More and more, consumers are making purchases based on product reviews and referrals from other users rather than traditional marketing and commercial advertising. The best marketing strategies are adapting to this growing trend by embracing customer feedback, and responding with empathy and innovation. A recent Huffington Post article by digital marketing expert Diana Wertz details how brands like Kate Hudson’s Fabletics line are conquering the retail and e-tail marketplace by harnessing the “power of the crowd” to drive search ratings, sales revenue, and fierce customer loyalty.
By “the crowd,” Wertz is referring to the crowd-sourced reviews found on services like Yelp and TrustPilot, one of the world’s largest review sites where Fabletics boasts 30,000 reviews and a Trust Score of 8.2. ”Fabletics is obsessed with its customers,” reports Wertz, actively collecting and responding to thousands of reviews from its members in order to refine its marketing and products. According to Shawn Gold, CMO of Fabletics’ parent company, learning to value consumer input helped Fabletics “overcome initial issues upon launch,” and ultimately deliver a better service, resulting in 200% growth in five years and a projected revenue of $250 million for 2017.
Much of that growth can be attributed to Kate Hudson herself. According to an article last June in Forbes, it was her hands-on approach and quick-fire problem solving that helped Fabletics overcome a 6-month production delay, inventory shortfalls, and concerns about its membership structure by spearheading a customer service and analytics upgrade. This data-driven business model, which monitors the brand’s social media presence as well as sales and customer reviews to predict trends and production quantities, spurred the company to “a retail growth of 644% last year” in an industry that has many retailers closing shop.
Hudson continues to be heavily involved and says in Forbes, “I’m really proud of the things that I’m doing in business, which we’ll continue and expand.” According to Fabletics president Gregg Throgmartin, the clothing line and its business model reflects Hudson’s approachability and authenticity, as well as her own active lifestyle. She maintains an eye on sales numbers and helps design fresh styles for the athleisure brand that collaborator Demi Lovato says is all about “inspiring women and empowering them…to be strong, and it doesn’t matter what shape, or size, or age.” To provide inclusivity and personalization, a quiz on the Fabletics website helps to match members with outfits that best suit their needs and lifestyle.
In the Post, Wertz reports that “a business’ reputation is one of the most impactful customer considerations,” valued even above price point and budget when deciding whether or not to make a purchase. A transparent and customer-focused marketing strategy pays off big by cultivating repeat customers and referral-driven sales. By listening – and responding – to its 1.2 million members, Fabletics shows it genuinely cares about the quality of its products and whether or not they improve customers’ lives, boosting the brand’s satisfaction and trust ratings, and ultimately its bottom line.