Dear Stitch Fix: How You Can Help Me Love You More (I Really Want To)
Submitted over 3 years Ago
Dear Stitch Fix -
I'm probably one of Stitch Fix's biggest potential fans and customers. Stitch Fix is personal styling for men and women that sends clothing to your door with free shipping & returns.
Why? It should be my dream come true. I have a busy career, I'm a parent, I'm female. I have other things to do besides going to the mall. As I type this, my rescue puppy is probably eating my house. While I love to dress well, I have no patience for going from store to store or dealing with online shopping returns. Even if I had the patience, I couldn't put together an outfit as well as I want to. Real talk, there were periods where I just wore all black to work so I didn't have to deal. To further complicate matters, I live in the Bay Area so I face the 'Bay Area women in tech what to wear' clothing challenge daily.
Moreover, I absolutely believe that by using technology, looking fashionable should - just - be - easier. I have tried other remote stying services in the past. In general, I am a fan of outsourcing tasks whenever possible. I get meal kits delivered. Amazon Prime and I are on a first name basis. As a technology executive and software engineer, I can appreciate the possibilities yet also have lived the presssure to ship software. I get that. So with the utmost appreciation for all you have already done, let me offer a few suggestions ...
Ideas how Stitch Fix can be the brand I can't live without:
Get to "great" with me sooner.
I have now received numerous months of deliveries (5? Can't tell from my account or see what I have kept?) and it's just starting to get good. I'm usually not this patient, but I dove into this as an experiment. Get to great within 2 maybe 3 deliveries or you will lose people.
Figure out my color palette upfront in the diagnostic. Do you even know that I have blond hair and green eyes? Do you know that I wear glasses? Make it easy for me. I don't want to decipher if I am a 'spring' or 'fall' don't ask it that way. How about just having me upload a picture or better yet I can allow you temp access to my social accounts to grab my profile picture (authenticate me via oath with Facebook or Twitter or Linkedin to import my profile picture). But don't ever allow your app to post, and don't require me to accept terms that let you fish out oddly unrelated personal info.
Understand my preferences sooner, in an easy manner. Please don't ask me to use Pinterest and pin my favorites and send to my stylist. I haven't spent more than 5 minutes on Pinterest, ever. I find it really inefficient. Beyond that, don't make we work that hard. How about giving me a Tinder-like app where I can just swipe left or right on styles I like and you record those preferences in your database?
One area Stitch Fix can excel is by cutting out that annoying shopping step where each brand sizing is different. For me, I can wear anything from a Small to a Large, depending on brand. Ordering online makes me read all those comments to see if users say it's smaller or larger than normal, then order a size that does not fit, ship back, repeat. Ugh. Please handle this step for me. On several occasions, I have sent Sitch Fix selections back that I love the style but the fit was way too big or too small in really obvious ways. Don't always send me a Medium because it says Medium on my profile! Have your team try on items to see if the sizing is weird. Then, they input that information once so all employees can see it. When the stylist is composing my box, the stylist can use this information real time, so I end receiving items that fit well. You could do this by adding a column in your inventory table, a flag on each item in the catalog for "runs small" or "runs big".
If I need a different size (and hopefully I don't after the above is put into play), have the other size be in stock! Last month I received a sweater that I absolutely loved. It was the best thing in my box. But it was huge on me. I went online to Stitch Fix to exhange it for a smaller size. Not available! Then in a 3 second Google search I was able to find it from another source, at a better price. I bought it elsewhere. Now you've lost my engagement. If the item is available elsewhere go buy it for me behind the scenes if you need to. Give me that Nordstrom-like level of personal service.
Leverage your sylists more as a competitive advantage. Setup up a two way chat in the application where I can ask a question. Matt has been styling me after rotating through a few stylists. Matt is great! And he is also really funny. I want more of that. "Matt - Heading out to that party you styled me for. Kitten heels or flats?" This is a huge opportunity to interact with me more aka sell me more stuff.
Tweak your algorithms to be a bit more human. Now that your system figured out that I buy skinny leg pants in olive green with a porkchop shaped pockets (is that even a thing?) it has sent me almost identical pairs over time. I bought them but now I want something else. Recognize the human element.
Take every opportunity to build my user trust and bank that trust.
There is an excellent post by Sarah Tavel on Five Lessons on Scaling Pinterest.
In it she says:
"Think of user trust like a bank. You want to deposit a lot more than you withdraw ... it takes five postive experiences to make up for a single negative experience. That's an expensive exchange rate."
For Sitch Fix, my trust has been withdrawn when the days are counted wrong on the return, suddenly I log into see it's posted as due back in less than the usual 3 days and I'm rushed on the return. Or you say the package will be there by a certain date and it's not. I'm aware dates are needlessly complicated in software. So just don't promise. Say it will be shipped mid-October and I'll receive and email when it goes out, with a tracking number. Then I'm cool with it, and you have gained my trust.
Another way to gain my trust is by being more flexible on return dates. 3 days to send it back is really quick. Sometimes I have been travelling and worried that I now will be buying the entire box sight unseen, since I physically cannot get to it. So, give me an option in my account. "Cannot get to box - extend return to 6 business days." With a helpful response when selected that identifies my by name such as "Thanks for letting us know Michelle! We realize things get busy and hope you survive the week." If I choose that longer return option more than 3 times, offer it to me as an ongoing additional perk for a higher cost. Make me feel good about it.
Ask me my birthday and send me something for my birthday every year. It can be small even a card. It's truly the thought that counts.
Make Stitch Fix a brand I can really believe in.
You have been a good corporate citizen in the local community. I helped teach a Railsbridge class (teach women to code) at your HQ. Thanks much for hosting. I would love to see that good citizenship extended ... How about once a month styling a full outfit giveaway to a person re-entering the workforce who otherwise could not afford an interview outfit? How about providing Hurricane victims with a set of dearly needed clothes to get back on their feet? "Stitch Fix gives back".
Those are a few things that come to mind at the momement that would help me love Stitch Fix more, since I really want to.
After sharing this post on social media, I did get a response from a very kind person named Cooper on the Stitch Fix client support team. They explained that there is a preferences game called Style Shuffle on their Facebook page, and a way to upload a selfie on the iOS app. While I am glad for the prompt follow up and to learn about these features, I would still like to see the onboard/repeat client experience leverage some of the ideas I have outlined above and in a more centralized experience that is more obvious for these features that do exist. I am looking forward to seeing the Stitch Fix experience continue to be developed.