changed dramatically for many retail segments — including the fashion and apparel industry.

Consumers adapted to pandemic lifestyles by working from home and seeking more comfort. Certain categories like athleisure took off, and apparel brands had to incorporate changing preferences into their offerings — in terms of products, experiences, reliance on digital shopping, and easy returns.

The modern apparel customer researches across multiple channels and expects brands to cater to their needs throughout every step in their journey. And if you don’t, they’re likely to look elsewhere. That’s why customer data is more critical than ever before.

As we continue our customer data series, we’ll look closer into the next key segment – Apparel – and how it’s poised to take customer data and loyalty to the next level.

The Digital Revolution Catches Up with Fashion

The pandemic left a sting on the apparel industry, and it wasn’t just due to a drop in revenue. The digital shift accelerated and brought changes to every facet of the industry.

These changes range from greater adoption of BOPIS (Buy Online Pick-Up In-Store) to increased promotion of augmented reality (AR) apps. But the common denominator is a focus on enhancing the digital shopping experience for buyers.

Given how reliant the apparel industry has been on in-store experiences — from picking out clothes and trying them on to the purchase (and return) process — this shift to meeting the needs of the “new modern consumer persona” can be a challenge.

Leveraging data to create more personalized experiences is the key to bouncing back as an industry. What kind of impact does personalization have? Digital sales can grow as much as 30% when apparel retailers invest in personalized marketing. And that can create a big boost in loyalty.

Four Steps to Increased Loyalty for Apparel Brands

Apparel brands thrive on customers that come back season after season. And when experiences are tailored for each individual customer, loyalty follows. About 90% of customers find customized marketing appealing, with 80% being more likely to make a purchase from companies that provide these experiences.

So, how do you improve your approach to personalization? Consider the following four steps:

1:  Apparel Customers Are Sharing More Data – Be Ready to Capture It

To build loyalty and personalize experiences, you need to know your customer.

With the demise of the third-party cookie, it’s more important than ever to acquire and utilize first-party data. Collecting first-party data helps you create individualized interactions and predict what types of apparel products and experiences your customers want and need.

2:  Prioritize a Single Customer View for Every Apparel Shopper

Gathering customer data is a good start, but without emphasis on data quality and governance, you’ll end up with inaccurate and inconsistent results. You won’t be able to access the data easily or quickly enough to create the personalized experiences your apparel customers crave.

Creating a Golden Record of each customer is a must. Often achieved with a customer data platform (CDP), the data for each customer is stitched together from all your disparate sources into a Single Customer View.

This Customer Golden Record gives you an accurate, complete picture of each individual customer that shops with your brands — which is the gateway to driving the experiences that earn loyalty in the apparel industry.

3: Combine Data Domains to Retain More Apparel Buyers

The data you get from your apparel customers is extremely valuable to your brand. And when you intersect that data with other domains, you start to deliver the personalized experiences that make your company stand out in a crowded fashion market.

This intersection of disparate data points can be a powerful resource for apparel retailers. Modern consumers are not only more selective about apparel purchases, but they also seek out more information (across multiple channels) to clarify their decisions.

For instance, customers might submit measurements or images through an app for use with virtual try-on technology. This technology relies on existing product data to create the ideal shopping experience for the customer, so it’s vital for your content management system (CMS) and digital asset management (DAM) to be up-to-date and accurate.  Plus, once you’ve combined the customer data with the Product domain, you can create and send (through your preferred channel) personalized product suggestions and offers. The different domains combine to help you convert apparel customers and keep them coming back.

4: Apply Your Data Insights to Improve Loyalty

Style is very personal, and apparel customers won’t settle for generic content and offers. In fact, 82% of consumers are loyal to brands that demonstrate a thorough understanding of them as unique customers. The lesson? If you treat shoppers like individuals, they’ll reward you with loyalty.

A CDP is critical for hyper-personalized experiences, and other tools help apparel retailers take those experiences to the next level. Automated machine learning (AML) helps apparel companies draw the best insights from the Golden Record in real-time and deliver personalized customer experiences to apparel shoppers at scale. Also, a real-time decision engine calculates the next-best-action for each customer at the moment of interaction. So, each shopper gets the right offer, on the right channel, at the right time.

But for clothing brands, it starts with a Golden Record as the foundation that supports all your other efforts.  If you want to engage your customers with consistently relevant experiences throughout their apparel shopping journey, data is the key.

A Perfect Match for Personalization

As the demand for hyper-personalization in apparel grows, combining quality data with a leading CDP is a must. Yet putting all the pieces together—from strategy, technology, processes, and beyond—can be a challenge.

That’s why Amplifi and Redpoint Global are the perfect match.

Amplifi’s data management consultants help you establish your data strategy and elevate your data quality, then successfully implement the market-leading CDP solution, rgOne.

As a fully integrated platform, rgOne uses a combination of customer data management, automated machine learning, and intelligent orchestration across touchpoints to deliver hyper-personalized experiences at scale.

To learn more about what’s possible with Amplifi and Redpoint, download our eGuide.

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