Jewelers of America Director of PR & Special Events Amanda Gizzi had the chance to interview Jennifer Hyman, CEO/Founder of Rent The Runway, at the Women's Jewelry Associations annual "In The Know" conference on March 10. We learned some of the strategies that have made Rent the Runway a runaway success, and jewelers should take note!
If you don't yet recognize the company, Rent the Runway, you surely will soon. It's garnered millions of avid customers thanks to its ingenious premise that allows women to rent and return high-end dresses and accessories at a fraction of their retail cost. Hyman explained that Rent the Runway tapped into the transformation of traditional economy to an "experience economy" that is based on customer experience versus material ownership. In this new experience economy, people are more comfortable with renting than owning; think Netflix for movies, Spotify for music, Airbnb for vacation homes.
This fashion start-up that has raised $120 million in venture capital funds in its first six years in business, and is now expanding into retail in addition to its online home. There are definitely some insightful strategy that jewelers can learn from Rent the Runway's success in the experience market:
Inspire Social Sharing
A highly positive experience begets customers sharing the brand and suggesting it to others. Time and time again, Hyman emphasized that word of mouth -- or rather viral buzz -- is a key ingredient to Rent the Runway's expanding customer base. RTR customers have a high rate of sharing their experience online, on social media and recommending the site to friends and family. Why? RTR customers look and feel great in the dresses and accessories they rent from RTR. If they don't, RTR has a near flawless customer satisfaction response plan that means no one is left dress-less for their next big event. RTR also often includes little perks with purchase like moisturizer, fashion tape and other items that women can use on their night out.