I do it online, I do it on the high street. I do it with friends and I do it alone. What can I say? I love shopping.
I reckon I go shopping for clothes at least twice a month – sometimes more. I might find a coat in a charity shop that fills me with joy. Or it could be a dress I find online that’s perfect for that wedding this spring. Either way, I always spend within my means and am happy to pay more for sustainable brands.
But what happens if you love shopping to such a degree you spend thousands of pounds on clothes each month? Retailers take notice, that’s what.
Net-a-Porter certainly does. For more than a decade, the online retailer has recognised its top spenders and given them special perks. This has included first dibs on new lines and consultants that come to your home and tell you what clothes make you look fabulous.
Other sweeteners include front-row seats at fashion shows and someone who’ll jump in a plane at the eleventh hour to deliver a dress to your door.
Net-a Porter has even given these big spenders a nickname – EIPs (or extremely important people).
I’ve heard about customer loyalty tactics, but this is taking things to a whole new level!
Sounds good to me. The only problem is you need to spend around £55,000 a year to be given EIP status. Say what?! I thought I was a fan of shopping, these people really enjoy a spot of retail therapy.
I may not be invited to become an EIP any time soon, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to find out more. Which is why I was interested to read about Net-a-Porter’s latest addition to the scheme – ‘Style Trial’.
If you’re an EIP, you can order up to 30 items to try on at home without having to buy any of them. Payment is taken for the items you want to keep, the rest are collected from your door. And you can choose the 30 items yourself, or have them chosen for you.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve bought an item of clothing online, only to try it on at home and realise it’s not quite right. There’s then the tedious process of returning the item, along with a sense of disappointment that something you thought would look great, looked anything but.
Customers are drawn to brands that go the extra mile. And retailers are clearly prepared to go an extra 100 miles for certain customers.
Net-a-Porter’s EIP scheme is clearly a loyalty scheme for the well-to-do. The rest of us will have to carry on as we were.
Retailers know they need to work hard to keep customers coming back, especially if they’ve had a disappointing experience online.
But irony is, lots of personal service is readily available on the high street. River Island, John Lewis, and Debenhams all offer personal shopping services for free. 30 items of clothing chosen just for me – for free? Don’t mind if I do…