If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”
– Jeff Bezos
By the end of 2018 Amazon is projected to surpass Macy’s as the largest United States retailer, eventually becoming the largest apparel retailer. Fashion retail is scrambling to adapt to the Amazon age. Retailers emphasize a new vocabulary as the end-all for how to adapt – but the new industry terms are more confusing and disconnected than Leonardo Dicaprio’s dating life during fashion week. Buzzwords include omnichannel, m-commerce, CX and IX. We did a deep dive to identify what buzzwords the customer wants to hear, and in doing so, we also discovered a big surprise.
Influencer marketing continues to be on the rise. New York Mag dubbed influencers the new fashion establishment (influencers accounted for 70% of Revolve’s $1 billion revenue in 2017). Warby Parker and Bonobos pioneered in-store shopping experiences, which have become the new norm for brick and mortar stores. StitchFix, a subscription-based styling company, recently IPO’d and their CEO Katrina Lake is accoladed as one of the few female CEO’s in Silicon Valley. This is where we discovered something surprising; in addition to StitchFix, female-founded stylist platforms are on the rise. Surprisingly though, they continue to be under the radar of the tech and retail industries. Lean-in as we examine another female-founded stylist platform, Wishi, and how it uses technology to disrupt the trillion-dollar retail industry.
Wishi, the name stands for Wear it, Share it, is quietly disrupting retail by solving three key problems: how to create a personal experience, how to offer efficient service, and how to build customer loyalty.
As summarized by Google in 2018 here is what the customer is expecting: “Expectations of instant personalization and total relevance are still climbing. People are changing what they search on Google: over the past two years the search term “__ for me” increased 60% and the search term “___should I __” increased 80%. In the past year, 40% of YouTube users turned to the platform to learn more about a product before they bought it. (Google) Before the purchase is complete, 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications with them. (Salesforce) Within six months after an omnichannel shopping experience, customers logged 23 more repeat shopping trips to the retailer’s store and were more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends than those customers who used a single channel. (Harvard Business Review).
Co-founders Aya Elhannan, Lia Kislev and Clea O’hana launched Wishi in 2015 as a solution to their friends frequently asked question “what should I wear tonight”. The founders’ combined experience in technology, business, and fashion makes them uniquely qualified. As it turns, on the average daily basis, women spend 20 minutes and men spend 15 minutes staring at their closet finding something to wear. That adds up to six and four months respectively spent each year trying to get dressed.
The technology behind Wishi is analogous to Waze, a practical tool to get you where you are going, with the help of crowdsourced information. Wishi is a practical tool to get you dressed with the help of personal advice. Getting started on the platform is an intuitive process, similar to creating a dating profile – answer a list of dropdown questions, upload pictures from your closet, and synch social media pictures to create context around your lifestyle. When it comes to choosing a stylist, clients have the option of letting Wishi match them upon completing the profile OR choosing a stylist before completing the profile. This is noteworthy because, in retail industry terms, it means that stylists are able to jump in and help clients at the beginning of the customer journey.
The average user demographic is a working mom in her mid-30s (women account for $7 trillion in spending and 85% of all consumer purchases). She has neither the time to search for the right outfit nor the patience to scroll through every Instagram influencer, celebrity endorsement, Pinterest board, and new e-commerce website. Instead of spending time scouring her closet and the internet, she trusts the Wishi stylist to mix and match her closet items (now uploaded into her online profile) and to send shoppable links for new items (based on the now completed profile questions). The stylist asks for feedback throughout the experience, keeping the client engaged and interactive. It surmounts to an instantly gratifying, personalized, shopping experience.
Wishi’s stylists are not paid on commission, which ensures they have free, unbiased reign to shop the internet for their clients. Non-commission-based transactions are unusual for retail sales, but it’s working. According to FarFetched, there is an 85% conversion to purchase rate when there is a Wishi stylist between the client and the product, making it much more likely that the client will purchase the item. According to Statista, by 2021, 53.9% of all retail e-commerce is expected to be generated via m-commerce – i.e. on mobile devices.
Available on the App Store, Wishi’s booking widget also integrates with social media (Instagram), music festivals (Coachella), dating apps (Bumble) and travel companies (Contiki). This is innovative for omnichannel; meet the customer in her context. It creates a proactive way for stylists to support the client. For example, did you know that the Google search “What to wear to a Taylor Swift concert” spiked by 1250% this summer? Wishi’s stylists could have predicted this even before Google trends reported it – stylists engage with clients before the Google search.
Wishi’s technology empowers human based relationships, and in turn, drives sales. Fashion retailers pay attention, female-founded Wishi is an innovator to watch. Let’s hear it for the girls. New York Fashion Week September 2018 watch out, wishi is behind fashion street style 2018.
Workville’s coworking space recently hosted Wishi for an interview (click here). Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the female founders in our network.
Download the wishi app to learn more about how it works.
For the fashionistas, follow Wishi’s Instagram to see what’s trending from New York’s Fashion Week 2018 and the latest fashion street style 2018.