By 2020, 80 percent of adults on earth will have a smart phone. Before making a purchase, 70 percent of users check their mobile devices. By 2018, 50 percent of sales will be web influenced. All of this goes to show that the retailing scales have tipped. Consumers today want a shopping experience that’s completely linked, whether they’re shopping on their phones, using the web to research a purchase, or visiting a brick and mortar store.
How can retailers continue to get closer to their consumers, understand them and give them what they want as the market evolves? Levi Strauss & Co.’s Marc Rosen explored this topic at the Women’s Wear Daily Digital Forum in New York City. Hosted by WWD editors, this event gathers the most imaginative innovators, strategists, and marketers from the most influential companies in the apparel, footwear, beauty, and retail industries.
In his keynote address, the company’s head of global ecommerce discussed three major guiding principles in LS&Co.’s journey to integrating the consumer shopping experience:
- Face the biggest barriers head on. Few will dispute that bathing suits, bras and jeans are three of the most painful things for most women to buy, because of fit. In general, fit is the biggest challenge to consumers in buying clothing, especially jeans when that purchase is being made online. It’s something Marc said his team had to address head-on to reach the necessary scale. He explained they’re doing so in a number of ways — from basics like fit guides and navigation to higher-tech solutions. “The hard part isn’t finding technology solutions that will solve the problem,” he said. “The hard part is in making sure they are solutions that are consumer friendly and will address the real problem … not just interesting technology.”
- Solve a real consumer problem. Although items may technically fit, consumers also want pieces that they think look good on them. Combining fit with style is the next frontier, and one that requires a deeper understanding of and relationship with consumers. But, if addressed, it solves a real consumer problem: what am I going to wear today? “We believe the consumer wants a solution that will encompass everything in their closet and how to put it together. They don’t think in terms of brands. We believe the right solution to the outfit for the day will be found with a recommendation across their total closet.”
- Leverage strengths and play to your advantage. Once the consumer has found the right fits and styles, they need to get them in an easy, fast and affordable way. The business is continuing to make big strides in this area. Last week, Levi.com started shipping from a second fulfillment center located in the western side of the country to reach almost all households in the U.S. in two days or less.But still, there are consumers who want products same day or next day. The obvious solution is buy online, pick up in store. We wanted to make this as convenient as possible using brick and mortar stores as the pickup locations. “This is where we had to look to our strengths and turn them into an advantage by redefining the supply chain.” There may not be a Levi’s® store within a mile or two of every consumer’s home, but there is a retail partner selling Levi’s® within that distance. In fact, worldwide, we have over 50,000 points of distribution, giving consumers thousands of locations to pick up our products. So, the team added a unique twist to the Find In Store feature on Levi.com, allowing see inventory in both Levi’s® retail stores and in specialty and department stores that sell Levi’s®. “This gives the consumer what they want … many locations near their home to get Levi’s® and visibility into where they are available.”
Following these three guiding principles, with an overarching focus on the consumer, LS&Co. is on its way to delivering the integrated experience consumers expect. Always thinking about the consumer, developing unique solutions to meet their needs, and building deep relationships with them is what our founder Levi Strauss did 162 years ago and it’s what will allow the company to win today.
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Feature photo: @mdjonesy via Twitter