At the Marketing Store’s recent 25th anniversary event we spoke about a number of trends that will impact the future of retail and shopping. One was Metail. Forbes recently called this “Me-Commerce“.

We said, “the ability to personalise or customise everything from the price of a product, the service they receive, to the product itself will be a fundamental aspect of the future retail landscape.”

All retail brands will be concierge brands, catering to the individual based on an in depth knowledge of the exact preferences gathered from personal data.

Over the past few months a number of services have launched that make good use of digital customer-profiling and personalisation techniques to inform human curators.

The “curators” in the examples that follow are fashion stylists.

Take Spoke, for example.

Spoke offers a stylist service for men in the UK. Once you’ve registered on the site you complete a personal profile telling Spoke what you like, dislike and where you think your wardrobe lets you down. A personal stylist looks at this data and handpicks a range of clothing items they think will match you. These are sent to you to try on at home. You only keep (and pay for) the things you like. A courier comes and picks up the rest.

Lookcraft offers a similar service based in the USA.

At time of writing, Lookcraft’s taste-profiling techniques are more visual than Spoke’s but the same principle applies: tell us what you like and dislike. Both services also collect key data about your body shape and size, preferred fits etc. Neither service currently offers virtual fitting-room technology like that provided by for Barbour, Thomas Pink and others but maybe that’s something they’ll try in the future.

One of the often-cited barriers to digital clothing/shoe shopping is not being able to try things on and see how they fit and/or feel. If you’re too busy to get to a shop, have commitments during your spare time, or just don’t like going clothes shopping, the services above offer a credible alternative.

If your operation wants to offer a similar service, TripleThread offers to supply shopper profiles to your team of stylists.

TripleThread collects information on a shopper’s:

  • favourite brands
  • purchase history
  • shopping habits
  • personal information
  • style preferences
  • and another 20+ data points

Already, in beta testing, clients identified by TripleThread are five times more likely to purchase the specially curated items shipped to them in comparison to walk-in shoppers in a boutique setting. For more on TripleThread, here’s some coverage on TechCrunch.

For retailers embracing the role of curator or concierge, personalisation is the product.

What do you think? Have you, or would you ever, try services like these?

Photo Credit: blackeyes via Compfight cc_