Sustainability is indispensable for companies because the importance of sustainable business for consumers is exploding. It’s no longer enough for retailers and manufacturers to fool around with environmental friendliness; in fact, they must act in this way – and in the long term.
We’re all constantly being confronted in the news with the consequences of uncontrolled overproduction, increasing marine pollution and, last but not least, climate change. E-commerce has changed and simplified our lives, but has also created a cityscape of vans and garbage cans full of packaging.
Companies often rightly wonder if they can continue to grow without harming the environment. The answer is yes, but the risk that RSC strategies will remain mere lip service is high.
One question is rattling around in my head: Why are products mutating into services? One symptom is the exponential growth of subscription box services in the US: the number of visits on these websites has increased by almost 3,000 per cent over the past three years (from 722,000 in 2013 to 21.4 million in 2016).
The fact is that consumers increasingly appreciate the value of their free time and, consequently, look for formulas that let them use their time effectively. As a result, the shoppers’ main demands are directly related to their time management: personalisation and instant gratification in the form of faster and more convenient deliveries.
It is therefore not surprising that curated services based on subscription models are lately succeeding in sectors in which online stores are struggling to pave the way for the digital market, such as beauty and cosmetics (with pioneers Birchbox), lingerie (with Adore Me) and fresh food (like HelloFresh).
One of the online fashion industries problem zones is the rate of returns. Doesn’t fit, don’t like it, looks different from the picture – in order to save time and nerves, and to raise the hit rate, customers often order the same piece of clothing in multiple sizes. The rest is then sent back, or even all of it, if it isn’t liked. No one wins here, it costs the retailers and the extra effort does not make the customer happy. Zalando is the most obvious example of the problem of returns.
In the past, the mail order business had already heightened the attractiveness of their online shop through customer service, better descriptions, photos, and sometime also with videos and customer reviews. However, this didn’t do much about the basic problem.
The concept has been known for a long time for flights and hotel rooms: when they are booked is decisive for the price. The Wall Street Journal wrote a little while ago, that the process has now spread to consumer goods, which should already sound familiar to Amazon shoppers. The whole thing calls itself dynamic pricing strategy.
Who’d have thought it? In the USA, men have overtaken women in online shopping.
Looking at the abundance of new business models which the men, and only the men, have declared their new target group, this news does not seem so surprising. A good example is the service of DollarShaveClub.com. It isn’t just the prices of the subscription razors there that are convincing, but the corresponding viral video as well.
Several start-ups are currently attempting to create a satisfying shopping experience for men and to overcome the hurdles which put them off classic shopping. Even if men appear to be a simpler target group, there is still room for improvement. It has been proved that women make the more satisfied online customers.
Now that startups, such as Outifttery and Modomoto, have well established male dominated model curated shopping, Kisura is the start of personal shopping services exclusively for women. We were especially interested in how this business model was adjusted for a female target group, a target group well known to be one of the final puzzles in e-commerce. We spoke with CEO Tanjoa Bogumil about curated shopping and gender commerce.