Kendra Scott is going all in on experiential marketing.
The $1 billion jewelry brand hosts 12 to 20 events per month in each of its 94 American stores. The events are often co-hosted by a local influencer or media partner, and range from shopping parties to aura readings to floral arrangement classes. Many also include a charity partner, playing into the company’s Kendra Gives Back initiative. A percentage of their proceeds are donated to a charity, resulting in an average of $4.5 million in donations a year.
“Events are a huge, huge revenue driver for us,” said Amy Young, Kendra Scott’s director of retail marketing, during an NRF-adjacent event at the Kendra Scott SoHo flagship on Monday. She noted that many include perks for attendees, like a limited-edition gift with purchase. And the fact that sales support charities only during events’ two-hour windows often motivates guests to shop.
Young oversees a retail operations team, which works with events teams at each store to both ensure plans comes to fruition and funnel back associate feedback. Young called the store’s events teams, each led by an events manager, well-oiled machines, pointing out that they do all marketing and PR for their events (which are planned at least a month out), as well as pinpoint partner charities aligned with the brand. It’s important that each team member is well-connected in the area and has their finger on the pulse of local events.
Throughout 2019, Young said she’ll be fine-tuning Kendra Scott’s approach to events to ensure each included partner and focal point resonates with customers. “It used to be just putting out champagne and macarons,” she said. “But now, our events are so focused on what [the customer] cares about, how the different elements will make her feel and what will be memorable.”
She called events excellent opportunities for data acquisition and customer retention. In knowing what events a customer attends, the company better understands their interests and can cater its communications to them accordingly. What’s more, thanks to partner hosts’ help in reaching new audiences, each new event results in new subscribers to Kendra Scott’s email list.
To help amplify the events beyond local contacts, the company has started streaming those featuring founder Kendra Scott on Facebook Live and Instagram Live. In addition, attendees receive follow-up thank-you emails, often featuring shareable videos and party pics from the event, granting guests yet another opportunity to promote their experience.
Making the events Insta-worthy is key, said Young. “If you have 75 people attending your event, that’s potentially 75 more ambassadors for your brand,” she said. “Your event guests become brand ambassadors without even knowing it, if you provide that right activation.” –Jill Manoff
How Alibaba is helping beauty brands with product development
The Chinese beauty market is worth approximately $3.1 billion, and beauty brands are figuring out how to continue growing in the region in the face of demanding consumers and a fast-paced, e-commerce-centered environment.
One way is to develop products specifically for that market. Last Friday, Alibaba announced a new program called A100, a strategic partnership initiative designed to work with foreign brands as a “one-stop solution to accelerate their digital transformation.” Consumer packaged goods companies like Unilever and P&G are official partners of A100. Shiseido, Coty Inc. and L’Oréal Group have all partnered with Alibaba to co-develop products for the Chinese consumer, but they are not yet official A100 members due to the newness of their relationships with the company, said an Alibaba spokesperson.
This month, Shiseido plans to open in Hangzhou a facility for collaboration with Alibaba, before starting to jointly develop products with the Chinese e-commerce empire, according to Nikkei Asian Review. In Nov. 2018, Coty and Alibaba announced a partnership to install vending machines in malls of major Chinese cities, as well as to co-develop initiatives with beauty and hair salons. Coty will also tap into Alibaba’s data on domestic consumers, according to Bloomberg. And in September, L’Oréal announced it had started working with Alibaba to create products for Chinese men.
“Virtually every oversees brand that is in China or going to go into China is going to look at Alibaba as a potential partner, just because of its dominance,” said Franklin Chu, managing director of cross-border e-commerce solutions company Azoya USA. “In terms of co-producing products, there could be some value added because of the volume and breadth of the [Alibaba] Tmall platform. They have so much detailed information around specific categories.”
According to Alibaba, many of the A100 partners work with a designated team or a project manager to serve as the main bridge between the brand and Alibaba, in order to boost efficiency and reduce chances for misunderstandings. Companies can tap into experts in 11 different areas, including branding, product development, sales, marketing, channel management and customer services. –Emma Sandler
How Foot Locker relies on store associates to retain a cool factor
If sneaker brands are having a good year — and they are — that means Foot Locker is having a good year. The retailer’s sales have been going strong, and according to Barron’s, its brick-and-mortar revenue tracks closely with the performance of the big sneaker brands it carries.
I spoke with Geoff Green, Foot Locker’s vp of talent acquisition, about the company’s reliance on in-store staff to drive its brick-and-mortar sales. He said that, ultimately, the company’s sales come from being in touch with the youth culture Foot Locker targets, and being in touch with that culture comes from hiring people who are already connected to it.
“The company culture is a byproduct of the people we hire,” said Green. “They create it. So we hire people who are in touch with the youth culture — whether that’s through fashion, music, art or sports — that we are trying to tap into. All of our managers are internally promoted, and that keeps the culture consistent. We have 2,400 store managers across North America. When we are hiring for a higher position, chances are there’s someone who already works with us who can handle it.”
As an example, Green pointed to the company’s “power store” concept, the latest iteration of which is opening in Detroit next week.
“We decided to take an old Walgreens location in Detroit and build a community there,” said Green. “So we are hiring [Foot Locker veterans] from the community. It’s close to the bus stop, and there’s seating outside and inside. It’s cold in Detroit, so if kids want to come in and hang out while they wait for the bus, they can do that. That’s how you build a community, and that’s how you build a culture.” –Danny Parisi