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Fast fashion retailer H&M recently launched its latest haute couture collaboration with French design house Balmain. Within minutes of the launch, the line sold out both online and in stores, leaving hordes of frustrated and disappointed customers.
Historically, designers pair with fast fashion retailers to bring haute couture to the masses and to make previously unaffordable goods affordable. For retailers, this pairing has provided a chance to offer differentiated merchandise to shoppers. While it does not necessarily impact their bottom line, it boosts the buzz about their brand. For designers, they can reach a new audience and seize an opportunity to build loyalty with shoppers at an early age.
Yet while retailers and designers benefit from this arrangement, the customer’s experience seems to have been left out of the equation. Target’s 2013 collaboration with Missoni caused Target.com to crash days before the line even went on sale while its 2014 partnership with Lilly Pulitzer flew off the shelves within hours. In each case, customers left not only empty-handed, but disappointed they did not even have a chance to make a purchase. Couple that with an aggressive resale market and the customer experience goes from bad to abysmal. Shoppers desperate for a garment are left to search online resellers – offering a second hand experience for many times higher than the original retail price (and often near the premium brand’s own designer price tag).
H&M-Balmain jacket originally $549, for sale on eBay for $1,600
If so many customers are left unhappy, how can a retailer use CX tools to help? Before undertaking a collaboration, retailers should remember the following four key points:
These are just a few key elements that will help improve the customer’s experience thus creating a more satisfied, and more likely to return, customer.
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