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Q&A: Enabling online customers to try on products with Goodlife Clothing

Goodlife Clothing started as a wholesaler for Nordstrom before becoming its own direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand with separate retail stores. Insider intelligence spoke with co-CEO Andrew Codispoti about the brand's innovative mechanisms for customer acquisition, its expanding efforts within sustainability with the Goodlife Loop, and launching the “Try Now” feature, which allows customers to try multiple products at home without their card being charged until one week after purchase.

Insider Intelligence: What’s been the impact of your new Try Now feature?

Andrew Codispoti: The data is still very new to us, but we look at it as more of an acquisition tool. It's great for retention too because customers who have a little bit of cognitive dissonance with a new product can now try it out, and our return rates aren't going up that much. We decided to do it because we figured most of our competition would be reluctant to do something similar.

A lot of the brands, especially in the D2C world that have popped up in the last seven years, that aren't built by the products first don't have great retention and are only adept at acquiring customers in low DPM channels. If that's the case, your return rates are pretty high because you're selling a little bit of a gimmick and you're not going to take the risk in doing something like Try Now. With our core product from online, we have an 8% return rate, and in-store we have a 2% return rate. We decided to lean in confidently and tell customers, especially new ones, that they're going to like it and we will take on the risk.

II: Why did you start a T-shirt club subscription membership?

AC: A lot of the decisions we make are dictated by our customers and data. We launched a bundle program a couple of years ago, and it was so fantastically successful. It led us to think that a subscription program might have legs.

There's very few apparel brands that can get away with a subscription program, and we do make a product that's built more CPG-like than we are apparel because people do come back to the same things over and over again. We surveyed our customers and got 2,000 responses, and three-fourths of them were positively disposed to a subscription program. What we offer is our core product in the subscription. You can choose a cadence every month, build a cart, and you'll be shipped that product automatically.

II: What have been the challenges as you shift to being more sustainable?

AC: The biggest challenge for us is messaging. Industry-wide a lot of people are selling the “sustainable” product, but they're not telling an authentic story. When we started our sustainable initiatives, we wanted to create something called Goodlife Loop, which started in-store, where you could return your used Goodlife garments. We are then able to tell the story of how we repurpose the garments that typically get thrown away or donated (for example, we send some items of clothing to a factory that makes home insulation for low-income housing). Obviously, if you throw away garments, they end up in the landfill. When you donate them, many of them get shipped to Central America or Africa and get incinerated, which is terrible for the environment.

We're one of these brands that believes people often have too much. The Goodlife Loop is something that we are working on and it hasn't been instituted yet, but it will be in the next few months. It's going to be part of our subscription program making it super easy for customers who tend to buy the same evergreen product over and over to have a program with a polybag and return label, allowing customers to recycle garments easily and get Goodlife credit added to their account.