How Indochino Tailors the Omnichannel Experience

Whilst the traditional journey for most retailers has been to begin with a physical presence and then expand into ecommerce, for Vancouver-based Indochino, the pathway its followed to its current successes has been in the opposite direction.

Founded by two university students with no fashion experience in 2007, Indochino has nonetheless managed to design the perfect way for men to purchase custom-tailored suits online at affordable prices. It’s a process that has been optimized over many years, and now is as simple and streamlined as it is convenient and, well, fun!

Customers head to the Indochino site to access a video tutorial for how to take the perfect body measurements, explaining that they will need to enlist a friend (and probably an “intimate” one) to help them. Then, after selecting fabric, lining and lapels, the customer simply submits his measurements online, and Indochino tailors the suit and ships it straight to their preferred address.

It’s all very simple, very convenient, and the whole site is designed to marry with the way its customers (i.e. men) typically like to shop. The process is made as painless as possible. A lot of men only own one suit – perhaps bought for a wedding or a funeral – and therefore have very little experience with tailoring. But the Indochino site is filled with helpful, guiding content, including 14 videos showing how to take accurate measurements.

There’s even an algorithm in place which alerts Indochino if the measurements submitted don’t seem to make sense, and, as the site has evolved, users are now able to search by colour and by fabric, with the whole process completed in just five clicks (down from 30 in previous versions).

It’s certainly helped with the company’s online conversions rates, according to Indochino. But now the retailer is making a decisive push into the realms of bricks-and-mortar, with omnichannel its prime focus.

Changing the Way Men “Suit Up”

In one of the biggest rounds of financing in Canadian ecommerce history, Indochino announced a $42 million investment from the Dayang Group – a Shangai-based global apparel manufacturer – in March last year. CEO Drew Green said that Indochino would be using the investment to expand into 150 bricks-and-mortar locations, “sell one million made-to-measure suits a year” and “create a multi-billion-dollar company by 2020”.

Big plans, indeed. The locations will add to the eight showrooms Indochino already operates in Canada and five in the US. "This year, we're almost doubling our showroom network as we focus on significantly expanding our experiential retail model," said Green. "As we continue to bring our unique showrooms to more cities and introduce custom clothing as an attractive and affordable alternative to ready-to-wear, we're beginning to change the way a generation of men suit up, and that's incredibly exciting to see."

Powering Personalization with Qubit

But what is it that’s so “unique” about the Indochino showrooms?

Well, one particularly innovative approach that is already hitting the Indochino stores and pop-up locations is being powered by Qubit – a SaaS personalization company that helps businesses interact with their customers across multiple channels. Prior to the partnership, Indochino had no way to connect online customers to the in-store experience being offered. The solution that was created to bridge this gap involves geo-location targeting, which allows Indochino to target its online members by inviting them to visit a showroom when they are in the vicinity of one.

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“Showroom service is a huge part of our business. By using Qubit, we’re able to constantly evolve our digital presence and enhance what we can do to create a well-rounded experience for the customer, regardless of whether they’re shopping online or prefer the in-store experience,” said Pilar Catala, Director of Omnichannel Digital Experience, Indohino.

“One of the best parts about the Qubit platform is that everything is measurable. We closely monitor and review the results of our campaigns and are constantly working to improve on our success.”

Designer Data

Showrooms currently account for around 46% of Indochino’s business. Much of the analytics that Qubit provides has been funnelled into creating highly localized offline campaigns.

Using the Qubit Visitor Cloud – which is kind of a cross between a web personalization tool and a marketing cloud – Indochino are able identify cities from which the highest volumes of site traffic is coming. This data then informs certain pop-up events that Indochino is known for, such as its “Travelling Tailor” showrooms, which give online customers the chance to pop in to a temporary Indochino location and get fitted by a professional tailor in-person.

Measuring the traffic data derived from Qubit also helps the retailer determine the duration for each of its pop-up events. For instance, one location in Toronto was open for a full six weeks, while another in Chicago only stuck around for three days. The data also tells Indochino where to pop-up. In Toronto, the retailer was able to determine that a high volume of site traffic was coming from the Mississauga suburb – so a showroom was opened there.

“All of the data we’re using for site experiences or user acquisition is also helping us determine new market opportunity,” Catala said.

Increasing Sales

Ian McCaig, CMO and co-founder of Qubit, wants to continue to develop the capabilities of the Qubit platform for Indochino in terms of qualitative product demand in different locations and cities. For example, an entertainment district in Los Angeles tends to lean towards greater interest from site users searching for casual or “creative” suit offerings, while business districts trend more “traditional”.

In such cases, Qubit is used to serve different versions of the Indochino site to different users. “We're also in discussions on how to merchandise based on weather – i.e., linen suits when it’s hot out,” said McCaig. “Thinking forward, we’ll also be trying to understand a geospecific propensity for suits.”

Such personalized messaging is indeed proving to be highly beneficial for Indochino. Being a private company, it doesn’t report financials. However, the retailer claims that omnichannel sales have increased 67% year-over-year as a result of the strategies it has implemented, and credits its personalized site pages for generating $1 million in incremental sales. Using geo-personalization onsite and in promotions also led to a 4.2% lift in revenue per customer.

An Omnichannel Future

Indochino’s pop-ups and expanding network of showrooms are all designed to be an extension of the company’s online made-to-measure experience. In-store Style Guides are on-hand to take measurements, assist with fabric selection, and update the customer’s online profile, so future perfect-fitting orders can be made with ease.

With the company’s growth trajectory set to zoom in 2017, Indochino seems to have figured out the perfect way to maximise its ecommerce base with bricks-and-mortar omnichannel supplements.

The last word goes to CEO Drew Green, speaking in February this year.

"We pride ourselves in offering an exceptional experience that is personalized for every customer. Whether he's helped in a showroom by a Style Guide, follows our intuitive online ordering process at home or switches between the two, we want to simplify tailoring for today's man and, in the process, make sure he shops with us time and time again."

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About John Waldron: John Waldron is a technology and business writer for markITwrite digital content agency, based in Cornwall, UK. He writes regularly across all aspects of marketing and tech, including SEO, social media, FinTech, IoT, apps and software development.

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