Ever wished that you had a personal stylist on call to deliver EXACTLY what you want without having to shop online or in a store? You’re in luck. Four year old San Francisco based, Stitch Fix is the “personal styling service tailored to your taste, budget and lifestyle that helps you look and feel your best everyday.” This is quite a lofty customer value proposition for a company operating in a competitive and fickle marketplace but Stitch Fix managed to become a $150 million company after only 3 years in operation….here’s why:
Great Customer Experience
When a customer signs up they are prompted to fill out an extensive “style profile” which is about survey about everything from body type, height and weight to upcoming life events, number of dates attended in a week and spending limits. The customer is also asked to rate clothing styles and to select favorite colors and patterns. Consumers also have the option to share a link to their social media account and a Pinterest board illustrating style preferences. Once complete the customer pays $20 and receives a box containing 5 items, a photo detailing how to wear each style and a note from a Stitch fix personal stylist about a week later. Once the customer tries on all of the items she logs back onto the Stitch Fix website to check out. Should the customer decide to keep 1 or more of the items, the $20 payment is used as a credit against the purchase. Otherwise, the customer can use a prepaid mailing envelope to return unwanted items and leave feedback about what went wrong. If the customer decides to keep all 5 items she receives a 25% discount on the entire order.
The Element Of Surprise
In doing the research for this blog post, I got pretty carried away reading reviews and looking through selfies of women sharing their newest “fix”. Stitch Fix has managed to create this cult following among consumers mostly because of the surprise element associated with each delivery. Customers never know what they are going to get. It’s like opening a Christmas gift every week that only gets better. The idea that consumers only pay $20 for the attention of a stylist and some mysterious algorithm thingy only adds to all the hype.
And Of Course… A Data Driven Approach
The secret sauce behind Stitch Fix’s success is the company’s focus on data. Called the Pandora of fashion, Stitch Fix uses the data obtained from its consumers to create a completely personalized experience. The data collected is used to inform Stitch Fix stylists of the specific likes and dislikes of the customer in real time. The more a customer uses the service the more accurate their shipments will be. Stitch Fix’s ability to collect data on the items that are not selling sets the company apart and makes it an invaluable partner to buyers as well. In traditional retail, there is little data on why certain items sell while others don’t. In addition to being another retail channel for brands, Stitch Fix offers much needed data to its brand partners. This in combination with the company’s ability to deliver a convenient, personalized customer experience makes up Stitch Fix’s core competitive advantage and creates material barriers to entry.
For more details on how Stitch Fix’s algorithm works check out this link: http://multithreaded.stitchfix.com/blog/2015/03/11/word-is-worth-a-thousand-vectors/