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Bonobos exec: Mobile means more than just an optimized site

“Essentially, no matter what your competitive advantage is, you need to have a relationship with the customer.”

05/02/2012

Bonobos’ mobile site
NEW YORK – A Bonobos executive at Aberdeen Group’s Retail and Consumer Markets Summit said that although the online retailer has a mobile site, the company still has a ways to go with mobile.

During the “Connecting the Dots Between Social Messaging, Intimacy and Results” session, the executive spoke about how the company has used social media to create a two-way dialogue with its consumers. The session also gave attendees examples of campaigns that the retailer has used to build social media buzz.

“The underlying benefit of social media is finding specific instances where a customer might want to buy clothes,” said Richard Mumby, vice president of marketing at Bonobos, New York.

“If you think about what customers actually want, it is far more important for there to be a relationship,” he said.

Social speak
 Bonobos is primarily an online-only retailer, making digital a critical part of its marketing.

The company has pushed direct marketing heavily, but realized that there is only so far that certain digital channels can go in driving loyalty and traffic.

For example, even though SEO is important for any retailer with ecommerce, it primarily targets a one-way dialogue between a consumer and a brand.

Although there are a lot of different social media platforms available to brands, Facebook and Twitter reign as top dog, per the executive.

In order to fully take advantage of social media, brands need to think about relationship, scale and duration, per the exec.

In order to create a relationship, there has to be an added value and exchange to consumers for interacting with a brand on social media.

Social media also gives brands and retailers the ability to be flexible and instantaneous with their messages compared to other traditional media, particularly Twitter.

A social media strategy revolves around three ideas, per the exec – humanizing the brand, customer service and creating demand.

Facebook and Twitter were first based on the idea of creating relationships before they were open to marketers, showing the opportunities that brands have with social media. On the other hand, consumers also expect to not be spammed on their social media sites and want messages that are targeted to them.

Mr. Mumby said that 50 percent of customer service queries come from social media, showing how not only consumers are using social to connect with a brand, they are relying on it for quick questions and help.

This past holiday season, Bonobos’ Web site crashed from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. The company was surprised by how understanding consumers were about the mistake.

“Essentially, no matter what your competitive advantage is, you need to have a relationship with the customer,” Mr. Mumby said.

Personal social
 To create a two-way conversation, Bonobos has weekly chats with consumers on its Facebook page. Although the conversations might not always be strictly about the brand, it gives the company the opportunity to connect with its core demographic.

Additionally, Bonobos has used Twitter deals to get consumers to interact. For example, in order to unlock a deal, consumers had to retweet a message. Once the message was retweeted a certain number of times, consumers could then access the deal.

Mr. Mumby offered three takeaways to create a one-on-one relationship via social media. It is important to create relevant content, ask questions and own a distinct persona that represents the brand.

Brands need to think about which social media sites are best for particular messages. For example, the brand has found that March Madness campaigns, which last for a longer period of time, fit with Facebook and instant deals are tailored towards Twitter.

Although social media can be a powerful medium, it also has the possibility to negatively impact how a brand is perceived if consumers have a bad experience with the company.

“It’s important to think about how to use social media to stimulate direct demand and the value with creating a relationship with customer service,” Mr. Mumby said.