Sarah McVittie is co-founder of online fashion recommendation service Dressipi
It is time to accept that online retail is not single-handedly causing ‘the death of the high street’. We must realise that consumer behaviour has changed, specifically how we like to shop and interact with a brand. The customer no longer thinks about whether their interaction is online or offline – they expect their interactions to be dynamic and accessible across every available channel, be it on their mobile, tablet or in store.
Retailers need to consider how to make life simpler for their customers and understand what sort of brand engagement is required via different channels. To fully achieve this, meaningful real-time data must be collected at a customer level and at a product level, allowing for the delivery of an excellent service that genuinely serves a customer’s specific need at that very point in time.
As the world becomes increasingly complicated, customers require individual attention and communication to help them efficiently solve their problems. This can only be achieved on a genuinely one-to-one level rather than a one-to-many level, something we at Dressipi have worked hard on over the years. By combining data, human stylists and technologists we can provide completely personalised fashion recommendations to each customer via their own personalised algorithm, which continually evolves and learns with them.
So far, we have mostly focused online, but increasingly we see more of our retail partners looking to take our personalisation technology in store to connect the online and offline experience, making the advice we give portable across channels. This will allow customers to get completely personalised advice and inspiration as they shop in real time – what was formerly a distant dream is fast becoming a reality.
There is no doubt that in-store technologies such as Wi-Fi or beacons will become far more pervasive in the coming 12 months, although retailers should not underestimate the investment required to really connect the offline with the online. It is important to acknowledge that getting the technology to work in store is half the battle – some serious thought around how to connect the data in the back-end is also required to ensure the best and most accurate service possible is provided.