Listening to the customer is an important goal for fashion retailer Boden. The brand has put extensive time and energy in making sure the customer is at the forefront of everything they do through the constant changes that are occurring with the way the customer shops today.
The brand, which started in 1991 as a catalog only business, saw the transition to online early on. It was in 1999, that they saw most of their sales coming from their online channel.
“We know we’re moving to [fewer] catalogs to a more online world, the customer is looking at it less” said Susan Britton, head of customer insights and strategy for Boden during NEMOA’s directXchange conference. “Email is more likely to influence the purchase.”
Keeping the customer at the heart of all that Boden does includes focus groups, wardrobe visits, customer panels and surveys, fit sessions, and looking at sales data.
Britton said over time the average age of the customer was increasing, but Boden was bringing in fewer new customers and keeping with old customers.
“The customer hadn’t changed over the years, but the world around her did,” said Britton. “We were the only place online, over half of customers had mobile.”
Britton said that Boden tested the catalog online, sending surveys asking people to flip each page; they tested the draft of the catalog in focus groups in both the UK and U.S. to gauge reaction, measure emotion and provide product detail.
“The catalog is a unique shopping tool, emotional pull can drive purchase and show unique details,” said Britton. “All sales come through web, there is an intangible value of the catalog and social media.”
Within the catalog there are four to five stories; Boden does send different versions to different markets. Boden has decreased the catalog in two ways in size and number of catalogs it sends out.