Cotton On brings in customer analytics tools to upscale CX efforts

Cotton On wanted to better understand its customers

Customer experience is crucial for brands moving into the future, as consumers become less interested in products and more interested in experiences.

This was one of the key drivers for Cotton On to recently implement InMoment to consolidate all customer experience (CX) intelligence efforts across the organisation’s eight brands including Cotton On, Cotton On Body, Cotton On Kids, Factorie, T-bar, Rubi Shoes, Typo and Supré and multiple markets. The Cotton On Group currently has around a 20 per cent share of the fast fashion market. 

InMoment is a cloud-based customer experience intelligence platform. Cotton On signed with them four months ago, and then spent a month on implementation.

Cotton On group head of digital customer experience, Peter Hutchison, said he wanted a partner that can move with the group on the CX journey, because the better they understand what customers think about feel about their experiences, the better the group can serve them.

This follows Cotton On actively chasing online and expecting it to be 30 per cent of growth next year by adopting a full-funnel approach to digital encompassing four strategic pillars: Acquiring more customers, engaging better, and then converting and retaining them at higher numbers. The digital team spent the last year re-platforming the ecommerce site onto Salesforce Commerce Cloud to drive efficiency and better technical capability, as well as better engage, convert and care for customers.

Prior to signing with InMoment, Cotton On tested a basic feedback program within its ecommerce business. In two years, the company received more than 500,000 feedback points and significant insights into how to improve both the customer experience and financial outcomes. Inspired by this success, the company created a plan to scale the initiative across the family of brands, and sought a scalable enterprise solution to address this.

“In InMoment, we found the right balance between an enterprise platform and the agility of a tech-lead company, giving us confidence that they can handle our scale, and also move quickly. The technology in this space is amazing and we know it will only become more powerful," Hutchison told CMO.

"We want a partner that can move with us on that journey, ensuring we understand that our more than 17,000 team members are armed with the insights to consistently focus their efforts on what matters most. We are already quite a customer-centric business, but we used instinct, years of experience and sales data to determine what our customer thinks and feels.

“Whether a customer did or didn’t buy something is not that telling of what we need to improve. InMoment is really about getting that actual feedback from the customer, similar to if we stopped customers in store, and getting that in scale." 

At a global level, getting those messages right and whose responsibility is to fix, is harder, Hutchison continued. "At a head office level across all of our businesses, we wanted to know what are the key things hindering us or impeding on CX, and then at store level how to know whether team is performing well on the ground or if there are things we need to fix," he said. 

Uniting in-store with online

Cotton On asks customers about their experience when they check out. But in-store is harder, because the customer has left the store. With multiple brands and a complicated hierarchy, it was also vital to find a tool that could work across the group seamlessly.

Hutchison said the retailer will use its recently launched loyalty program as the key enabler to make InMoment really work. The platform has been operating for around three months.

While Hutchison expected a lot of big issues to fix as the result of the feedback, he has been pleasantly surprised.

“The most surprising thing for me, taking into account we are asking those who are already in the loyalty program, is how happy our customers are. I thought we’d be 10-15 points lower than we are. I was planning on uncovering lots of business challenges we were going to go and fix and have a big impact, and we are doing a bit of that, but not as much as I was expecting,” he said.

“Most of the things  bringing down our stores are at an isolated level. Perhaps team members are not empowered, or training has fallen down, and we have systems in place for all that, which are clearly working.”

With people less interested in products, and more interested in experiences, CX is crucial moving forward, as it making the process for customers seamless and without friction, Hutchison said.

“People are willing to sacrifice to have experiences rather than possessions, so I think retails needs to offer both a great experience, as well as a product with a great price point," he said. “People want to shop where they want, and how they want. Our job in retail is the right products at the right time before they even knew they needed it, as much as whether the store looks great.

“I think consumers want to have a better life from having shopped that brand, but mostly they want it to be easy. They also don’t want too much interaction, particularly online. You want your customer to say your website was OK, but they can’t really remember it, because it was seamless.”

InMoment CEO, Andrew Joiner, said new retail market entrants focused uniquely on the customer experience are disrupting and leading, leaving many traditional players struggling.

“Brands like Cotton On are thriving in this new approach. The company’s deep commitment to delivering value to their customers is part of their DNA," he said. "Taking this next step to bring modern technology and advanced data science to the art of customer understanding will ensure the brand maintains its market prowess and growth.”

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