Retailers are always trying to learn more about their customers, and personal shopping is fast becoming a popular and important tool enabling them to gain key insight into the latest trends.
“H&M, for example, could produce a dress and not know why it’s not selling. The dress goes through various rounds of discounts and still remains in-store without H&M understanding why. We can change that,” Sophia Matveeva, CEO of Style Counsel, said in an interview with CNBC.
Style Counsel is an iPhone app that provides fashion advice to people who aren’t sure whether to buy a certain item or wear a specific outfit for a certain event.
“Users themselves tell us why a certain product isn’t working. They’re the ones saying, ‘Oh, it’s too revealing for work,’” Matveeva said. She believes that customer data can help retailers figure out what is, and isn’t, working for their customers.
Online personal shopping and styling services have grown over the last few years, with many consumers too busy to shop for themselves. In addition, customers get to experience the benefit of having their own personal shopper, which until recently was a service enjoyed only by high-end customers.
For instance, Stitch Fix, which announced news in October its intention to enter an Initial Public Offering (IPO), believes it can continue to gain ground by hand-selecting and delivering items customers want based on their individual tastes.
“We’ve seen startup businesses focused on personal shopping as their business, but also premium brands taking advantage of this service,” said Michelle Wilson, retail analyst at Berenberg. “Personal shopping helps retailers to better understand their customers. While many retailers can gain an understanding of customer needs through data analysis, forming a direct relationship with the customer gives the retailer access to incremental information about the customer, enabling a truly personalized experience.”