Customers can browse the GUESS website for any item, receive real-time inventory at the closest location to them and put it on hold to pickup within 24 hours. For customers who are picking up an item on hold or shopping in any one of its North America locations, GUESS employees are trained to be attentive to customers’ needs and help them build one item into an entire look. If the store does not have a customer’s size in stock, an employee can now place the order and have the product shipped directly to the customer’s home free of charge. The option to ship an item to the customer from a store was the last omni-channel segment added during the third quarter last year.
“All of our inventory is in one big pool,” Relich explains. “We don’t segregate e-commerce and retail. We are pooling the items together for a broader and deeper assortment of goods.” By doing so, GUESS has been able to optimize its inventory. He gives the example that if a location has 30 weeks of supply of one item, the item will be shipped from that store to minimize liability, clear inventory from the store and satisfy the customer. “This is working quite well,” Relich adds.
E-commerce sales have shown an increase of 50 percent in the past two quarters, which Relich says is a “good testament” of how well the omni-channel approach is serving GUESS. The company has been able to achieve its omni-channel success by using technology developed with HP Vertica, MicroStrategy Adobe and MICROS-Retail. “The goal is to continue growing the omni-channel to provide a seamless experience between the brick-and-mortar stores and digital channels,” he adds.
Founders Maurice and Paul Marciano left the south of France in pursuit of the American dream and established GUESS in 1981. One of the brothers’ initial designs was a stonewashed, slim-fitting jean called the 3-zip Marilyn. From that point forward, the Marciano brothers redefined denim with their European design influence.
Bloomingdales was the first department store to carry the brand and ordered two-dozen pairs of jeans that flew off the shelves. “Today, we are a global lifestyle brand,” Relich says. “We carry everything to meet our customer’s lifestyle needs, including apparel, accessories, shoes, handbags, watches and fragrance.”
Over the years, GUESS has become a symbol of a young, sexy and adventurous lifestyle, Relich adds. “GUESS always stays true to its roots, we are consistently on the cutting-edge of fashion to meet our customers’ needs,” he says. Although GUESS products can be worn by anyone, its primary target is men and women 20 to 35 years old. GUESS brands include Marciano, G by GUESS, GUESS Factory and GUESSkids.
Today, the company is one of the few global brands that can say its European market is the same size as its North American market, Relich says. “Most companies are dominant in the geography where their headquarters is located, but for us, our European business is almost as big as our North American business,” he adds. “The reason is because we believe in tailoring and localizing our products and the overall shopping experience.”
GUESS customers keep coming back because of the tailored experience they receive and because it rewards its frequent shoppers with loyalty programs for each of its four brands. “The total loyalty customer base is 7.1 million customers and through that program we have a 360-degree view of them,” Relich says. “I know what you are buying, where you are buying from and the margins of profitability.”
The data helps segment its customers and provide offers and messaging that is relevant to them for a customized shopping experience.
“We are in the very forefront with our loyalty program,” Relich says.
The company also launched an updated mobile app that offers customers another platform to shop while providing quick access to their shopping history. “The target audience for the mobile app is our loyalty customers,” Relich explains. “The app is tied to the loyalty program, so customers don’t have to worry about exchanging or returning an item or finding that same pair of jeans they ordered and loved. They can view their receipt directly from the app, click on the item and pull it up.” Loyalty customers receive points not only from their purchases, but also by their social interactions with GUESS? on Facebook and Twitter.
“We believe the more loyalty, e-commerce and web behavior data we have, the better we can provide customers with a tailored and unique experience to meet their needs and wants,” Relich says.