inside adore me store
Adore Me has been on the front end of using technology to enhance its customer experience since its launch in 2012. — Adore Me

New York-based lingerie retailer Adore Me has long embraced the thousands of customer reviews it receives each month as a vehicle for communicating with its customers.

Now it is applying machine learning and language analysis technology to mine those reviews for trends that can be turned into actionable intelligence to inform its product development teams and other areas of the organization.

Adore Me launched in 2012 as an online-only outlet seeking to disrupt the women’s intimates market with robust customer service and a broad range of sizes at competitive prices. It has since expanded into related product lines such as swimwear and sleepwear, and has also in the past year opened a handful of physical retail stores in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

As part of its commitment to providing a high-level customer experience, the company responds to 100% of the product reviews its customers leave on its website — positive, negative or otherwise.

“Adore Me is an agile startup, and we see a negative review as an opportunity to make the customer satisfied by explaining how the exchange and return works, for example,” Nicolas Capuono, vice president of customer engagement at Adore Me, told CO—.

The company uses technology from Yotpo to help manage the feedback it receives from its customers. It’s now feature-enhanced to derive insights from the trends that Yotpo can discern from analyzing those customer comments.

Adore Me has found that applying analytics to customer reviews is an effective way to glean valuable product intelligence, Capuono said.

“We take the information into consideration in terms of the creation of new products, in terms of the design, in terms of the fitting, all based on the customer feedback,” he said.

Adore Me was one of the early adopters of Yotpo’s Insights platform, which uses machine learning and sentiment analysis to uncover word patterns in customer product reviews. Given the high volume of reviews Adore Me receives, the technology enables the company to analyze and parse them much more efficiently than it could by sorting through the messages individually.

Uncovering patterns in consumer comments about the way a particular item fits, for example, could lead the company to make adjustments in future iterations of the product. Other trends, such as color or style preferences, can also be quickly discerned and applied to product development.

The tool has also helped the company as it has expanded into new product lines, such as swimwear, by reflecting customer interest in those areas, Capuono said.

We take the information into consideration in terms of the creation of new products, in terms of the design, in terms of the fitting, all based on the customer feedback.

Nicolas Capuono, vice president of customer engagement, Adore Me

Sonia Lapinsky, a managing director of the retail practice at global consulting firm AlixPartners LLP, said retailers historically had not been effective in applying the insights from customer feedback into their operations.

“Traditionally, retailers claimed to put the customer at the center of everything, but actually customer feedback was not looped back into the process of bringing product to market,” she said. “Retailers had a lot of data, but didn’t know how or were too late to incorporate it into product design and development.”

Like Adore Me, subscription-based online retailer Stitch Fix is another example of a company that leverages customer feedback into its design and merchandising decisions, Capuano said. Customers can offer “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” reviews for pieces of clothing and outfits, for example, and the results are then analyzed by Stitch Fix data scientists and shared with the appropriate teams in the organization.

“Winners in today’s retail environment incorporate customer data into the product-to-market process and have the ability to act on it quickly through fast-track capabilities,” Lapinsky said.

Adore Me has been on the leading edge of using technology to disrupt the customer experience in other ways as well. In 2017, it was one of the first retailers to enable customer chat using Facebook Messenger, allowing customers to interact with Adore Me agents through that social media platform.

It has continued to deploy advanced tech as it expands into physical retail. Its stores feature “smart” fitting rooms that use RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags on items, which are connected to special mirrors that display product information and can even help send out a request for store personnel to bring another item into the fitting room for the customer to try on.

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Published May 13, 2019