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Indochino's CEO, Drew Green, Discusses the State of the Retail Market

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 9/03/2016 Alfred Junco Betancourt

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I recently had the opportunity to interview Drew Green, the CEO of Indochino. We discussed the state of the retail market, and the ways in which e-commerce and brick-and-mortar locations are interacting and evolving. Here's a look at a successful clothing company that's doing an excellent job of blending e-commerce with their physical locations. ​
1. How many brick-and-mortar stores does Indochino have?
We currently have seven stores in New York, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto and Vancouver and are planning to grow this extensively. Our mission is to sell a million suits a year by 2020 and brick-and-mortar retail will play a significant role in achieving this goal.
2. Why was Indochino founded?
Indochino was founded because guys looking for a well-fitting, high-quality and affordably priced suit had limited options. Indochino has fundamentally changed the suit landscape and made the made to measure suit experience accessible to men everywhere.
3. Why do you think that major retailers like the Gap are being forced to shut down locations? In your opinion, what are they doing wrong, and what advice would you give to them?
The retail landscape has changed a huge amount over the past ten years. The rise of e-commerce has meant that customers have more choice than ever before and they demand a perfect experience every time they shop. Retailers who have failed to evolve to these increased expectations are the ones who are struggling the most.
My advice is to listen to your what your customers want and create an awesome brand experience that goes above and beyond displaying products on a shop floor.
4. Many people speak of the in-store experience and e-commerce as though they are at war with each other. What elements need to be in place for the in-store experience to co-exist with e-commerce?
We see brick-and-mortar impact our online business in a really positive way and vice versa.
Our primary focus is providing customers with an amazing experience that is the same wherever and whenever they shop. By having a committed omnichannel approach, we ensure they will have a great brand impression, whatever channel they use.
Of course, it's also important to craft experiences to suit the channel. A physical store needs to be more than a hub of products but a distinctive experience. For multiple channels to coexist in harmony, the two shouldn't be identical - it's important to realize that running a brick-and-mortar store is different from e-commerce and embrace that.
5. What brings people into your store?
People come into our showrooms for an exclusive made to measure experience. Every customer is partnered with a Style Guide who personally helps them to design a perfectly fitting suit or shirt. They will get measured, browse our extensive fabric options and select from a huge range of customizations so that they can make their own one-of-a-kind garment.
We're also redefining the wedding experience for men. Our showrooms include a Groom's Lounge, a dedicated space akin to luxury bridal shopping where wedding parties can relax and have fun while they coordinate their outfits for the big day.

6. How do you see technology improving the customer experience?

Technology, like any tool, is only as effective as to how you use it and our approach is to develop solutions that improve the customer experience, both online and in retail.
7. If you could incorporate any type of technology imaginable into your store, what would the ultimate shopping experience look like?
Check back with us later this year as we have some exciting technology enhancements planned for our showrooms.
8. What would you say are the current key ingredients for retail success?
Placing the customer at the heart of all you do; having a great culture and an engaged team; being nimble and quick to adapt to an ever changing retail landscape.
9. What aspects of your brand are Millennials most impressed by?
Three things: convenience, choice and customization.
Our younger customers in particular value the convenience of being able to shop whenever, wherever and however they want, whether that's in our showrooms, at home or on the go.
They also expect choice and love that we offer a huge range of fabric options - because we don't have inventory, we're able to react quickly to new trends and introduce the latest fabrics on a regular basis, offering an unbelievable selection.
Finally, men these days are more confident than ever when it comes to personal style so being able to customize almost everything about their suit, from the number of buttons, to lapel size, pocket stance, lining and more is a huge reason why millennials are choosing our made to measure experience.
10. What role do you see a customer's mobile device playing in the shopping experience as a whole?
Offering a great mobile experience has been a priority from the start. A significant number of our customers read our emails, book showroom appointments and shop our products on their mobile devices and this will increase over the coming years.
We treat mobile as another channel, just like brick-and-mortar and online, and having an omnichannel model that offers a seamless experience as customers move between the three channels during their shopping journey is vital for any omnichannel retailer.

11. What is your vision for Indochino by the end of 2016?
Our vision is to continue our strong growth. In 2016, we are up more than 100% over the same period last year.

Weddings is also a huge market for us. We recently announced a promotion where we will be suiting up 25,000 grooms for free in 2016. Any groom whose wedding party of four or more groomsmen is outfitted by INDOCHINO will receive his own made to measure suit free of charge.

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