Q&A with Traci Inglis, Brand President, Fashion Brands – JustFab and Shoedazzle, TechStyle Fashion Group
In this exclusive Q&A, Traci Inglis shares her insights into the magic behind TechStyle’s success with the brands under her purview, including JustFab and Shoedazzle. Founded in 2010, TechStyle serves more than five million VIP members across the JustFab, Shoedazzle and Fabletics brands.
Before joining TechStyle in 2013, Inglis worked in marketing at Express, held a role in Retail Real Estate and Investor Relations at Westfield, and led the Digital Marketing and CRM teams across all brands at Torrid and Hot Topic.
Retail TouchPoints: How do you define the customer groups you target for TechStyle brand promotions and engagement?
Traci Inglis: For us, the glue that defines our target customer group is not age, it is the love of fashion. That said, the average age of our customers for the Shoedazzle brand is 39 and for JustFab it is 37 — keeping in mind that the average age can be misleading: 20% are under 18 and 20% are over 45.
RTP: How do you engage with your fashion lover customers throughout the year?
Inglis: One unique thing we do is meet with customers in our home office. We have VIP dinners designed to collect customer feedback. These dinners were inspired by my previous work at Express — we always spent time in the stores. And since TechStyle has started as an online-only brand, we needed an effective way to connect one-on-one with our brand ambassadors. We have a lot of active loyalists who provide user-generated content and imagery that they share via social channels.
RTP: What other marketing strategies have you employed to improve customer engagement?
Inglis: We recently launched 1:1 product personalization initiatives that use AI/machine learning. Individual shoppers receive unique emails containing images and content related to their specific product preferences and previous purchases. The way it works is, each email has the same hero image and high-level copy, but the products that are promoted are different. Additionally, the emails change over time to stay relevant. So, if the original email contained a promotion that expired in one week, and you didn’t open it for two weeks, the message would say “Oops! this offer has expired” when you opened it. The algorithm is constantly learning. After launching this program we’ve seen an 84% lift in email revenue.
RTP: What have been some key learnings from this new AI initiative?
Inglis: We have learned the importance of identifying individuals’ shopping patterns — for example defining when a customer is ‘lapsed’. We can calculate how often each individual shops and their propensity to buy. We now know that a shopper is not necessarily ‘lapsed’ if she has not shopped in a while, if her normal shopping pattern is to only shop twice a year. And conversely, customers who shop every week need more frequent communication from us.
RTP: Does TechStyle have any compelling marketing partnerships that are helping to boost sales?
Inglis: We just partnered with Barbie to design Shoedazzle shoes for her, and for JustFab we are considering/looking at airlines or hotel chains as potential partnerships. It could be interesting to cross-sell relevant clothing and accessories for an upcoming trip.
RTP: TechStyle is known for developing its own software systems in-house. How has that helped with your marketing efforts and overall business initiatives?
Inglis: We are able to add new technology and quickly test different strategies. Also, our tech team knows our business and they come up with great, unique ideas. And there is a major cost advantage in being vertically integrated as well.
RTP: Do you develop everything in-house?
Inglis: Not everything. We use third parties in areas where we don’t have deep expertise. For example, we use Sailthru for email personalization CRM. We also have outsourced our contact center to the Philippines, which has been very successful.
RTP: Are there any new technologies you’ve ruled out?
Inglis: We don’t believe Virtual Reality has legs in retail just yet. Augmented Reality is interesting but I’m skeptical about Virtual Realty in the retail space.