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Real-time data allows BaubleBar to utilize a reactive business model to give customers what they want.
This story first appeared in the October 9, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
BaubleBar was founded by Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky, both of whom spoke on “Rethinking Merchandising: Responding to Customer Demands in Real Time.”
According to Jain, baublebar.com was launched in 2011 and has 70 employees. Its target customer is a female between ages 25 and 40. The site, which ships within the U.S. and to six countries overseas, gets three million monthly page views.
“Everything is done in-house, from design to manufacturing,” said Jain, adding that process allows the company to “fast speed” product to market. There are 800 stockkeeping units on the site. New products are introduced daily, including sampling of select designs to gauge customer feedback on what will sell. The site had “5,000 sku’s in 2012. We’re expanding to 7,500 sku’s in 2013,” Jain said.
Jain spoke of reaching customers at the front end, such as a loyalty rewards program, as well as at the back end, with vertical integration of customer feedback.
Integrating customer feedback allows the company to be “reactive to consumers, not predictive” in their behavior, according to Yacobovsky.
While BaubleBar is actively using a variety of social and digital media tools, Yacobovsky said, “The onus is on us to parse through it and capture the data.”
She said the company has used pop-up sites to gather data on customer feedback on merchandising in general, as well as merchandising by geography, and learning what trends are in vogue per locale.
“We use a reactive business model where customer behavior doesn’t end at fulfillment,” Yacobovsky said.
She explained that all departments are in communication with each other, such as the factory and the distribution center. The distribution center also has a SWAT team that can handle customer-service inquiries. Questions, concerns, ideas from customers and even what’s being ordered and how often are shared internally in what Yacobovsky describes as a “virtual cycle.”
“We look at what the customers want and in fact use that information to benefit us,” she said, acknowledging that the existing level of communication has resulted in a “higher sell-through.”
She added that by including the factories in the data-collection process, the company is “better at managing inventory and in speed to market” of designs.