In addition to their many stand-alone shops and department store locations nationwide, SANYO SHOKAI LTD. sells a variety of products from a number of brands online through their “SANYO iStore” site. We sat down with Toshio Hanawa, Manager of Digital Strategy, and asked about SANYO iStore’s efforts in making the shopping experience more enjoyable for their customers.
Please tell us more about SANYO iStore.
On SANYO iStore, we handle the online retailing of several brands’ owned by SANYO SHOKAI and consciously thinking about each brand’s lineup and selection. We integrated the membership system between physical stores and our online site, creating a common management structure across all our properties. However, when shopping online our customers buy items without really knowing how it really looks or what the texture is. We decided to adopt a few solutions to solve these problems that occur online and try to provide a level of service online that is equal to a physical store.
Personalized Suggestion to Suit Their Preference
Please tell us about the decision making process leading up to the adoption of Virtusize.
As is often the case when shopping for fashion online, our customers tell us that it’s usually very hard to find the right size. A customer can roughly estimate how big an item is based on the model information, but we still struggled to solve the size problem for customers looking for a certain fit or have a preference for what their silhouette would look like, especially for customers looking to buy an item from that brand for the first time. As for finding the right solution, there are some services that will suggest the right size based on body measurements, but there may be some customers who do not want to share their information, such as their height, weight, or age with the site.
Also, the right size for a customer depends on their fit preference, whether it be wearing an item tight or oversized. With Virtusize, they can see the gap between the item they are thinking about buying and an item they already own. We decided to adopt Virtusize because we found the feature that allows users to choose the item with their most comfortable size and fit to be very attractive.
Feedback After the Launch
Please tell us about the results you’ve seen after launch.
When we decided to start using Virtusize, we naturally had the goal of improving CVR, but the main reason was to help customers who have trouble with size even if it does not ultimately lead to a conversion. Our main focus was on how we can help our customers be satisfied with each purchase they are making.
In actuality, when looking a tall purchases across the site the CVR for those who used Virtusize was 2x compared to those who do not use the service. This is quite an impressive number.
We also provide NPS questionnaires to our customers on a semi-annual basis to ask them what service they use the most, and what service is the most useful to them among all the services we use on our online site. Virtusize was the most frequently selected service. The customer reactions have left us very satisfied with the level of service Virtusize provides.
Were there any internal changes after the launch?
The only service we received employee feedback from was the Virtusize size recommendation service. Employees who had never given us feedback about E-commerce before thought that we should use the service. Even before we received any feedback from our customers, people within our company sent us reactions such as, “this is useful” and “this is a great way to find (size information)”. At that moment, we were sure this service would be good for our customers as well.
An area where our internal operations changed post-launch was with measurement data. We sometimes make mistakes inputting our measurement data (on the website), because the information is manually added to the website after measuring the item at the warehouse. With Virtusize, we can find out where the wrong information comes from because an inaccurate size recommendation is made based on the incorrect size info. We are now much more disciplined about checking for correct measurement information.
For Making Customers Enjoy Fashion More
Are there any differences in the experience between in-store and online from the customers’ perspective?
The number of customers who frequent both our stores and the online site is increasing in the past few years. When comparing the three channels of store-only customers, EC customers, and customers using both channels, the LTV of customers using both channels is 3x that of the others. We only carry specific brands in store, but items from all our brands can be purchased online. With SANYO iStore, we believe our customers enjoy coordinating their look with multiple brands and not just the brands we carry in-store.
We released the web magazine“SANYO STYLE MAGAZINE” to give our customers another way to enjoy fashion and coordinating their look with multiple brands starting in 2018.
Please tell us more about the SANYO STYLE MAGAZINE.
Up until now, SANYO SHOKAI had been promoting brands independently. “SANYO STYLE MAGAZINE” is the first official media outlet for SANYO SHOKAI that is intended for coordination across the many brands we carry. This new magazine is not only for promoting SANYOSHOKAI products, but also to provide customers with new ways to solve their fashion problems, with interview articles profiling trendy men of that season and making outfit suggestions that can bring you good fortune.
What are your biggest challenges at this time?
Our commitment to handle each brand properly, expand on our product lines correctly, and delivering these products to our customers will not change.
Among the many challenges we have to solve for our customers, we believe size and fit is one of the most important. While it is getting more well-known among our customers that they can compare the item they are thinking about buying with an item they already own, it is not so well known that they can also compare two different items they are thinking about buying so we would like to let them know about additional features within our site.
We would like to continue providing services to our customers that allow them to enjoy the discovery of new items from their favourite brands by keeping the same experience throughout the entire site, while at the same time making each brand's uniqueness stand out.