ModCloth comes from humble beginnings in a dorm room. The company, founded in 2008, has grown in leaps in bounds since its inception. Including a 600% growth rate over the last two years and an annual revenue of over 150 million in 2014.
One of the mainstays of ModCloth’s expert marketing strategy is their customer engagement. The company leverages their brand advocates and creates inclusive social media communities where fans can review products, post pictures of themselves wearing Modcloth apparel, take part in the design and purchase of inventory, and discuss all things ModCloth.
ModCloth approaches their marketing like a single complex ecosystem and integrates intimacy and engagement into a cohesive multi-channel marketing strategy (Hanna et al.Modcloth).
To make it personal: I am a ModCloth brand advocate. My closet is filled with their clothes, and I often wear their garments to high profile events, and I brag to everyone that Modcloth is my favorite website on the Internet. That’s a lot of trust to put into a company that doesn’t have bricks and mortar stores. Why do I do this? Modcloth has nurtured a relationship with me since I first signed up to their website over two years ago. They’ve accomplished this by responding to my negative feedback on purchases and offering me refunds, they sent me an e-card and coupon on my Modcloth birthday, and they even responded to my Tweets for quotes for this post. I trust Modcloth, and I kinda feel like they are my BFF, and that is exactly why they nail customer engagement.
ModCloth uses three pillars in the social engagement strategy according to ModCloth Senior Social Media Specialist Ashely Boone:
Boone says, “We want to be proactive and friendly with “our girl”. She’s a part of our Community and we want to hear what she has to say. Even if it’s negative feedback, we take that 100% to heart because we want to create a fun and inclusive shopping experience.”
The three pillars of ModCloth’s social strategy can be viewed in the following examples.
Contests: Name it and Win it- provides customers the chance to name new products and if their name is chosen they win the garment.
Be the Buyer: Clients are involved in the inventory control by voting on which designs and colors they want for new pieces. This practice allows Modcloth to obtain critical user feedback on products, without engaging in costly and potentially invasive research. It also communicates to customers that their needs are important to the company.
Make the Cut: This contest gets fans to submit their designs for a chance to win. If their design is chosen, it is sold on the site with their name listed as the designer.
Reviews: The extensive customer feedback section on their site encourages clients to comment on the clothes they’ve ordered and post selfies of them in the clothes (over 6000 photos have been posted since the feature launch in 2012). In fact, a reminder email is sent a few weeks after purchase asking for feedback. Site moderators respond to both positive and negative feedback on the site. This promotes transparency because it focuses on ensuring that customers are aware of any issues with quality and fit before purchase. Boone says, “I think once you peek at our responses to our customers, you’ll see we try to be friendly, transparent and empathetic as possible.”
“Our customer engagement has been a huge part of our business and success. Being online only we haven’t been able to have a physical presence where customers can come out and see us and experience the brand, so it’s important to have all those interactions whether it’s through social media or our site or customer care and ensure that they’re personal and really represent the brand well,” Susan Koger, Modcloth Founder
By focusing on building enduring relationships with their most dedicated clients, ModCloth can gain information on what their customers want and what they like. By asking for user generated content they build a community around a common subject; love of ModCloth.
These approaches to customer engagement allow ModCloth to create customized content tailored to needs to their consumer base. ModCloth is relatable, like your best friend, or cool co-worker. By breaking down barriers to communication and involving their customers every step of the way Modcloth not only nails customer engagement but creates fiercely loyal brand advocates.