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STUDY: CRM gives The Chapar its edge

By Retail Technology | Friday February 7 2014

Innovative online men's personal online shopping service stays a cut above the rest by matching clients' preferences using customer relationship management software

New menswear retail service The Chapar has improved its basket value by 25% and doubled its customer base every three months with Salesforce, which has supported overall growth of 650%. 

Established in 2012, the London-based company provides a premium personal online shopping service for men who want to look good, but who might not necessarily enjoy the traditional instore retail experience.

It is using cloud-based customer relationship management software from Salesforce to provide an insight into customer preferences, marketing campaign effectiveness and staff performance, so its founders can continue to make the right decisions to support further business success.

Dressed for success

“We've turned the clothes shopping concept on its head,” explained Sam Middleton, founder and managing director of The Chapar. “Customers no longer have to go to the clothes, the clothes come to them pre-selected by a personal stylist.”

Every month, The Chapar ships hundreds of trunks of carefully selected items from classic brands and modern labels to customers across Europe. But, for this business model to be successful, it is vital that The Chapar's team of expert stylists understand their customers’ individual preferences and tastes.

Middleton commented: “Our entire business model is reliant on our stylists’ ability to select the right clothes – if there’s nothing in the trunk that the customer likes, it’s a waste of time for them and a waste of time for us.”

Salesforce has been helping its stylists learn as much as possible about their customers and their clothing taste. This insight has enabled The Chapar to increase the number of items purchased from each trunk by 25%."We knew customer knowledge would be our differentiator,” Middleton said. "And we soon realised that Salesforce would be the key to enabling this approach. We had seen it in a practice at other companies and felt certain it would be right for us.”

Implementation was rapid, with The Chapar up and running on Sales Cloud in a couple of weeks. “Stylists picked it up very quickly with minimal training, and they now spend all day every day in Sales Cloud,” he reported.

Finding the perfect fit 

Sales Cloud is used to track every last detail – from customers' shirtsleeve lengths and favourite colours, to their professions and wives' names. And. by integrating Sales Cloud with the company's website, a lot of this data is captured direct from customer questionnaires during the registration process. 

With links to customers' Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and LinkedIn profiles, stylists can gather additional background to build a rapport with their customer and increase the product success rate. This enables The Chapar to use Sales Cloud to capture feedback on each trunk to improve future clothing selections, even as fashions and customer tastes evolve.

As well as helping The Chapar’s stylists make informed clothing choices, Sales Cloud enables the team to track customer transactions, trunk shipping dates for example, and key commercial performance indicators. These include average trunk value, spend per customer and customer retention rates.

“Using Sales Cloud, stylists can track their performance against sales targets at an individual and team level. This helps build a culture of collaboration and transparency where we are all working to the same goals,” added Middleton. 

By using Sales Cloud for demographic profiling, stylists can also compare a new customer to others of a similar age, from a similar location and in a similar profession, and see what purchases they have made. Middleton said: “By combining our stylists' creative flair with quantitative data means they can make better product selections and deliver a better service to our customers." 

The cloud-based delivery of Salesforce means The Chapar's stylists can deliver these services from anywhere. And Dropbox integration extends this access to include key business documentation, such as invoices and delivery notes. Middleton explained: “With Sales Cloud, stylists have constant access to the details they need and can make real-time updates while on the move. One stylist even worked from Canada for two months using the solution, with no impact to productivity."

Salesforce Chatter, enterprise social networking tool accompanying the CRM software, also helps The Chapar stylists to work as a team even when they are in different locations. He added: “Chatter enables the stylists to discuss trends, best-sellers and new stock and share their expertise for managing customer relationships.”

Creating tailor-made metrics 

The stylists are not the only part the business at The Chapar to benefit from Salesforce. Sales Cloud has also become vital for the company’s management, providing the metrics needed for effective forecasting and decision-making.  As a result, potential issues can be identified and addressed quickly before they impact profitability. 

Middleton said: "The real-time data captured in Sales Cloud enables us to see if a particular range isn’t selling so well or if a stylist is struggling to meet their sales targets, and take action."

The Chapar has similar insight into the success of its marketing campaigns, which has enabled it to reduce the cost of customer acquisition. The company uses Marketing Cloud to plan, implement, execute, monitor and analyse its campaigns across multiple channels. "With Marketing Cloud, we can accurately evaluate the effectiveness of different activities and channels, and prioritise those that offer a good return on investment, " he added. 

By integrating Salesforce with its email marketing tool, The Chapar can also track customers' reactions to newsletters and email correspondence. 

For The Chapar, its Salesforce journey is far from finished. With all its employees using the system, the company is continuously enhancing its implementation to drive greater value. Opportunities for developing the solution’s capabilities to increase the efficiency of The Chapar’s business processes are identified at monthly review meetings.

"Thanks to the flexible nature of Salesforce, we don't have to worry about writing more code. We just take advantage of existing features and customise them for our business. Salesforce's focus on personalisation and flexibility reflects our business model,” Middleton concluded. “It helps us ensure that every interaction with The Chapar is a personal and positive experience for our customers."

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