In the closing keynote for the 2014 Shop.org Summit in Seattle, founders of three successful retail startups discussed the key influence loyal customers have on building their companies’ brands.
“We’re obsessed with our customer,” said Birchbox co-founder and co-CEO Katia Beauchamp. While the beauty subscription service has a wide demographic, many customers share the same obsession with efficiency and curated personalization—two core principles of the Birchbox business.
Beauchamp also stated that a lot of Birchbox’s appeal is its ability to "surprise and delight" customers each month with new boxes filled with personalized, curated beauty samples. Online daily deal site Zulily applies this same entertainment value to its business, once again adding personalization through targeted emails (a “huge part of the business,” according to co-founder and president and CEO Darrell Cavens) and custom homepages.
This customization and loyalty to the brand could be found in many other presentations throughout the day.
Troy Brown, EVP of e-commerce and omnichannel at Zumiez, emphasized the importance the company places on hiring to maintain its self-proclaimed cool, authentic, and edgy brand image — one of its most important assists when driving sales and attracting new customers.
“When Tom [Zumiez founder] founded the company, he found that the greatest risk to the culture is hiring someone who might damage it,” said Brown.
Beauchamp reiterated this idea, stating: “The company culture you create becomes your consumer brand.”
With the right people keeping the brand image alive, IBM’s John Stelzer says loyalty to the company will follow.
“The strongest driver of trust is satisfaction,” said Stelzer “And the strongest driver of loyalty is trust.”
Here, some more news that came out of the conference
New ecommerce sites
- Houzz president and co-founder Alon Cohen announced that the home remodeling site has launched a beta of its e-commerce marketplace.
- Birchbox will soon be launching a new homepage with more personalized content and recommendations.
Global analytics firm Blueocean Market Intelligence released its annual predictions for digital retail this holiday season. The firm predicts a rise of social shopping and an increase spend on social and geo-targeted campaigns during the holidays, and an earlier start to the retail season.
Kohl’s omnichannel expansion
- Ratnakar Lavu, EVP of digital innovation at Kohl’s, announced that the retailer will be testing in-store beacons this holiday season, which will provide consumers with offers and advertise new brands as they walk through select stores.
- The company is also launching a loyalty program that will let members collect points through social networking activities, on top of purchases made.