toms imgAt eTail West today we heard a great presentation by Leah Stigile, VP of Global eBusiness at TOM’s shoes.  Most everyone knows about the TOM’s brand and their one-for-one mission. It’s a terrific story that resonates with many here in San Antonio.  The 2013 announcement of the TOM’s Marketplace for social entrepreneurship has also drawn attention as an innovative approach to eCommerce. At Baynote, we have blogged before about the importance of first really understanding who your customer is, and TOM’s is another shining example of that. Stigile spoke about their focus on millennials and two of the primary strategies they took that have helped them capture more of the hearts, minds and pockets of their target customer. It seems so basic but the first step was to go mobile. Millennials are the largest group of consumers in the US (on par with the Baby Boomers at about 80 million strong) and the most aggressive users of mobile technology to shop. The TOM’s app, announced in 2012, was a crucial stepping-stone to gain mindshare by being available 24X7 in the pockets and purses of their target customer. The obvious offshoot of this for the millennial crowd was social On Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and the rest, TOM’s calls their customers “fans” and uses these platforms to promote their branded products, marketplace items and build community. In fact, they even selected 50 of their fans to participate in delivering donated shoes to impoverished countries.

Its really a great story of starting out with a core set of principles, products and people, marrying that with what they learn about their fans and how those fans want to interact with the TOM’s brand, deploying new technologies and continually innovating to meet the needs of all. Sounds to me like one for one really means one for all.