Saks.com has introduced Saks Stylist, a redesigned personal stylist and shopping service.
The new service is complimentary to all Saks Fifth Avenue customers and was created in partnership with Wishi, a software company cofounded by Hollywood stylist Karla Welch, which combines proprietary technology and real-life styling expertise.
Customers take a short quiz on saks.com, providing details about their personal style and shopping needs. They will be asked to describe their style, what designers they like, their body type and size, colors and patterns they prefer, among other questions.
Based on this information, the customer is matched with a personal stylist who will reply with curated recommendations within 24 hours. Customers may provide feedback to their stylist who can then provide updated options accordingly. Once a relationship is established, the customer is able to reengage their stylist for assistance at any time in the future.
There is no minimum spend required to work with a stylist. “One of the ways we think it really differentiates us is this service is complimentary for all customers. We’re focused on making luxury shopping online really exciting but we also want to make it really easy. We think this is one of those tangible ways that we do that,” said Emily Essner, chief marketing officer at Saks.
“We’re pairing customers with individual stylists who are best able to meet his or her needs,” Essner said. Once they get their recommendations, Essner said it’s a jumping off point. “It’s pretty easy and very mobile friendly,” she said. After the transaction is over, the customer can continue to interact with that particular stylist, if they like.
“We really want to be able to create relationships between the stylist and our customers,” Essner said. She said the stylists are from all over the country and work remotely. “It allows us to tap into fantastic stylists who don’t have to be in one geographic area, and they work for Wishi and are dedicated to Saks. We have given them training in terms of our edit and important brands. It should feel to our customer as a Saks stylist,” she continued.
Essner noted that Saks continues to have in-house personal stylists and personal shoppers whom they continue to work with, both online and in-store.
Welch, who is a celebrity stylist for such stars as Tracee Ellis Ross, Busy Philipps, Elisabeth Moss and Justin Bieber, told WWD that while the Wishi platform is a business to consumer platform, “our secret weapon is we’re really good for business to business.”
She explained that even today, shopping on the internet can be so mind-blogging, “so to be able to have that connectedness and experts in the space, it’s like having your best personal shoppers on the floor,” she said.
“Our goal is to become an indispensable part of your shopping experience and of your dressing experience,” Welch said. “Life isn’t all events, it’s about getting dressed everyday and feeling great, and that’s the power of that relationship.”
One of the most important features, she believes, is that using a stylist helps cut down or eliminate returns. “There’s a lot of mindless shopping, and the customer thinks, ‘I’ll just return it.’ But it’s not great for the environment,” Welch said. “If we’re working together and I told you these jeans will be absolutely perfect for you, you are more likely to buy them. It’s added boost of confidence and the added truth,” she said.
She said the combination of the AI and the personal touch really pinpoint what somebody will like. “The point of having a great stylist, they’ll give you four to choose from and these are the best four. It’s to inspire, not overwhelm,” she said.
Welch said she will set aside of group of stylists that will work for Saks. “Like a good salesperson, you’re there to make the sale. If you’re a Saks customer, you’re coming to shop at Saks. There’s no pressure. You can spend zero, you can spend thousands. Our stylists aren’t commission based. They’re paid per customer they serve. It’s amazing for Saks to offer this service. It means they care deeply for their customer and they want to increase their online business and bring that Saks hospitality to the online space,” Welch said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated due to an inaccurate number provided by Welch about the site’s increase in engagement in the first five hours of the stylist program. Saks said the number given was inaccurate and declined to disclose the increase.
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