For direct-to-consumer retailers, it’s not enough to have the right product at the right time — not unless you want to become a one-hit-wonder cautionary tale.
Success in today’s retail environment hinges upon developing relationships beyond a single transaction, which in turn requires deep commitments to both customer service and experience. The competition is even fiercer for young sellers, and so Rothy’s, the lifestyle brand developing shoes and accessories using sustainable materials, is investing more heavily in the data and analytics platforms measuring customer engagement and amplification.
Founded in 2012, Rothy’s brand awareness was initially driven by word of mouth, Nic Cadwallader, director of customer experience, tells RIS, and this remains the case even with its 1 million-plus base. To stay successful, the company is moving beyond investing only in new customer engagement and instead ensuring it provides support for the lifetime of the customer relationship.
“It's not enough that we find ways to attract new customers,” Cadwallader says. “That is definitely important. But we have to build a lasting and trusting relationship with them. That's what's going to allow them to come back again [and] refer us to their friends and family and talk about us.”
As part of this, it leverages data and customer insights through a relationship with Gladly, enabling the footwear company to dig into such experience metrics as the person contacting and reason, frequency, method, time, length of the experience and any contact repetitiveness.
The synchronous platform also enables Rothy’s to provide shoppers with more flexibility in how they engage, whether it’s through email, phone or chat, while still supplying the company with a single customer profile.
“We want to give them the channel of their choice,” says Cadwallader. “We also wanted to leverage our website. We wanted to make sure that we were putting information that's usable … that we could embed chat capabilities, where they can talk to somebody, but also that we can direct it and predict what questions they might have.”
Rothy’s also leverages other platforms, some of which integrate with Gladly, that measure its net promoter score and customer browsing journey, all of which combine to help customers locate the info they need without exiting the checkout experience.
Beyond keeping customers on the site, Rothy’s is also able to aggregate the data — including the points gleaned from its review site — to provide feedback to its cross-functional teams, locate trends, and leverage for product development. The marketing team, meanwhile, utilizes the info for brand positioning and communication.
Cadwallader says they were drawn to the Gladly platform in part because both companies are young and growing. Rothy’s, which also has five stores, wanted to avoid working with a large provider, instead opting for one that avoided such legacy terminology as referring to customers as “tickets.”
“It was very important for me that we don't go down that path where we think people are tickets,” says Cadwallader. “Customers are not tickets. It's not a transactional relationship.”
This deep understanding of the type of relationship a retailer wants with its customers, as well as the metrics and success drivers, are crucial for any company seeking to improve its experiences, says Cadwallader. Having these needs clearly defined will in turn enable them to choose the right partners, as goals for small companies can differ vastly from those of the behemoths.
“For Amazon, they're dealing with billions of transactions, so they're looking to [fix errors] in the customer experience; that's the value they’re providing the customers,” she notes. “That's not the value that we want to provide. We want to know them very personally. We want to build a relationship with them. We want to build lifetime value with them.”