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GROW2012 - Future of Fashion: Creatively LEd and Analytically Informed - Eric Kroger Modcloth
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GROW2012 - Future of Fashion: Creatively LEd and Analytically Informed - Eric Kroger Modcloth

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Eric is the Co-Founder and CEO of ModCloth, an innovative online retailer of vintage inspired fashion and décor, known for collaborating with its global community of female customers on the …

Eric is the Co-Founder and CEO of ModCloth, an innovative online retailer of vintage inspired fashion and décor, known for collaborating with its global community of female customers on the development of inspiring merchandise. Eric hopes to eventually change the way fashion and décor are developed, discovered, and delivered around the globe.

Published in: Technology, Design, Lifestyle

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  • Hi everyone, thank you for having me
  • I’m going to share with you the trends that we see at ModCloth that are having a major impact on eCommerce, specifically for fashion and décor, but we feel there are broader implications so hopefully this will be interesting to you even if you’re not selling fashion or home goods…
  • ModCloth is an innovative online retailer of vintage inspired fashion and décor, known for collaborating with our global community of female customers on the development of inspiring new merchandise.
  • ModCloth is an innovative online retailer of vintage inspired fashion and décor, known for collaborating with our global community of female customers on the development of inspiring new merchandise.
  • ModCloth is an innovative online retailer of vintage inspired fashion and décor, known for collaborating with our global community of female customers on the development of inspiring new merchandise.
  • We think our success is a by-product of our believe that our customer wants to be inspired when she shops, and we view our mission as creating a collaborative shopping experience that empowers her to have a voice in fashion and be the best version of herself
  • We think the future of fashion is being shaped by five big trends
  • You’re probably familiar with all of these, but in case you’re not familiar with Gamification, it’s the application of video game principles or psychology, like points, progress, and levels, to eCommerce and other domains. | these trends represent big opportunities
  • They also represent big challenges for retailers.The first we talk about is: [slide] [click]
  • Read slide
  • Second, is how do you convert new customers when price comparison shopping is easier than ever, and with the social web she’s more likely than ever to find out that she overpaid. | And the barriers to launching businesses are getting lower all the time so you have to be prepared to compete with start-ups for your existing customers. | How do you build a resilient business that converts AND retains a loyal following?
  • Our solution has been to be community-centric & whenever possible get exclusive merchandise.Read bullets
  • In Pracitce
  • This means we focus on the 5 other C’s in Community
  • We work hard to make the shopping experience as entertaining as possible, and give her many reasons to come back to ModCloth every day even if she doesn’t have a dollar to spend that day… | This is evident in our creative content, as well as our product names and descriptions which create a fun window shopping experience.
  • We invest in a high quality blog
  • And create high quality videos
  • And we partner with bloggers in the community to create content for our site and theirs
  • We leverage lots of user generated photos
  • and we mix professional and community content within our social presences
  • Collaboration is about going beyond a social relationship to actually create something together, and in the process create a stronger bond
  • We also regularly feature our team in our creative
  • , and find that photography of real women performs exceptionally well, qualitatively and quantitatively, when done with the context of who the women are.
  • Along the way we’ve discovered a large number of non-intuitive results; such as finding that our best photography of real women such as our employees, can perform at the same level and actually outperform our best staged fashion photography. But to get here, we had to embrace as a culture both the Left & Right brains
  • I started my first business in 2000 when I was 16. It was a web development agency, so when I co-founded ModCloth in 2002 with my girlfriend Susan, I had all the basic skills necessary to help her get it off the ground. For the first three years it was really just Susan’s hobby business, and I split my time between school at Carnegie Mellon along with Susan, my agency business, and ModCloth
  • Then in 2005 we upgraded from college dorms to our first college house
  • And started buying new inventory rather than just selling one of a kind vintage
  • Then in the summer of 2006 we graduated, bought our first house, got married, and moved the business into our new house, all in roughly 60 days. And; You can see a picture of our basement warehouse here…
  • Our first house was an 8 bedroom, 4 bathroom house which we were only able to buy because of the mortgage craziness and the fact that it was Pittsburgh; but by 2008 we had utilized every square foot of the house and garage and busted out to our first professional space.
  • I tell you this background, because it was our left-right brain partnership, and the fact that we were scrappy that led us to an interesting insight
  • A large percentage of the items Susan and her team wanted to buy weren’t getting produced by the small designers we were working with. | We knew we could afford to buy a production level quantity on say 20% of those styles; but where should we place our bets?| That was the genesis of our Be the Buyer Program…
  • Which I’ll walk you through real quick…. For Be the Buyer products, we essentially option the samples from the designer
  • We put it up for voting
  • We figure out which samples are winners
  • A month or two later the product goes live
  • And we email the participants who helped us decide so they can tell their friends, or buy a copy for themselves.
  • But we knew we couldn’t expect many if any of the voters to actually purchase since they were voting on dozens and dozens of products. | We knew we had to figure out if the tastes of this smaller group of women were a reflection of the broader community.
  • [read slide]
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Future of Fashion Eric Koger Co-founder & CEO
    • 2. Agenda• Brief intro• The Future of Fashion (& eCommerce) • Converging Trends • Big Challenges • Solutions & Hypotheses• In practice• Thank you!
    • 3. CONFIDENTIAL
    • 4. CONFIDENTIAL
    • 5. CONFIDENTIAL
    • 6. #2
    • 7. Future of Fashion (& eCommerce)Trends, Challenges, & Hypotheses
    • 8. Converging Trends = Big Opportunities • Mobile • Social • Gamification • Data Models replacing the Gut • Lean Practices
    • 9. Also, Big Challenges for Retailers1. How do you capture her attention?
    • 10. Competition for her attention is fierce…
    • 11. Also, Big Challenges for Retailers1. How do you capture her attention?2. How do you convert new customers when comparison shopping is easier than ever?3. How do you create loyalty to fend off clones?
    • 12. Our Solution? Be Community-centric* • Community evangelism gets us noticed • Social validation from other women encourages conversion • Sense of belonging creates loyalty * & get exclusive merchandise
    • 13. Community-centric Commerce In Practice
    • 14. • Curation• Content• Conversation• Collaboration• Culture
    • 15. It’s starts with Curation
    • 16. It’s About Content
    • 17. It’s a Conversation
    • 18. We ask her for input
    • 19. Community votes and comments on samples
    • 20. Platform for designers
    • 21. As a culture we had to embrace the Left & Right Brains
    • 22. How it all came together
    • 23. 2002 - 2005
    • 24. Then in 2006…
    • 25. 2008 we go Pro
    • 26. Growth & capital constraints lead to a new insight
    • 27. Traditional Sourcing Be the Buyer • Samples scouted • Community-Driven • Orders placed Sourcing! • Designer produces • Products launched
    • 28. Be the Buyer Process1. Sample Scouted2. Voting Starts3. Winner Picked4. Winner Launched5. Voters Notified
    • 29. Be the Buyer Process1. Sample Scouted2. Voting Starts3. Winner Picked4. Winner Launched5. Voters Notified
    • 30. Be the Buyer Process1. Sample Scouted2. Voting Starts3. Winner Picked4. Winner Launched5. Voters Notified
    • 31. Be the Buyer Process1. Sample Scouted2. Voting Starts3. Winner Picked4. Winner Launched5. Voters Notified
    • 32. Be the Buyer Process1. Sample Scouted2. Voting Starts3. Winner Picked4. Winner Launched5. Voters Notified
    • 33. How to Choose Winners?
    • 34. History of the Be the Buyer Data Model• Buying team started out using simple heuristics to make the decisions• Single Metric with highest correlation was not the original one used by Buying team…• Developed a multivariate linear model which strongly correlates with sales (r > 0.7)• Created a scoring system• Products with high scores reliably sell better!
    • 35. But it’s not just about a score . . .We also provide theteam with tools toanalyzecomments…
    • 36. • Poor score • LOTS of feedback (over 800 comments!)Skip It? Or Fix It?
    • 37. • High pick rate • Almost 12,000 votes • Over 1,000 commentsFix It!
    • 38. Community Focus Creates Virtuous Cycle She engages with the brand & community She feels a sense She influences of ownership & and shares the belonging merchandise Data enables a more relevant & personalized experience
    • 39. Fragmentation Community______________ ______________ Consolidation Category The Future of Fashion? Data Content______________ ______________ Gut Labels
    • 40. Eric.Koger@ModCloth.com