The power of the crowd has new meaning for business today. There has been a decided shift in power from the seller to the buyer, as customers have discovered the use of reviews in making purchasing decisions. Surveys note that 84% of customers value real reviews even over recommendations from people they know. Customers have become savvy in finding real-time feedback from fellow customers. Reviews have become the most prevalent part of online shopping, even more, important than price.
One company that has folded seamlessly into leveraging the crowd is Fabletics. This is a relatively new activewear company, created by Adam Sandburg, Don Ressler and actress Kate Hudson. Their goal from the very beginning was to fill a fashion gap in active wear. People had the choice of buying quality clothes or buying affordable work out gear. Not to mention the drab and mostly functional style of active wear that was being offered. Hudson has helped to create vibrant and fashionable clothes at an affordable price.
Fabletics is almost obsessed with its customers which is the perfect attitude for today’s business. This company emphasizes the importance of positive reviews and customer feedback. Not only do they collect information, they respond to the reviews and make changes based on them. Fabletics was started in 2013 and because of their unique business model has grown over 200% and over one million members. Membership is another unique aspect of the company as people can join and get meaningful perks such as customized style consultation and monthly shipments. Shoppers are encouraged to take the style survey on the website to help pinpoint their personal likes and dislikes.
As Fabletics is proving, more and more shoppers research products and companies before making purchases. Half of the shoppers say that research businesses at least once a month and 50% of buyers read reviews regularly. Companies like Walmart, Target, and Amazon have begun paying attention to reviews because they know this drives purchase. Positive reviews ensure a higher place in search engines such as Google which means more traffic to the page. 74% of customers say that positive reviews would ensure the next step toward purchasing product.
Kate Hudson is an actress and a mom. She was the perfect spokeswoman for Fabletics because her fans know that she will not support things she doesn’t believe in. She influenced the company to rethink their communication styles and to enhance the review section of the website. 85% of sales at Fabletics come from return customers so reviews play an important part in the success of a company.
Shawn Gold, who is the CMO for Fabletics, says that it is no longer the company who defines who they are; it is the customer who tells other customers who the company is. If you ignore positive or negative reviews, your chances of succeeding have diminished. The unique strategy of leveraging the crowd is what makes Fabletics different and he says that a customer-focused company keeps it accountable and transparent. It is all about the customers and their feedback at this point, he explains. It is a different business world.