Posted by Steven Lippman, Senior Pre Sales Solution Consultant

Business classes tend to categorize shoppers into four different types: the bargain hunter, the researcher, the impulse shopper and the loyal shopper.

But, they tend to leave out one important type. The non-shoppers, those who dislike shopping – anywhere, anytime - and avoid it at all costs

I’m one of them. I don’t know what to buy. I don’t remember prices and I don’t have the patience or time to dig through that hidden sales rack to find that perfect shirt or pair of pants.

Lucky for me and all the other non-shoppers out there, there are companies, like online subscription retailers, that specialize in understanding the non-shopper and in making the shopping experience enjoyable for them.
For anywhere between $15.99/Month to $75/month, I get to have a whole team of stylistas and fashionistas surprise and delight me with an assortment of products selected based on my customer profile and sent directly to me at my house or office.

Subscription service companies like Fancy, Trunk Club and Mantry provide looks and style ideas, apparel, accessories and gadgets. Services like these spare me from having to spend hours searching for my style, my size or my signature look. Every month, these companies do the heavy lifting for me. But, to do that requires a robust and capable ecommerce platform that’s able to capture and leverage customer and order records to offer a tailored shopping experience. An experience that shoppers like me can really appreciate.

Here’s how they do it.

Customer Profile: The successful subscription retailers have taken the time to architect very rich customer profiles. They have built trust with their customers and have been able to gather data around likes and dislikes across a variety of product categories.

Order Management: The data in these rich customer profiles can then be mined and combined with supplier inventory levels, lead times, inventory position and financial considerations to build a monthly box to always surprise, delight and encourage each customer to stick with the plan continue to pay the monthly fee.

Fulfillment: I love it when my monthly box arrives. I’m even reminded with a shipping confirmation email. The smartest of the subscription box retailers pay extra attention to packaging. My monthly box doesn’t look like any old ecommerce delivery. The box is screen printed and branded. It has whimsical messaging, it is inviting me to open it and is teasing me with what its content might be. It’s like when I was a kid and got to pick out of the grab bag.

Iteration: It’s not enough to have your customers fill out a survey or profile questionnaire only once at the beginning of the subscription contract. Succesful subscription service companies continually request feedback and additional profile attributes. They keep adding to and refining the customer profile and use that to select those products that your shoppers are counting on.

Systems: Their software system is extensible to store all of the attributes for customer profiles, supplier profiles and product information management. Without scalable and automated systems, there’s no way to personalize the shopping experience.

The point is, it’s all about the data. You need a system will allow you to capture the data, store the data, and act on the information found quickly and easily. Any retailer can become style experts for it’s customer and tailor their marketing offers to increase the chance of the customer acting on it. Please continue to help shoppers like me. We really appreciate it!