Learn From the Best: How Nordstrom, 1-800-Flowers and Sephora Pair Old School Marketing With New Marketing Technology
For brands to stay relevant in our fast-paced, mobile and multi-channel world, they must show more value, more novelty, and more values than ever before. The traditional marketing of old — TV commercials, catalogs and most importantly word of mouth, are still very relevant today. Consumer attention, even a second of it, is worth more than gold today, and consumers feel this.
Because of this pressure cooker of demand for their attention, consumers actually appreciate this more traditional type of marketing. The “slow” movements of today — slow food and slow travel, for example — are in reaction to the rapid-fire pace of modern consumer life. Traditional branding and marketing are the “slow marketing” of today, allowing brands and consumers to take a step back in time to a simpler consumer-brand relationship.
With that being said, we are now in a different time — the era of AI, VR and chatbots. If a brand exclusively relies on old school marketing, they run the risk of becoming irrelevant, stale or out of touch. The smart digital marketing, or marketing technology of today can actually help brands position themselves to be at the forefront in their industries.
Martech, shorthand for MARketing TECHnology, are tools that assist marketing professionals in reaching their target audience and marketing goals. These platforms can take the form of email marketing, inbound or outbound marketing, social media marketing, marketing automation, or customer data platforms. Some martech platforms strive to be all-in-one tools, whereas many others perform specific tasks such as user segmentation or landing page optimization. Martech’s use of AI and machine learning actually helps brands connect better emotionally with consumers, touching an important nerve that gives them an edge.
A marketing strategy that combines these two approaches is what really works. Covering all bases ensures a far-reaching approach that can gain all types of consumers, young and old, high-tech and low. Nordstrom, 1-800-Flowers.com and Sephora are three brands that have a well-rounded, varied marketing strategy that utilizes traditional marketing with the new martech to reach impressive heights with ROI, brand awareness and brand loyalty.
Let’s first take a look at how the luxury department store brand Nordstrom pairs its century-old traditional values with 21st century technology.
Nordstrom, the beloved brand that is most known for its all-star customer service, exemplifies the marketing marriage between old school and new by maintaining its core value set while experimenting with new marketing and e-commerce technology.
Nordstrom opened its doors over a century ago, and has reigned as a customer favorite ever since. They are currently number one in customer satisfaction according to a wide-ranging Market Force survey. Their customer service reputation and brand loyalty is what sets them apart. They are known for a liberal and generous return policy; on the Nordstrom.com website, it states, “We handle returns on a case-by-case basis with the ultimate objective of making our customers happy.” There is no time limit for returns per se, and shopping is a full and pleasant experience. Nordstrom’s traditional marketing also includes the monthly Nordstrom catalog and Nordstrom credit card points.
Their new school marketing approach includes a Nordstrom branded app, their website with extensive user generated content and reviews, and their forward-thinking Pinterest buyable pins.
Let’s dig into each.
Pinterest Buyable Pins
Pinterest announced last year that users would be able to purchase pins directly on the platform. Nordstrom was one of the large retail brands to get on board. This is a way for a consumer to securely purchase the ‘pin’ or item they are interested in, directly on Pinterest without having to leave the platform.
Nordstrom.com has built up a robust and effective review and ratings system native to it’s website. A review consists of a written section, a 5-star rating system, the option to check boxes with qualities that describe the item, a scale to note if the item runs small or large, wide or thin (for shoes). There is also an option for the user to state whether the review was helpful or not. The user can sort reviews by rating, fit and even age! Just one pair of shoes can have a thread of over 500 reviews (see below). This is a massive amount of user-generated content, for users, by users.
Nordstrom’s branded app
Available for iOS and Android, Nordstrom’s branded app allows users to shop, check to see if a selected product is in a store nearby, and a Reserve and Try in Store feature, where users can put an item on hold and go into the store to try it on. Additionally, users can take a picture of a product they like to see similar items.
Cross-selling at its finest. See shoes you like? Take a picture and find similar items you may also like.
Users can browse, shop, and purchase all within the app.
With all that said, something is working for Nordstrom.
While other department stores taking a downturn (retail insiders point to Amazon’s dominance), Nordstrom’s sales last year were at a record high of $14.1 billion, up 35% since 2011.
Just from the company’s name, you can tell that 1-800-Flowers started off in a simpler consumer world, compared to our mobile-dominated reality of today. However, from the get-go they were early adopters of the newest technology of the time; they were one of the first retailers to use a toll-free retail phone number for direct sales, and subsequently online. And as early as 2009, they were doing e-commerce on Facebook (where they were one of the earliest adopters).
The company’s classic relationship marketing has always been paired with the latest technology. From their founding, 1-800-Flowers has relied on word of mouth recommendations and a stellar reputation with consumers while simultaneously pushing the boundaries by adopting the latest technology of the time. Jim McCann, the company’s founder, discusses personal relationships with customers as key to their marketing and business strategy: “It is critical for us to create and maintain a much deeper, …read more
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