Rebecca Minkoff is a millennial-owned brand focused on attracting millennial customers. Uri Minkoff, co-founder and CEO of Rebecca Minkoff, spoke about his plans to “future proof” the company during the session “Future-proof: Building a Fashion Brand for the Millennial Consumer” at Shoptalk yesterday.
Minkoff gave four key ways he sees this happening within the Rebecca Minkoff brand:
Rebecca Minkoff is a company at the crossroads of technology and fashion. The retailer was the first to implement magic mirror technology in its stores, and also was an early adopter of self-checkout. In fact, Rebecca Minkoff launched self-checkout the same day Amazon Go debuted.
The technologies allow customers to curate their own in-store experiences. If they want a fully private experience, they can do that and never have to talk to a store associate with self-checkout. Minkoff explained that it’s important to focus on the customer journey — her pain points and how she wants to experience the brand.
Data is the most important piece of the puzzle for understanding each customer, Minkoff said. The entire company is aligned on data. Every transaction, whether in-store or online, is tracked. Minkoff explains that this allows his team to discover extremely granular details about what’s happening across the brand. For example, what’s the best-selling item at that exact moment in Los Angeles.
Up next, Minkoff is adding social media, inventory and wholesale data to the mix. This data will allow the brand to determine what the social sentiment is in a certain area or what its wholesale partners’ needs are at any given moment.
Minkoff also showed off an integration with Amazon’s Alexa. He asked Alexa what the best-selling product was over the last year and what was the best-seller in New York City specifically. Alexa was able to quickly comb through the data and answer him. This is extremely valuable to fast-moving retail teams trying to make decisions on the fly.
3. Business Model
Rebecca Minkoff was also the first brand to debut the “see, buy, wear” model, something Minkoff says was a complete business transformation.
Earlier this year, Rebecca Minkoff hosted a fashion show at The Grove in Los Angeles. It was a full brand experience — and other brands got involved as well. Fans were able to meet bloggers and influencers (some of which even walked the runway as models); Nordstrom sponsored a yoga session; Lauren Conrad hosted a pop-up shop; and Keke Palmer gave a talk at the Barnes & Noble store at The Grove.
“We leveraged all the different brands on site to offer an amazing experience,” says Minkoff.
However, the see, buy, wear model doesn’t come without its own set of logistical issues. The issues Rebecca Minkoff — said to be one year into the two-year transformation process — is facing include supply chain, lead times and excess product leading to markdowns.
“It’s a complete reorganization, down to who sits where in the office,” explained Minkoff. “This is where the fashion industry is going.”
Instead of the usual lead time of products hitting a store after one year, Rebecca Minkoff’s products are available in-store within 10 days to 14 weeks. To do this, the company produces more of its merchandise domestically and in Europe.
4. Customer Relationship Management in the Digital World
The Internet of Things was a popular topic at Shoptalk, and Minkoff touched on it in his presentation. But how does apparel and accessories relate to the IoT?
Rebecca Minkoff answered this question with a connected “smart bag.” Owners of this bag can use it to scan products, and the more they scan, the more they get. For example, the first scan got customers invited to the fashion show at The Grove, then subsequent scans gave customers access to exclusive media, products recommendations, etc.
Shoppers are more inclined to wear the Rebecca Minkoff bag because every scan opens up new possibilities — and this fosters brand loyalty. The CEO also shared that his sister, brand namesake Rebecca Minkoff, can work to connect other partner brands to the bag, giving shoppers discounts on concert tickets or reservations to restaurants, for example.
Minkoff stresses that brands have to know everything about their customers: Who are they? What music do they like? Where do they shop? What are their favorite restaurants? This allows more a more personalized and authentic experience, especially with partner brands and the “smart bag.”
Minkoff gave the audience three takeaways to remember when attracting millennial shoppers:
- Know what is it that makes your brand different.
- A/B test “all day long,” from merchandise to product photography to marketing and more.
- Always be thinking about where IoT is going.