Instead of expounding on Eloquii, a plus-size fast-fashion retailer, and its merits, Mariah Chase, the brand’s chief executive offer, used her session at WWD’s Digital Forum in New York to discuss the future.
“We have to think about what’s next,” said Chase, who joined the Eloquii team after it was shut down by The Limited and relaunched by investors. “We have to act in the present and know what’s now, but we have to see what’s coming down the road and predict what might be around the curve.”
According to Chase, conversational commerce, which allows customers to purchase items within messenger apps or platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, is where the rate of change is the fastest. Chase said Facebook recently announced it would begin to offer payment options within the Facebook Messenger platform.
“This could be the evolution of Facebook commerce,” Chase said. “We’ve decided that instead of building an app right now, we are going to pursue conversational commerce. We never hear our customers asking for an app.”
Another area of interest for Chase, who believes digital commerce is eroding pricing power, is dynamic pricing, a mechanism that would price items based on supply and demand, a strategy that’s often used in the travel and hospitality industries.
“We are trying to build brand equity around the idea of scarcity,” Chase said. “There’s FOMO, but as a brand we actually talk with our customers about FOSO, the fear of selling out. We feel that’s something that will potentially be a precursor to dynamic pricing.”
Fashion brands and retailers have doubled down on creating content for the past few years, but Chase predicts that in the future, content, specifically within video, will be less focused on selling product, but it will provide a seamless path to purchase.
“Is the next ‘Modern Family’ created, produced and distributed by Target? Is the next hit show like ‘Girls’ created, produced and distributed by Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal or Eloquii? It could be and it would be entertainment for entertainment’s sake,” Chase said. “It’s just a great show and it’s so good in fact that you can sell advertising against it.”
In terms of content targeted to the plus-size consumer, Eloquii wants to offer its customers more elevated content.
“There is no Vogue for this customer,” Chase said. “What helps sell women’s clothing is inspiration, beautiful imagery and building a dream and part of a lifestyle. If you don’t see it, you can’t believe it, so we are taking a real bet on content and you will continue to see more and more of that from us.”
While Chase said Eloquii, which recently expanded its executive team, will move into brick-and-mortar in a very controlled and limited way, virtual reality, which could allow shoppers to have an in-store experience from their couch, is top of mind for the team.
“When you look at the big companies, they are putting a ton of investment dollars behind virtual reality.”
When asked what Eloquii is doing today to differentiate itself in the growing plus-size market, Chase said the brand is taking merchandising risks many players have been scared to take, speaking directly with its customer on a daily basis and acting on the feedback as soon as they can.