Survival of the Fitted

Issue 02-13-17   |   Reviewer:   Bob Cohen, MBA


As sales continue to decline, retailers like French Connection are turning to fashion rental services like Le Tote to leverage its customer data and drive a more customized selection of clothing and accessories for its clients. Le Tote’s customers receive merchandise she can purchase or return after a few wears and new subscribers provide input about their style preferences as well as feedback on items they received.

According to Kirsten Green, founder of Forerunner Ventures, a venture capital company in San Francisco, more intensive use of data in design and inventory management can boost sales. Green calls it “dynamic retailing,” referencing the way Rockets of Awesome, a mail order service for children’s clothing, assembles seasonally appropriate selections of items and ships them out to its customers four times a year.

French Connection also began working with a San Francisco startup that serves as a personal styling service for men and women. Their goal is to get to know customers well enough to send them only clothing they’ll want to buy. In time, a shopper entering a brick-and-mortar store might be able to consult an app that would know her tastes so well it would steer her directly to an article of clothing she’d like.

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