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Data and customer journey maps are critical in fashion biz

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Accessing data in your fashion business means behaviour insights and an opportunity to improve.  No matter the business, every entrepreneur should be using data to make informed business decisions to improve experiences.  

So, where does data come from and how do you make sense of dashboards, spreadsheets and analytics?  

Data, very simply is the collection of facts and statistics for the purposes of reference or analysis.  In the context of everyday business, data is being collected from software programs and apps used to keep a business running and engaged with customers.  

Software and processes such as social media, websites, CRM contacts, email subscribers, inventory, logistics, purchases and returns are a handful of essential data points showing business owners what is happening across each department.  This information uncovers the good, the bad and the black holes in business.

The translation of data can be viewed in multiple formats such as visual dashboards, reports, graphs, percentages and spreadsheets.  The way a business leverages data is critical to making improvements, so keeping an eye on analytics should be a regular task for business stakeholders.  Transactional data is particularly useful for fashion businesses to see what products are selling, not selling, sitting in carts, and being returned.

Assigning goals, milestones and five key measures of success (these are decided between business stakeholders and heads of departments), enable business owners to benchmark operational performance over time.  Learn to love your data!

But, what does using data look like in practice?  

The best place to begin is with a customer journey map, an interactive exercise every business should implement.  I use journey maps in marketing regularly as it can be an unexpected source of business truth bombs.

It’s the combination of procedure and behaviour, by documenting how a biz builds brand awareness, to the activities in creating advocacy.  One thing to emphasise, never take business data personally. A brand’s fans are reacting to what’s in front of them at the time of discovery/engagement/purchase.

Customer journey maps can be used for eCommerce and physical retail stores, as an example below is a generic map with multiple data points.  Typically, there are additional layers included on a map, however this is to show how to get started. When it comes to your business, the activities under each section are what you do to: raise awareness; information for customers to consider; where and how customers purchase; what you do to retain customers and; how you build customer advocacy.  

Customer Journey Map Example.jpg

A customer journey map should be specific to the business and it’s a great opportunity for teams to get involved and collaborate.  The contextual conversations will bring to the surface issues that some teams may have been experiencing and as a result communicate how those challenges are impacting other parts of the customer journey.  Stakeholders are better informed when business data and customer journey maps are integrated, and teams are more likely to raise ideas for improvement that are holistic in thought and execution.

When it comes to improvements, the aim should be about providing a better experience, rather than chasing the next transaction.  Delightful experiences bring transactions and advocacy, and advocacy is the north star for a retailers.

To wrap up in a paragraph, data is your friend and business stakeholders should use it to create wonderful experiences for their customers.  It’s imperative that data is shared across the business, as sometimes you can be surprised by who has the answers to some of the ‘known unknowns’ which can stifle business growth, team productivity and new ideas.

For more information have a read of this article by Shopify - How to Map a Customer Journey in Ecommerce: The Data Behind Consumer Psychology and Experience.

Written by Saskia Fairfull, founding member of the Independent Fashion Advisory Board (IFAB). Connecting tech startups with fashion businesses.