Fashion Tech

The Inclusion Imperative: Investing In Size Inclusivity

Photo courtesy of MySize, Inc.

by Ronen Luzon, Founder and CEO, MySize Inc.

Anticipating the arrival of Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear line, SKIMS, the retail industry is on the cusp of experiencing, yet again, another celebrity entering the arena and owning a sector of the market with their carefully curated brand and fan base. Leveraging her cult-like status to propel her KKW Beauty line, pushing into retail through the means of her own shapewear line and exemplifying all that is the “body positivity movement” reforming the industry – Kardashian West will likely see success.

Kardashian West is addressing the number one issue affecting women today, which is searching for brands that are inclusive and mindful of sizes. Retailers have struggled to address sizing issues and have faltered as a result. It was only a few months ago that Forever 21 was criticized of fat-shaming their customers after it sent Atkins diet bars with its plus-size online orders. Rather than pairing with a retailer to address customer’s needs, celebrities like Kardashian West are choosing to provide the solutions – resulting in lasting retail empires.

With a whole generation striving towards a more inclusive retail environment, it is imperative that retailers address these issues head-on in order to enhance and innovate the shopping experience.

Here are the best ways to do just that:

Dear, Retailers… Celebrities Listen To Their Customers
Creating the ultimate shopping experience is no longer just the merging of e-commerce and in-store operations, which retailers still falter to do, it’s about building a reputable brand image. Generations have gravitated towards retail as a way to represent not only just social movements, but also themselves. At this point, there is no such thing as brand loyalty because of the different channels in which retail items are able to be sold. Therefore, retailers need to be able to listen to their customer base and act quickly or risk creating too small of a niche for themselves.

For example, Victoria’s Secret cancelled their infamous fashion show based on their lack of rebuilding their brand image. Customer’s found it soulless and unrepresentative of their culture and mockery of their true sizes. Taking Kardashian West into frame, the reality star was also slammed by critics for naming her line “Kimono” and actually renamed her entire shapewear line. Kardashian West listened and acted in order to improve the image of her brand. She tweeted, “My fans and followers are a huge inspiration to me – I’m always listening to their feedback and opinions, and am so grateful they shared their ideas for a new brand name.”

Retailers need to be able to take this approach into consideration, whether big-box or smaller mom-and-pop shops. The lack to address issues swiftly and sincerely is one area where brands continue to spiral. Consumers are investing time, money and energy into the brand – therefore they want to be heard.

Where’s My Loyalty Card?
As retail continues to evolve and move to the changing market, retailers must understand that in order to achieve overall brand success, they should promote a positive experience in all categories, and recognize the importance of delivering an experience that makes them stand out from their competition. Research by Salesforce found that 50 percent of customers will leave a brand and go elsewhere if that brand does not anticipate or meet their needs. Experience will be the key factor of whether or not the customer will decide to keep doing business with a brand.

When it comes to sizing, the lack of finding a true sizing system results in buyer confusion and, if online, the ordering of an ill-fitting item. With the inability to try clothing on before making a purchase, consumers are left to assume which size will fit best based off what size they buy most across brands. When retailers listen to their customers when it comes to sizing, and create a more inclusive experience, retailers will retain more of an impactful brand image. The takeaway is that convenience is king, and it is convenient when retailers communicate and connect their customers. This builds loyalty and increases the chances of turning everyday customers into core followers.

Investing in Consumers
Personalization is a winning trend within the retail space, especially when creating unique experiences to increase sales. What drives purchases is personalization and relevance in the way retailers engage with the customer during the entirety of the sale. The brands that will be successful are the ones that can connect to consumers at an emotional level. Kardashian West and Rihanna did that successfully by providing something that consumers feel passionately about, while keeping them filled in during the process. Not only does that offer convenience, but it also offers trust between retailer and consumer. Celebrity retailers are responding to customers in real time and in a relevant way, while creating a personalized dialogue that is engaging and attractive to consumers.

When consumers feel a brand is listening and investing in them, the retailer will then save on profits and customer returns, inevitably improving overall morale. The retail industry is seeing a shift towards digital that places an emphasis on enhancing retail experiences both online and offline. Retailers can improve customer experience by connecting consumers with brand representatives and personalized technology that would help give them accurate readings into their exact body type. Emerging technologies are changing the way people shop, improving customer experiences and brand relationships.

Retailers like SKIMS are a validation of the importance of delivering a customer service experience that your customers want and expect. The relationship between retailers and consumers is complex, but adjusting to the trend of listening and investing in consumers will give retailers a leg up in the competition, as well as create a unique and trusting shopping experience.

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