Buying Shoes Via Text Messaging: Retail Channel Shifting
A couple months ago, I was in New York along with several members of the Collective Bias team for a Bloomingdale‘s social media business pitch. As part of our preparations, we spent a couple hours at the location on 59th street, not far from the corporate headquarters. The store is amazing and features many mini-shops from Tory Burch to Prada and everything in between.
While perusing the men’s clothing lines, I came across a small Billy Reid placement, one of my absolute favorite brands. The classically southern line created by Mr. Reid features timeless looks bringing to mind those worn by New Orleans or Charleston businessmen or as Wikipedia describes “lo-fi southern-bred luxury.” As I was browsing, a Bloomingdale’s associate named Nick Bograd introduced himself. A seasoned professional, Mr. Bograd walked me through the line and before I knew it I had a couple new suits, including a sleek new summer suit.
Several of the items needed alterations so I returned after our meeting to have them fitted. Mr. Bograd arranged a tailor to stop by and let me know they would be ready in a few days. Since I was scheduled to be back in the city in a couple weeks, I asked if the items could just be held to save shipping costs (I’m cheap). Within a couple hours, I received an email from Mr. Bograd thanking me for my business. I had a superior purchase experience but pretty standard expectations for a retailer of Bloomingdale’s class.
A few weeks later, I received a text from Nick letting me know about a great sale and he mentioned some shoes I had considered. I was impressed! Since I had visited the store, I had received several emails about sales and offers which I deleted as I do most email traffic. I would most likely have unsubscribed at some point, I just hadn’t done it at this point. The personal text was interesting, however. I texted back and asked if he could snap a couple pictures to make sure we found the right pair and if there were any other interesting styles he recommended.
Over the next couple days, we exchanged multiple texts and finally decided on a couple pairs that worked. Again, Mr. Bograd was able to simply hold the shoes until I could pick them up on a business trip. This entire exchange has caused me to think much more about fragmenting channels.
A few weeks earlier I had managed some car services via text with Denny from Jackie Cooper, since the service technician couldn’t get responses via email and voice message. Marketers must begin to consider how customers want to engage with brands they love. I can assure you, it’s not from a incessant stream of deals and offers.
In my own communications, I am now denoting client communication preferences. Those who will never answer an email, will return a text or a Twitter DM in a second. How can I become a better communicator and make their interactions with me better, easier and more personal? I think this fragmentation will accelerate.
I still prefer a phone call, or even better, breaking bread. Let’s grab a beer soon Nick.