Kate Foster NYDJ

Acquiring customers should be more about acquiring the right customers, and fashion brands are increasingly focusing on this, rather than customer retention.

“Acquisition is the new retention,” said Onestop Internet’s Dan Wallace-Brewster, who is vice president of corporate marketing at the e-commerce services provider. Wallace-Brewster and Kate Foster, who is chief marketing officer and executive vice president of customer experience at NYDJ Apparel LLC, which works with Onestop, shared their insights into the process of attracting new customers.

Both said that information gleaned from keeping current customers can inform the process of attracting new ones. “Acquisition doesn’t live in a vacuum,” Foster said. “Retention data can inform the best strategies to locate new customers.”

Wallace-Brewster recommended that retailers focus on what he calls soft conversions, meaning the everyday conversations that brands have with customers.

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In addition to utilizing data, Wallace-Brewster recommended removing friction in the moments of discovery and purchase. He cautioned retailers to “listen for sounds of silence,” meaning looking for lapses in a customer’s shopping journey.

He predicted that as mobile payment services such as Apple Pay continue to become available on mobile web sites, mobile commerce, meaning shopping on a smartphone, stands to “become amazing.”

Conversion rates, meaning the number of customers who actually make a purchase after shopping, can almost double when Apple Pay is enabled, he said. “When you consider the fact that 50 to 60 percent of your traffic is coming from smartphones, and then you double conversion rates? You do the math, it’s going to be a pretty good 2017. Technology is finally catching up to customer demand.”

Apple Pay on an iPhone, which was only available on apps until recently, allows customers to save payment and shipping information and to check out with the touch of a finger, which solves the clunky mobile checkout process that often leads to “abandoned cart syndrome.”

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He added that customers increasingly want packages faster, and that while it was not sustainable for brands to attempt to compete with Amazon, click-and-collect is an option for brands in large cities.

Finally, Foster added that serving the core customer by providing them authenticity was an increasing focus for NYDJ; these customers spend as much as three times as much as the average consumer and become evangelists for the brand. “Don’t chase an unprofitable customer,” Foster said.