“We don’t ever want to make decisions only based on our buyers’ whims,” Rent The Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss told Racked. Rent The Runway is a web-based service for renting dresses and accessories for a few days at a time, addressing the “closet full of clothes but nothing to wear” dilemma. The start-up is two years old, and given that dresses on the site run from $50 to a few hundred and the fact that the site’s traffice looks like a snake climbing some stairs, we’re guessing they’ve been generating not-insubstantial revenues.
How do they do it? Science. Ms. Fleiss meets with someone from her analytics team four times a day, she said. “They do everything from telling us how much inventory to buy—which styles to buy, how much of which styles, how much of which sizes—to looking at it from an operations perspective, what’s our turnover from the day it leaves the warehouse to the day it comes back, to looking at which locations our warehouse should be in to optimize shipping to all our customers. They will look at marketing analytics, to see what our drop-off rate has been at checkout; comparing two ads we’ve run and seeing how they’ve been doing; are we tracking in terms of our member acquisition through partnerships versus paid acquisition versus general direct acquisition.”
Racked also asked Ms. Fleiss, the dataphile, what colors were in. “I think in general, red is our most popular color. Gold sequins, especially around the holidays, is really popular. But the general point is that it’s those statement colors—black is our least popular color—and one-shoulder is our most popular silhouette. It’s this idea that it’s something you’re less likely to buy,” she said.