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By Zoe Ghani, CTO, The Iconic
At THE ICONIC, our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so it’s crucial our technology creates a great customer experience. This inherent customer-centric approach has been our key driver for accelerated growth and is the backbone of our success. It starts with always having the shopping experience for the end-user front of mind. While we enjoy releasing new and exciting features across the shopping journey, we always look for the best tech to solve the problem instead of looking for the problem to fit the latest tech.
In less than 8 years, THE ICONIC has grown from a handful of employees to over 900 people across our headquarters and fulfillment centre and receive over 150 million visits annually (an average of over 13-14 million per month). We have Australia and New Zealand’s most downloaded fashion app, having achieved 2 million downloads to date across iOS and Android. With seven out of every 10 visits to THE ICONIC taking place on a mobile device, mobile-first experiences are a leading priority for our tech team.
In 2018, we added over 300 new brands to the site coming to a total of over 1,000 brands and 60,000 products on site with over 200 new products added each day. This rapid level of increase in product assortment means our user experience must help our shoppers find the right products and make decisions about styling, sizing, delivery and returns easily. To solve these challenges, we take the approach of helping customers find the products they will love through customization, personalization, style advice and visual search.
We provide customers with customization through our ‘Follow the Brand’ feature, where users tell us what brands they want to see more of by selecting the brands they want to ‘follow’. This allows them to filter and prioritize the catalogue from these brands thus narrowing down the catalogue to their preferences.
One example of our personalization offering is provided through a personal feed on the app. For example, users will be prompted when ‘sold out’ wishlisted’ items are available again and a ‘Recently Viewed’ module allows users to pick up where they left off from their last app or desktop browsing experience.
Operating in e-commerce means we need to overcome physical barriers between the item and the customer who wants it
We also support users via visual search, as it can be hard to describe or select filter criteria for an item you are looking for. The ‘Snap to Shop’ feature allows a user to simply take a picture of an item of clothing (i.e. something a person might be wearing in the street or an item seen in a shop window or Instagram) and upload this photo into our app where they will be matched with similar (or the same) SKUs available on THE ICONIC.
Style advice is challenging for all retail customers, let alone when shopping online with no shop assistant available to provide advice or guidance. Our ‘Wear it With’ feature offers customers suggested products to wear or pair with the product they are viewing. ‘Wear it With’ is powered by an algorithm that suggests options for each product to complete the look, which are then approved by a content producer as being a good outfit combination. This feature is one of our most used features amongst our customer base and we are in the process of tagging our entire catalogue over the next few months.
Size and fit can be a pain point for our customers given you cannot try items on when purchasing online. We have developed a sizing tool called ‘Find Your Fit’ that helps customers determine the most appropriate size for the product they’re purchasing. By answering a few questions about measurements, body shape and size a user wears with a similar brand, our ‘Find Your Fit’ tool provides a sizing recommendation based on the brand or product the user wishes to buy. This recommendation also leverages data from our customers purchase and returns data to personalize their fit recommendation alongside similar size profiles of others who also purchased the same product to increase accuracy.
Operating in e-commerce means we need to overcome physical barriers between the item and the customer who wants it. For this reason, our delivery proposition is super important. We believe that instant gratification is here to stay, as shoppers want their purchases as soon as possible and in the most convenient way. This means we must continue to improve our delivery proposition of fast and convenient on-time delivery. This is why we now offer customers the option of free Saturday delivery because we know customers aren’t always able to be home at the time of delivery or have their order delivered to their place of work.
At THE ICONIC, we know our people are our strongest asset and our 100 strong tech is crucial to maintaining and improving our customer and user experience. Without their innovative thinking, dedication, ideation and passion, it would be impossible to move fast and solve shopping problems that our customers have. We are also heavily investing in data sciences to enhance user experience, with our data science team set to double in 2019 to over 20 employees, despite being created only a year ago.