Guillaume Benoit is Operations Director at Viscata
Viscata is a footwear company known for its espadrilles. The business was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain. In its products, Viscata draws inspiration from the Mediterranean lifestyle, combining traditional craftsmanship with contemporary designs.
In this conversation with RIS News, Viscata’s operations director, Guillaume Benoit outlines how taking a data-driven approach has allowed the company to improve its handmade products, reduce return rates, and get closer to the needs of its loyal customer base.
As Benoit shares, the main challenge for any e-commerce business is their return rate, and this is even more true when talking about shoes and artisanal products. Given that Viscata’s factory still uses traditional techniques to produce a shoe, human errors are inevitably a part of the process.
Photo Credit: Viscata
“Returns impact cost, but they also have consequences for sustainability, quality, and customer experience, which are important pillars of our strategy,” Benoit shares. “We put a lot of focus on ensuring we deliver high-quality products that our customers love.”
On the other hand, one of the greatest strengths of e-commerce is the sheer volume of data it churns up and Viscata knew it needed a partner to turn this data into specific actions that would reduce their return rate and improve its products. In Newmine, Viscata found a solution that streamlines this process and pinpoints areas of weakness.
“For example, it’s now easy for us to identify when there is an issue about a shoe color wrongly displayed on our website or a listing on a specific marketplace (by looking at the return rate difference by the marketplace),” Benoit explains.
Viscata now has someone specifically in charge of analyzing data in Newmine, applying recommendations, and tracking the results. For the Viscata team, the most impactful process change has not really been around reacting to issues like quality inspections or color issues, but more about incorporating customer feedback and returns data into product development at the very beginning of the process.
“Using customer feedback relating to the return reason ‘uncomfortable,’ we can improve our products by, for example, adding a cushion to the inner sole, adding a buckle to a slingback shoe to improve the fit, or playing with the height of the wedges,” Benoit explains.
There have been a number of benefits in this data-fueled implementation, not least the opportunity it affords to take concrete actions to solve issues and improve products based on customer feedback and intensive data analysis.
“Our ultimate goal is to improve customer experience, which is even more important than the return rate itself. Returns impact many areas including cost & profit, customer experience, and sustainability. But for us, customer experience is paramount. When we take a specific action, we track the result to make sure that we understand the result,” Benoit says.
Photo Credit: Viscata
In one example shared, the return rate for a particular product was notably high in one marketplace while it was relatively low on Viscata’s website. Using the technology, Viscata was able to identify that this was due to a listing issue on the marketplace and correct it accordingly. For this specific product & marketplace, the brand witnessed a decrease in the return rate from 44% to 24%.
Everybody Wins: Harmonizing Data for Collective Gain
The message here is clear: With so much data available, brands need software that can summarize these insights effectively and turn them into a simple tool that helps businesses make informed actions and answer customer needs.
“Data is useless if you cannot take positive action from it,” Benoit shares and encourages businesses to ask customers for help in getting this data. “You’d be surprised to know how many customers are willing to provide detailed feedback, full of technical details. It would be a pity not to use this information. Their feedback is valuable for us to improve our products, color selection, and customer experience.”
Looking ahead, Benoit, like many others, is enthusiastic about the potential of artificial intelligence: “With the rise of AI, it will be even easier to take actions based on complex data sets. Something that a person would historically take a month to analyze will now be done in a few minutes. This will allow brands to spend less time analyzing and more time acting. We will be more proactive and more aware, and this will feed back to improved customer satisfaction. Everybody wins.”
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