Customers are increasingly choosing to do business with companies they trust. But even if they've purchased from a particular company repeatedly, many customers still want to see the product they're buying before parting with their money.

Organizations that have a large catalogue of products find is especially important to show clients their choices, and the ability to do this effectively is many times essential in order to close a sale. Among these are bespoke clothing that are tailor-made for customers. Dallas-based clothing company J. Hilburn, which specializes in custom pieces and ready-to-wear items, knew that its customers wanted to see an example of the finished product in their preferred color, as well as how a particular item would look paired with other pieces of clothing, before making an order. "We realized that we needed to show customers how their clothes would look and how they would work together," says Veeral Rathod, one of the company's founders.

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J. Hilburn works with more than 2,000 style consultants across the U.S. who visit customers to take their measurements and give them styling advice. This means that the company needed to offer a portable solution that would allow style consultants to show their customers how an outfit they're about to order would appear. According to Rathod, consultants instead were carrying stacks of printed materials to show their clients. Apart from burdening them with a heavy weight, the catalogues didn't show what materials were still in stock and didn't include the full scale of available color options.

The company decided it wanted to leverage the popularity of tablets to give its style consultants a portable tool that allows them to be more effective in their jobs so it partnered with Mutual Mobile to develop a style kit app. "We needed an enterprise system that can help style advisers do their jobs more efficiently and also give added value to customers," Rathod says. The app allows style advisers to check in real time whether ready-to-wear items that a customer might be interested in are in stock, allowing customers to select another item if their first choice isn't available. Further, style advisers have a much larger catalogue to show customers. For example, if a customer is interested in ordering a shirt in a particular color, the style adviser can use the app to show him what the shirt looks like in his size.

An additional benefit is that style advisers can show their customers other items in stock which would go with that particular article they're purchasing. Further, advisers can create visual wardrobe options which they can email to their clients, making sure they always wear clothes that match.

 

Results

Rathod says the solution has made style advisers much more efficient and is allowing them to improve their relationship with customers. In fact, many advisers create a collection before meeting with a client and then show him the different options of clothing combinations.

Since launching the application last July, J. Hilburn has seen the average order size go up by a notable 67 percent. Rathod says because customers are seeing the items they're interested in purchasing, they're more comfortable spending money.

Further, style advisers are more efficient, especially since the app allows them to place an order while they're still with the customer rather than have to worry about paperwork later on. The company is also benefitting by being able to launch new items very quickly rather than have to wait for catalogues to be printed. 

Rathod says the company is building a robust data system and in the future will be alerting style advisers when a new item that might be of interest to a particular client comes in stock, allowing them to contact their customers with this information.

 

Lessons Learned

Leverage new technology: The proliferation of smartphones and tablets are giving companies new ways to interact with their customers.

Personalize interactions: Organizations should give their frontline employees the tools to tailor services to their customers.

Give added service: Customers appreciate getting added value from the organizations they do business with and are more likely to become loyal clients and advocates.