In the latest WWD produced webinar, “Building a Perpetual Customer Loyalty Strategy,” Craig Harris, industry principal, apparel at Oracle NetSuite, and Imran Kahn, chief executive officer at Verishop, joined WWD executive editor Arthur Zaczkiewicz in discussing finding creative and effective ways to interact with today’s consumer while building brand loyalty.
With dramatic shifts in consumer behavior due to the pandemic, every interaction online is an opportunity to earn consumer loyalty.
Verishop’s mission is to change the way people shop, by combining inspiration and discoverability with best-in-class experience. In many ways, the platform reflects that the way people now discover products is changing, from following influencers to browsing friends’ social media pages. At the same time, Verishop recognizes the importance of customer service in the consumer journey and offers 24-hour customer service communication, free two-day shipping and free returns.
“The biggest thing we observed [when we were starting Verishop] was that as different industries were going through digitization, we were not seeing digitization of the mall experience,” Kahn said. “You go to a specialty store to buy a specific kind of product and there are a lot of specialist shops to go to for that, but you wouldn’t want to hang out or experience discovery or the inspiration that the mall experience [provides]. That mall experience is inherently social and it also has the convenience of commerce, so what we wanted to create was being that mall experience.”
Verishop, which launched in June of last year, gave voice to more than 100 brands, many of which are small, independent brands or have a focus on civil rights. Today, the platform hosts 800-plus brands.
“It is a platform where consumers can discover brands from digital-first brands to indie brands or brands with a strong voice,” Kahn said. “And when you purchase you don’t need to worry about the logistics service and shipping fee. The thing is that a lot of times you come across a brand and you really like this brand but you don’t know whether your payment is safe; [at Verishop] we do all of those things for you. You now are getting the same experience you would in-store but you get to learn about the brand stories, you get to discover new brands and you get to shop this brand on our site.”
According to Harris, the access to new, smaller brands is a large motivating factor in the consumer journey. “A Nielsen research survey found that 92 percent of U.S. consumers are looking for new brands and new products,” Kahn said. Notably, he added, this also impacts consumer loyalty.
“One of the biggest things that we learned about the Millennials, is that Millennials like to have a different voice, they like to differentiate from the crowd and they like to support brands that have differentiated voice and a socially conscientious voice,” Kahn said. “We wanted to create a platform for everybody where you can find all this across all categories.”
Put simply, Kahn said, Verishop works to merge the convenience of shopping on top e-commerce platforms with discovery and inspiration, which is ultimately missing in traditional commerce today.
Verishop’s app, Harris said is “synonymous with walking down Fifth Avenue and looking at things up.”
“It’s a really cool experience,” Harris said of the app’s storytelling. “And I don’t think it’s a misplaced notion, but there’s almost an analogous down in the rabbit hole sort of aspect to it where I go in and I’m just going to look at something and then 15 minutes go by [because] I got immersed in the shopping experience.”
The experience, Kahn said, is important because the way consumers take in any media looks different today, including content consumption of social media, music and entertainment.
The “secret sauce,” said Harris, is recognizing and bringing together concepts that engage today’s shopping behaviors on a platform curated with interesting brands. “It’s those core concepts that [Verishop] really is reinforcing as its value proposition with safe secure shopping, interesting brands, things you’re not going to get somewhere else, all sort of curated and crafted toward a [consumer’s personal] lifestyle.”
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