The 'Moneyball' of fashion. Fashions with an AI eye. A 'perfect fit' for new retail.
This is just some of the praise heaped upon Stitch Fix, the online personal stylist service delivering hand-picked clothes directly to consumers. The company's goal with personalized fashion is "to make sure everyone looks good, at their best." says Ravindra Sunku, Director of IT (and Stitch Fix's second-ever employee). The idea is to make it easy for busy people to be stylish, effortlessly. That sentiment of streamlined, easy experience is deeply engrained in every aspect of this retail disruptor's culture.
Powering Stitch Fix's rise is a cloud-based infrastructure. When Stitch Fix started 6 years ago, they made a conscious decision to use technology to their advantage. "We were literally born in the cloud," explains Sunku. "We don't have any on-premise infrastructure. We maximize through automation and technology, not staffing."
Work tools that unite and engage scattered staff
Still, staff are integral to Stitch Fix's success. Employees range from Millennials to Baby Boomers, and most work from home or in a warehouse, so their needs are very different than the traditional office worker — and almost entirely mobile. By integrating the cloud into the workday of their nationally dispersed team, the company has realized new heights in productivity.
With the help of Box — which Sunku describes as "the backbone" of their cloud infrastructure — Stitch Fix's remote employees can get work done easily and collaboratively. "We coach the new hires to use Box as their workspace — the equivalent of their personal drive — and as their collaboration space," says Sunku. "Even though they're working from home, we try to bring them closer with the tools that are available so they can partner and collaborate."
Stitch Fix employees' first interaction with Box happens before they're even hired. "We're always looking to make the technology of onboarding people easy," says Sunku. Box helps with the onboarding process at many touchpoints. During engineering recruitment, for instance, content is shared outside the company as part of a testing process. Once someone signs an offer letter, that's stored on Box, too. "A lot of the Box interaction is invisible to them," says Sunku. "But behind the scenes, there's plumbing that puts it together."
Box also takes away the need for data backups, because, as Sunku says, "Box is our online backup." This reduces the overall IT operation and maintenance costs.
Stylists, merchandise planners and warehouse workers all benefit from the exceptional digital experience of working in the cloud. Making the tools uniform and user friendly for Stitch Fix staff across the gamut of roles makes it easier for them to get the job done. "We strongly encourage our team to be innovative," Sunku explains, "and that requires different technologies and a different way of thinking. As a technology leader, we're trying to give them more opportunities to be creative with solutions. We want to be the enablers of technology, not the disablers."
With its holistic cloud IT strategy, Stitch Fix has increased speed and efficiency, transforming the consumer retail experience. But they've been able to change their employees' everyday work experience too.
"Looking back, we used to set the tone of how we want people to work. The trend is changing. We're now adapting to how best people can work, and how we can align technology to support that. That's a big shift."
— Ravindra Sunku, Director of IT, Stitch Fix
Making external collaboration shine
With 3500+ remote stylists needing to access and work with Stitch Fix content, the cloud has helped create another engaging employee experience and a truly digital workplace.
Onboarding new stylists has never been simpler. By leveraging secure external collaboration with Box, the human resources team is able to share content with future partners. And prospective stylists are able to upload their lookbooks and share pertinent information prior to their interviews.
"There are so many remote workers, and the number of remote workers is continuing to grow," says Sunky. "All the tools we're investing in should fit into that system. I think the remote workforce is the key."
Thanks to a seamless integration between Box and G Suite, stylists can collaborate from anywhere, create and secure documents directly in Box.
In addition, Stitch Fix utilizes the Box and DocuSign integration to manage suppliers and partners. By allowing faster vendor management and collaboration with external partners, the bottom line is seen in operational efficiency and an improved overall customer experience.
Delighting shoppers with a data-driven approach
In fashion, keeping ahead of trends is crucial. If you don't think ahead, you end up with product you can't sell anymore. With a focus on data-driven decision-making, Stitch Fix is able to give customers what they want — sometimes before they even knew they wanted it.
The cloud-first approach translates to more informed work. For example, the merchandise planning team uses Box to access and use data gathered in real-time from customers. This data is saved to Box and analyzed with the help of Box APIs, allowing teams to use the resulting metrics to make quick decisions and boost operational efficiency — ultimately resulting in better customer experiences.
Box is also the underlying foundational tool that supports the multiple touch points that puts their product on the proverbial shelf, and the delight customers have when they receive that perfect 'Fix' in the mail.
Scale and ongoing value from cloud-based tools
By provisioning Box and other tools from the very start, Stitch Fix has positioned their IT strategy uniquely in the cloud. But Ravindra and his team know there is more they can get from Box and other cloud-based tools.
He plans to explore using Box APIs to create pre-determined business metrics dashboards that are integrated into Box, so teams can get reports daily or even more frequently.
And, to help keep employees engaged and adopting the latest technologies, Ravindra and his team always make time for continuing education. With constant training and video tutorials, Stitch Fix continues to push user adoption and better change management.