Curated Shopping.

September 5, 2019
5 min read
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How to offer more personal advice in online shops

Shopping has meanwhile become a real leisure activity. While people used to only buy something because they really needed it, nowadays many people have great fun shopping. In Germany, even every second online shopper now has more fun than shopping in a stationary store. For many it is convenient and clear – especially with regard to different offers, a large selection of products and attractive prices.

However, what most consumers often lack in virtual shopping is personal advice and tailor-made products. Find out here how online retailers can learn from their inpatient colleagues and offer individual consulting services.

Individual advice – The little tongue on the scales

According to the results of an ECC study conducted in 2013, around 55 percent of online shoppers consider service offerings to be absolutely or very important when shopping online; for a further 34 percent, customer services in online shops are at least partially important. But it is precisely in these areas that many shops cannot yet hold a candle to the stationary trade: they are often only made for customers who already know what they want. On the other hand, shop visitors with intensive consultation who browse or search for inspiration will not find any suitable products in most shops. The result: You break off desperately and switch to the competition.

Even though the study dates back to 2013, the industry is only developing slowly here. In order to be successful in the long term, online shops must become more personal, more consulting intensive or even better, namely the perfect experience. New technologies make it possible to address customers individually. Service hotlines, live chats and virtual assistants: More and more large shops are driving these technologies and are relying on a comprehensive range of services to meet the growing demands of online shoppers.

The Personal Style Advice- Curated Shopping

New online formats now relieve shop visitors of the often annoying shopping experience. The magic word is “curated shopping”. Like a curator advising a gallery, a style consultant is available to assist them with various online services. With the help of these personal style consultants, online shoppers can choose trousers, shirts and shoes that match their personal style. With specialist advice on the net, e-commerce is advancing into the domain of stationary retailing.

In the best case, curated shopping combines exactly the two things that are important to customers when shopping: Personal advice and convenience. While the former is available primarily in stationary stores, online shopping is usually much more convenient: Here, those willing to buy do not even have to get up from the sofa.

The service tries to combine both advantages: The customer should be able to order comfortably online, but still not have to do without an individual consultation. The choice of the products is co-ordinated with the individual desires of the buyer and fits with larger probability even better, than if this selects itself goods. So it is quite possible that the customer will choose several items of clothing at once: a comfortable shopping experience instead of shopping frustration. And satisfied customers like to order again. Ideally, the return rate decreases with each new order as the consultant learns from the selection made.

Small start-ups are pioneers

While small start-ups such as Modomoto initially found a niche in this service, large online retailers are now increasingly jumping on the bandwagon. A good example of this is Zalon by Zalando. No less successful is the start-up Outfittery, which puts together individual outfits for each individual customer from over 100 brands. With 400,000 customers, the Berlin Kreuzberg-based company has already outstripped Modomoto. The company specializes exclusively in men, who already represent the larger target group of curated shopping. The principle is similar for Modomoto and Outfittery: shop visitors fill out a questionnaire online. This includes style preferences as well as their size for shirts, trousers and shoes, personal no-goes and price expectations. A few days later you will receive a box with two complete outfits. The online customers can try on at home in peace and only keep what they like. The rest will be returned free of charge within 14 days.

High expenditure for the consultation

The personnel expenditure is an important factor that can decide whether curated shopping is worthwhile for a company. As, of course, the consultants have to be paid. For customers, on the other hand, the service is usually free of charge. It is therefore an investment in customer satisfaction that does not pay off immediately.

Alternatively, it is also possible to solve the composition of the products as technically as possible. In such cases, intelligent algorithms take care of the individual composition of outfits data-driven – and often deliver more surprising and fitting results than humans. Nevertheless, human resources are also needed here. In any case, the customer data collected during curated shopping should also appear in the CRM software. In this way, information about the respective customer preferences can be captured particularly efficiently and taken into account in the future.

Originally published by Sabine Lassauer, ODOSCOPE: September 2019 – last update: October 2023

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