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Michelle Bitran
Blog Manager @ Yotpo
November 21st, 2018

How Cosabella Raised the Bar for Selling Luxury Lingerie Online

We sat down with Cosabella to get the details on how a family business created a world-class eCommerce experience.

Table Of Contents

Cosabella made headlines last year when they began using AI to automate digital marketing efforts. The brilliant push to future-proof the family-owned brand has paid off, making Cosabella a forerunner in a market set to reach $59 billion by 2024.

Known for their dedication to customer relationships and the emerging martech platforms that help foster them, the iconic luxury lingerie brand has become an eCommerce inspiration. We held an Ask Me Anything session with Cosabella CEO Guido Campello, co-hosted with Forrester Analyst Brendan Witcher, to dig into the strategy that propels Cosabella’s growth.

Here’s an excerpt from that AMA:

Making your brand a destination

Q: Lingerie has exploded online over the last few years. What is Cosabella’s unique selling point in this crowded market?

A: As a brand, you have to define yourself by your heritage, since there is so much competition on product. We try to focus on the fact that our products are made in Italy, and we focus on our artisanry, but the biggest thing that we do is create an engaging experience for our customers, whether shopping digitally, or even through our product. Every month, when you come to Cosabella, there’s something new and there’s something different.

Another important thing is how we interact with our customers. The way my mother and father saw it, each collection was essentially designed by customers. If you had an idea, chances are we could bring that into our collection fairly quickly and create a custom item for you, and you can lead a whole new trend. We have many customers who really have led the creation of some of the greatest products that we have.

Q: What do you think keeps people coming back to Cosabella?

A: We’ve always focused on innovation. Fashion moves just as fast as the tech industry. The moment a dress style changes, the moment a top changes, the moment a trend comes in, we have to react. And I think Cosabella has been one of those brands that can really react, rather than have the same thing over and over.

Embracing the direct-to-consumer model

Q: When you took over as CEO in 2014, Cosabella was primarily wholesale. You’ve spearheaded this entire move into the direct-to-consumer space. Can you tell me about that shift?

A: We do have a flagship in New York, but our dotcom has been really great because we’ve been able to use it to tell stories, educate, and offer experiences related to new products that we have.

The direct interaction that we have with our consumers [through the website] allows for a conversation that we’d otherwise need to have through our wholesale customers. That said, wholesale customers, especially when you get into the boutique world, give you the expertise of people who have been in the business for 30, 40, 50 years, sometimes three, four generations — so you don’t want to lose that experience. Small retailers, boutiques, and department stores are great resources and avenues to learn about products. They bring so many great brands together that you really get to see them all, so I’m a big proponent of the in-store experience.

Our offer on Cosabella.com completes that and allows us to launch things that customers can’t reach in their area. We’ve found that a lot of customers in specific areas where trends and fashion are a little delayed in stores have a really great experience on our website.

Overcoming the challenges of selling lingerie online

Q: With a vertical as personal as lingerie, how do you make shoppers feel comfortable and confident buying online when they’ve never seen your product?

A: It’s all about interaction. We’ve taken our in-store teams and created a Cosabella concierge as well as a styling guide, which allows us to interact with the consumer. And if they have specific questions, if they need certain services, we can react very quickly. In fact, they can even come as a first-time consumer and enter directly into the brand through this experience.

We’re able to answer service questions with people who have been doing this for 30 years on the floor. They know all the brands, they know all the competitors, they really understand what’s out there. They may even suggest a customer buy certain styles from Cosabella and others from another brand depending on their needs.

Our idea is to raise intimate awareness and education as a whole. I think the US has had plenty of opportunity now to grow on that front. I think disruptors are coming into our category because of this idea that there’s not enough education. So we want to be a big part of that. We want a partner with brands and create cool collaborations, because we don’t have all the answers, we don’t have all the ideas — I think partnership is key.

That applies on the tech side too. I think the customer experience and how we’ve worked with Yotpo has to do with really being able to leverage the tech to be able to connect with that customer and give them the best experience.

Building the eCommerce Holy Grail: Customer community

Q: What do you think makes thousands of people comfortable with leaving reviews and photos of Cosabella’s products on your site, given how personal the products are?

A: I think we love to talk about ourselves. If you follow me on Instagram, I love to post about my family, my experiences. There’s just a lot of things that give me pleasure in doing so. And there’s nothing more exciting than when you find a really cool product, a cool shoe, a cool shirt, a cool jacket, and you can tell your friends about it and be the first one to have discovered it, or the first one to give it as a gift.

One of the coolest things about Cosabella is that customers say things like, “You know, I remember when I got my first item 20 years ago.” And I ask how they got it, and they say, “My mother gave it to me, my sister gave it to me, my friend, etc.” So that word of mouth, that way of working, it’s still here. Now we just do it through social images, through user-generated content.

Q: How important is it to offer your consumers the ability to hear from other customers about fit, color, material, etc. What impact does it have on the buying experience?

A: No one is perfect, and there’s nothing better than reviews showing and teaching you how to improve a product, and then to let someone know, “Hey, you did that for us.” Reviews are super important for product development and merchandizing. And then when customers connect through them — that’s the Holy Grail of social: creating a community.

It’s really cool to create a community because the energy and the spirit — especially of women right now — is incredibly strong, incredibly defining. There’s a lot of interesting movements, like body positivity and all these things that we appreciate as a brand because we believe in beauty and the freedom of being. That’s something my mother has always said, “the freedom of being.”

In these communities, you really get to express and speak about what you feel. Our goal is to be enable that, and to develop and to improve from it.

For more Q&A with Cosabella and exclusive insights from Forrester, check out the full recording of the AMA below:

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