How SilkFred Made Social Media a Personalized Experience

SilkFred co-founder and CEO Emma Watkinson believes ecommerce has yet to fulfill its potential as a personal experience, so she has been testing one-on-one ...
Updated on September 26, 2023


SilkFred co-founder and CEO Emma Watkinson believes ecommerce has yet to fulfill its potential as a personal experience, so she has been testing one-on-one conversations on her site.

Online shopping evolves due to social media

When consumers started to move over to online shopping, they could choose from a wider range of products and they could buy at any time and from any place, but they would never have those human interactions that can make wandering the high street so rewarding.

Well, that’s changing. Why? Because of social media.

Channels such as Instagram and Twitter give e-tailers an opportunity to engage personally with their customers. One such brand using this strategy is SilkFred. Its co-founder and CEO Emma Watkinson is wholly committed to complementing the ‘macro’ behavioral data that personalizes the online experience with genuinely individual contact via social channels.

“We say we use social media as our shop floor,” she says. “Yes, we’re selling online, but we’re not a faceless business.”

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Retargeting customers by listening and responding

Watkinson believes so strongly in the power of personal interactions that she is also exploring how it can bring back lost customers.

She explains: “If we have a product with high returns, we will collate customer comments and then work with suppliers to re-fit the garment. Then we write to customers to say: We listened, we’ve had another crack at it. Then we will give them the item as a gift to get their feedback so we can release it again. If you show people you’re listening, that’s a nice thing to do.”

Consistent brand experiences rewarded with growth

This care over personal engagement has helped SilkFred become one of the UK’s fastest growing fashion e-tailers. SilkFred attracts nearly a million visitors a month. It works with 600 brands and generates 90 percent of its sales through social media. There is now speculation of a £100M public listing.

There’s no doubt SilkFred has grown fast by finding a gap in the market. And it has made sure it is active across every available consumer touchpoint. But Watkinson stresses that the brand experience and identity is still consistent on them all.

And, ultimately, for all the complexity involved in setting up an online retail business, Watkinson retains a refreshingly straightforward approach when it comes to the ‘big picture’.

“Selling fashion is pretty simple,” she says. “You have to have a product people want to buy. Is it a price people are prepared to pay and can you deliver a seamless experience to match their expectations? There’s no magic art: they bought a dress, you gave them a good experience; have you got a new dress for the next time round?”

Find out more about the strategies the platform for independent fashion brands employs to retain its customers, from multi-channel brand proposition to behavioural big data analytics and individual customer interactions in this video series.

This post is part of a Criteo-sponsored video thought leadership series with Hot Featured content highlights retail marketing, digital, and ecommerce executives as they explore the emerging tools and techniques used by both luxury and high street brands to drive growth in the form of retention and acquisition of customers.

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