I’m a marketer (for a company that makes software for other marketers), but I’m also a consumer. The two sides are intertwined. For better or for worse, I can’t turn the marketer off while I shop. The marketer side of me is always taking mental notes about customer engagement wins and missed opportunities and thinking about what is going on behind the scenes at a company to cause their customer experience to soar or flop. I shop a lot, so there are abundant examples to choose from. However, there’s one company that stands out from the pack time and time again: Shopbop. I wish other companies would take a page out of Shopbop’s customer engagement book. That’s why I’m putting my love story down on paper in an effort to help less fortunate brands find their happy ending.
Shopbop--how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. There are five big ones that come to mind.
Shopbop is killing it when it comes to personalization--including product recommendations based on other things I’ve browsed. Shopbop’s “You might also like” section is GOOD. As someone browsing colorful chunky sweaters what would you expect to find recommendations for? MORE colorful chunky sweaters. And that’s what Shopbop delivers. Check out the photo below.
Shopbop carries a great variety of designers and adds new merchandise to their website and mobile app on a daily basis. Everything is drool-worthy, thanks in part to stunning product photos and impeccable styling. Shopbop does a wonderful job pairing merchandise together, so that you fall in love with an entire outfit--not just the original item you clicked on. They make it easy to identify the other pieces in an ensemble with their “Shop the Look” section on each product detail page. As a consumer, I love this feature because it’s like having a virtual personal stylist built in to my experience. And as a marketer, I love this feature because I see it as an easy way to encourage upsell opportunities by pointing consumers to additional merchandise.
Shopbop has a ton of inventory. This is wonderful, but can also be overwhelming as a consumer. Shopbop makes browsing a lot easier by providing numerous categories and filters for viewing merchandise. For example: you go to Sweaters / Knits and there are 1466 items in this category. You can make things easier by narrowing down to the specific type of sweater you want (Cardigans, Cashmere, Cowl Necks, etc.) or applying filters such as Designers, Sizes and Colors. You can then sort your new view by a variety of options--Newest, Price: Low to High, High to Low, Ratings and more.
Having the ability to narrow down my selection makes the shopping experience much easier and keeps me on the site a lot longer. Also, important to note--all of these options are available within Shopbop’s mobile app as well, which creates a seamless experience from device to device.
Personalization Options Galore
Shopbop personalizes the shopping experience in a number of ways by giving shoppers the ability to identify their preferences and leverages that data to send timely, relevant customer engagements. (They are so committed to personalization that they even have a “Personalize” section on their website.) For example: shoppers can select favorite designers in order to receive notifications when new merchandise from one of their designers is added to the site.
I also have the ability to “heart” items I want to keep an eye on. When one of these items is low in stock or goes on sale, Shopbop sends me an email or push notification to let me know. This is a great addition to marketing communications regarding general sales or promotions. The marketer side of me loves how Shopbop creates urgency and drives people to complete purchases of items they favorited by sending notifications like the one below.
Loyalty Program Advantages
Recently, Shopbop rolled out the Yours Truly Shopbop Rewards Program. The program consists of different levels--Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Your level is determined based on how much you spent in the previous year. Joining Yours Truly gives all members benefits they wouldn’t have as non-members. For example: receiving notifications when sold out items you’ve hearted or wishlisted come back in stock or getting early access to sales and new arrivals. Of course, there are also additional advantages within each level (more advantages the more you spend). For example: surprise discounts at random points during the year for the Gold and Platinum levels only and an invite to an exclusive event every year for the Platinum level.
Shopbop’s customer experience and engagement strategy makes my heart sing as both a marketer and a shopper. They’re attentive without being overbearing; they’ve taken the time to get to know me and demonstrate that they have paid attention; and they give online and in-app shopping that irreplaceable in-store touch. Shopbop’s ability to provide a seamless, personalized experience across channels is no doubt thanks to killer technology. This comes as no surprise, as ShopBop happens to be owned by Amazon and likely benefits from the ecommerce giant’s tech resources and proprietary algorithms. But you don’t have to be Amazon’s beneficiary in order to replicate Shopbop’s tactics. The customer data and engagement platform is democratizing access to the technological resources required to deliver a flawless customer experience. There are no more excuses -- the time for a digital transformation is now.