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06/29/2022

Tech Transformation Podcast: Dia & Co’s Nadia Boujarwah On Reimagining Retail Returns

On this episode of Tech Transformation, we’re talking about getting the right fit, the right recommendation, and — most importantly — the right returns process. We’re talking with Nadia Boujarwah, co-founder and CEO of Dia & Co, an inclusive apparel retailer that considers itself just as much of a tech company as it does a retailer. We dig into AI, Gen Z, and virtual try-on tech, and we get details on Dia’s TikTok strategy. 

Listen to learn: 

  • The future of sizing and try-on technology
  • How Dia & Co has rethought returns to encourage the process
  • Learnings from engaging with and selling to Gen Z 
  • Advice for brands and retailers on being more inclusive 
  • Why Dia & Co recently acquired 11 Honoré
     

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Excerpts
 

Try-On and Fit Technology

“Try-on and fit are probably more important in a plus-size fashion context than it is in almost any other consumer business. Fit is non-trivial to get right in our category, and it is the absolute top, most important thing for our consumers. So we spent a lot of time on fit. And it's been really, really exciting to see the amount of innovation that's happened on the technology side of fit, and all the different approaches that technology companies are taking and retailers are taking …

“One thing that's a huge part of our fit technology is that we give her a fitting room experience with every purchase. …  Really, in some ways if you think about it, the most advanced fit technology in the world is a fitting room because it always gets it right. And part of what we've tried to do is actually say, ‘Hey, if that's an important part of her getting a right fit, how do we actually bring that part of shopping in stores more seamlessly into our online experience?’ And for us try-before-you-buy makes a lot of economic sense.

“We've gotten very, very good at return logistics and being able to process returns in a cost-effective way, in a way that ultimately we believe, leads to the best customer experience. But it really is the orchestration of all of those features that leads to the best shopping experience for her from a fit perspective. And I think it's very hard for any single technology to actually achieve the perfect fit consistently, because there are so many dimensions of fit.”  

Returns

“We encourage returns. We have a returns-driven business on the styling side, and the business that we built from day one was oriented around allowing customers to return with almost every order. … And that's turned out to be a huge advantage for us, because the truth is that the return rates across apparel are exceptionally high, and most retailers still treat returns as exceptions instead of as a norm.

“We just firmly believe that they should be the norm. And the net of it for us is that the customer experience is dramatically better. She spends more with us per order. And she spends more with us over her lifetime when she can very easily and seamlessly return.”

Personalization

“On the marketplace side, there's two dimensions of personalization that we think are very important. One is actually having the breadth and depth of supply on the marketplace — that the things that she may want are actually available and in the context of a plus-sized consumer. That's actually probably even more important than her being able to find it quickly because the fundamental experience of shopping and larger sizes and an experience of scarcity and never being able to actually find what you want, and instead having to settle for what's available.

“And so personalization on that side of the business really, for us, starts and selection and being able to say we are going to have the broadest and best selection of brands and styles. So that whatever it is that you are looking for, you can actually find it without having to make compromises in your purchase. Then on top of that, we can put actually guiding her to that experience and to those products and the most efficient way possible.”

Gen Z Marketing

“A lot of the marketing channels of the last 10 years really aren't working as well for these consumers, because they're not looking to be told by a brand what to purchase, or even by ‘experts,’ like the press or editors or celebrities. They're really looking for much more authentic recommendations, and for us, we find that that works best on TikTok.”
 

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