It's My Birthday! 4 Ways Brands Can Learn From My Tory Burch Experience

Facebook has my birthday so I assume every other retailer and their first born also has it available to make my day extra special. If they can re-target and follow me with Instagram ads using beacons after I walked into their store, then the possibilities are endless!

My birthday was just a few days ago, on December 7th. I began to receive birthday offers from stores on December 1st. Perfect timing! It made me think about how brands can take advantage of this opportunity to gain a new loyal customer or enhance the budding relationship.

“A study by Germany-based customer engagement company Hybris, conducted by Forrester Consulting, shows a gap between consumers’ expectations of personalized marketing and what marketers are delivering. The study shows that while 66 percent of marketers rate their personalization efforts as “very good” or “excellent,” only 31 percent of consumers say companies are consistently delivering personalized, cross-channel experiences.”

Based on this study and what I have experienced, I agree. Retargeting on Facebook and Instagram is standard compared to an overall personalization strategy that can deliver a birthday experience that is relevant to you, your purchase history, consistent across channels, and accessible to your employees.

Compete on experience instead of racing to the bottom of price. A birthday is the best time to make a difference. When someone is passionate about your brand and has a connection, they don’t look for the low price, they get value in other ways — like the birthday gift you send them via snail mail. I will pay more for a good quality brand that I trust.

Here is what brands need to get right in order to win the race to the top of experience. Kudos to Tory Burch for getting it right!

The Right Timing

One of the offers I received was for $10 off within the next two weeks for a service. Come on! Give me some breathing room - especially for a service that doesn’t even need to be that frequent. That offer is definitely a bigger win for the brand, not me.

I received my Tory Burch birthday email gift on December 1st with NO EXPIRATION DATE. Perfect timing!


The Right Offer

I recently attended the ‘Connect Shopper’ webinar hosted by Salesforce which highlights

“79% like it when they receive complementary product offers or promotions based on their purchasing histories from a retailer, indicating a desire for more personalized shopping experiences.”

In the offer content, demonstrate your personalization skills and highlight some recommendations, while also leaving the door open to purchase anything. I am a fan of the discount on total purchase as was presented in the Tory Burch offer.

The Chosen Channel

It isn’t about one channel - it is about the unified journey across all channels. As you can see from my Tory Burch birthday gift, she provides me specific instructions on how to use at the store or online. 

It is a myth that Millennials are so-called e-commerce shoppers - 23% do research in-person - higher than both Generation X and Baby Boomers! In fact, they research on every channel which means you have an opportunity to grab their attention and enhance the overall journey across all channels.

If you are communicating on several channels, save your reputation and make sure it is uniform. Another stat from the ‘Connected Shopper’ report shows 47% of shoppers feel annoyed when they receive an offer via a separate channel for the same product that they purchased in store.

If you really want to go the extra mile with the birthday gift, send it snail mail. Last year, I received a merchandise birthday and Christmas gift from Tory Burch in the mail. Apparently, I didn’t shop as much this year…

The Right Tools

Make Sure Your Employees Have Access To Information! Salesforce is a great example of a tool that provides the ability to connect to your shoppers in the right way and seamlessly across channels.

I don’t know what tools Tory Burch is using; however, I was amazed by the experience on my visit during my birthday trip to the Hamptons. I was thrilled when I saw there was a Tory Sport store in East Hampton. Since the brand is fairly new and there are only a few physical stores, we just had to stop to complete my collection of golf dresses. I am right there with the 66% who prefer to touch and feel stuff in the store. My boyfriend told me to pick out something for my birthday.

Upon checkout, I remembered that I received the birthday email; however, I was having trouble locating it. While I would expect a certain level of service at my normal Tory Burch store in NYC, I was in a different store and brand - anything goes.

Since I am a fanatic about customer experience and technology, I notice when disjointed online and offline systems cause employees pain. I was not optimistic that the systems in place would enable me to use my offer. I was pleasantly surprised when the associate was able to locate MY PERSONALIZED BIRTHDAY email and code!

The Tory Burch experience is a perfect example of how brands have an opportunity to create an advocate and loyal customer through personalization. I don't purchase Tory Burch products at department stores or other distribution channels because the experience I receive direct at Tory Burch is best.

Remember that personalization is delivered by the STORE instead of the BRAND you purchase.

The distribution model adds a whole different challenge to a brand's ability to deliver a unified customer experience. I will leave that for a future discussion.

If you are not in B2C, this can still apply to you. Recognizing your main contacts birthday at the business or the company anniversary is a great complimentary strategy for B2B businesses.

What are the best offers you have received on your birthday?

Yours Truly,

Randa Green

How Uniqlo Will Show Your Body Temperature Rise In The Mirror And More

What You Can Learn From The PSFK Future of Retail

I attended the PSFK Future of Retail event last week in NYC. 

Even though the event had a focus on the retail industry, all 10 pillars can equally be applied in different industries. In the end, it comes down to understanding the human behavior of psychology and choice, the importance of communities and relationships, and how you use it to create engaging and personalized experiences in person and across different channels.

The speakers at the NYC event last week were all fantastic. The stories were the perfect complement to the pillars. I had read a few articles about MikMak prior to the event; however, it was much more helpful to hear the story behind the brand from the founder, Rachel Tipograph. It is a perfect example of how a brand can eliminate obstacles.

Here are the 10 pillars with key trends and brand examples shared by PSFK - along with a few of my comments.

1. Create Confidence

  • PSFK Examples: The Pirch, Sephora
  • PSFK Key Trends: Product Immersion, Guided Recommendations

I am a big fan of Uniqlo. Their Heattech apparel is a Winter necessity for layering. They now have smart mirrors to validate the technology and create confidence for customers in the stores. To learn more about strategies that contribute to online shopper confidence, check out this article.

2. Perfect Partnership

  • PSFK Examples: Virgin Hotels x Gap, Insta Cart x All Recipes
  • PSFK Key Trends: Cross-Channel Rewards, Additive Experiences

During the event, PSFK shared the partnership where you can have a Gap wardrobe delivered to your Virgin Hotels room. Westin and New Balance partnered together to help travelers keep their commitment to a healthy lifestyle with exercise. No more excuses for skipping that workout.

3. Optimize Ownership

  • PSFK Examples: Patagonia, GoEnjoy
  • PSFK Key Trends: Cultivated Expertise, Always-On Support is a great example of a company that optimizes ownership. Service Cloud enables companies to deliver a superior support experience. The app exchange provides clients with integration options galore to complement the platform. Customers get the most value with products they understand. new training platform Trailheads cultivates experts with gamification and badges. The best part, it’s free!

4. Democratize Access

  • PSFK Examples: StitchFix, Rebecca Minkoff
  • PSFK Key Trends: Customer Concierges, Aspirational Experiences

Customer concierges and aspirational experiences were two key trends highlighted. Stitch Fix and Trunk Club are just two examples of businesses that promote your very own ‘personal shopper’ that curates items specific for you. If you prefer the aspirational experiences, talks about 3 examples of brands experimenting with virtual reality.

Finally, for your next trip, book a stay at a Marriott to experience the first  ever VRoom Service. Samsung and Marriott partner to  bring virtual reality to your room.

5. Eliminate Obstacles

  • PSFK Examples: Starbucks, Hointer & Macys, MikMak
  • PSFK Key Trends: Anywhere Purchase Platforms, Shop Ahead, One-Click Transactions

Eliminating purchase obstacles is a pretty popular one. How can you make it an effortless experience for the shopper? Amazon one click purchase is downright dangerous!

You know the feeling of seeing the slip from UPS or Fedex when you missed a shipment? The people at Shyp relate to that feeling as well as the need to keep up with the nomads that move every year (I bet a lot of college and city dwellers fit into that category). Shyp just announced that it will eliminates addresses. When you use the app to ship, you only need to know the username of the recipient.

We all know the hardest part about online shopping is the fear that it will not fit. Unless you are familiar with the brand and sizing, you may not be willing to drop the cash or credit for the item. Fear no more, Try is a new service that partners with brands so you can try the clothes on prior to the purchase. Bloomingdales, Barneys, J Crew, Reformation, Topshop, and Zara are just a few on the list of the retailers.

6. Promote Transparency

  • PSFK Examples: Amazon Elements
  • PSFK Key Trends: Storied Products, Reciprocal Relationships

People want to know the origin of the product. Where was it made? Was it fair trade? There is a story about the lifecycle of each garment - for both the materials and the process. We should understand the impact it has on the environment, and the quality. Zady is establishing a new standard with its clothing line. They are educating consumers about the product, people, and planet. Sustainability is not only important for the food we consume, it is in the clothing we wear.

7. Encourage Advocacy

  • PSFK Examples: Sony, Chevrolet x Whatsapp
  • PSFK Key Trends: Shopper-Led Exchange, Crowd Buy-In

In the world of social media and influencers, it is no wonder there is a focus to encourage advocacy. Every brand should build this into their DNA. In one of my blog posts, I shared how you can learn from Bonobos and master customer advocacy with three simple tips. For additional tips, this article on ways to identify potential brand champions, is also a good one.

8. Cultivate Community

  • PSFK Examples: Bjornborg, Audi
  • PSFK Key Trends: Cultural Hubs, Collaborative Marketplaces

More brands are creating methods for customers to be a part of the community or featured on the website when they tag social media pictures like #revolveme for Revolve Clothing. During Spring Break this year, American Eagle had the world’s largest unretouched selfie in Miami as part of its ‘Love Your Real Selfie’ campaign.

Second hand store, Vestiaire Collection launched #theonethatgotaway campaign. They invite users to post a story about the piece of clothing that they saw - and never purchased. The hope is that one of the other 4 million users has that piece of clothing to sell.

All the links on Stylinity are shoppable. It is a collaborative community for brands and individuals that love to take a selfie. Stylinity has a StylePerks program that awards people when someone makes a purchase from their selfie.

9. Recognize & Personalize

  • PSFK Examples: Walgreens, Moda Operandi
  • PSFK Key Trends: 360-Degree Service, Predictive Assistance

People expect personalization. There is no reason why we should receive emails that are irrelevant to us. Brands need to have a clear analytics strategy to understand the customer and the appropriate actions. HBR recently did a good article on selecting an analytics vendor. Brands should also think about how they will leverage data across all channels to help drive the right degree of personalization for when and how to connect with each customer.

10. Deliver Delight

  • PSFK Example: Kenneth Cole
  • PSFK Key Trend: Insider Exclusives

Alice & Olivia and Tory Burch are two of my favorite brands. It is dangerous that they are just a few short blocks from one another. Not only do I love their style, both Stacey Bendet and Tory Burch are a true inspiration for building successful empires. As a frequent shopper, I get to enjoy pre-sale events and receive gifts in the mail during the holiday. Last year, I was so delighted when I opened a perfectly packaged copy of the Tory Burch Color book. And just a few weeks ago, Alice & Olivia delighted me with two free tickets to the Meatpacking Open Market kickoff event. Sometimes, you can also simply create the illusion of exclusivity as shared in this article.

I am excited to see the future of retail and how brands will balance the technology with the personalization. Even though I love technology, my loyalty is always with those that I can have a personal connection. Here is a post inspired by my experience with Alice & Olivia - a brand with authentic personality.

What do you think about the 10 pillars in the PSFK Future of Retail?

Yours Truly,

Randa Green