marti foundation pic (3)Why is it that some retailers just get it and others don’t?  A recent SHOP.org blog highlighted a retailer that really gets it.  Brooks Brothers, a 194 year old brand appears to have been consistently clear on their mission of customer service throughout their history.  Yet here they are – taking their consistent, time-tested mission and applying new tools like personalization. 
In the interview, Claudio Del Vecchio, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brooks Brothers says, “…our goal with personalization is to build an intelligent strategy that doesn’t lose any of the sales associate knowledge or the surprise of showing them something new. If we can do that well, we will remain true to our heritage of providing both outstanding personal service as well as innovation.”

Let me preface this by saying that with the exception of a short time period in the preppy 1980’s, I am not a Brooks Brothers type of shopper, so I have no allegiance to the brand.  But I do live near one of their stores located in the upscale Stanford Mall in Stanford, California.  Rents are high at the Stanford Mall and not every retailer makes it there.  But Brooks Brothers appears to have survived and thrived.

I have to believe that one of the reasons they thrive is their attention to the customer and their dedication to customer service all day, every day.  It’s a wise choice as it clearly allows them to build a loyal customer base.  This gives them two key things.  First, it allows Brooks Brothers in turn to charge premium prices: Hence, their ability to afford the rent at the upscale malls.  Secondly, it gives them a direct feedback loop into styles and preferences, so next season’s looks meet their customers’ desires as directly as possible increasing order conversions and average order size.

Read more about the interview with Brooks Brothers here http://blog.shop.org/2013/01/14/talking-with-brooks-brothers-chairman-and-ceo-claudio-del-vecchio-and-evp-for-direct-and-omnichannel-ken-seiff/ and learn how a simple thing like personalization translates into real, tangible business benefit.