I had one of the most pleasant digital encounters with a brand last week. It was with Bergdorf Goodman. I was trying to find a new coat. I knew which coat I wanted; I had come across it on Tumblr a while back and saved it to Pinterest. I knew they carried the label too, as I discovered during a prior visit to their store. What I didn’t know is if they had it in stock, in my size, and in my price range.
As enjoyable as it would have been to visit the store itself, it’s a hell of a trek from where I live in Brooklyn to the store and I know they carry a limited selection of this particular brand.
My first move was to reach out to them on Facebook. I shared a photo of the coat and asked if they carried it. They responded in an hour and the conversation went like this:
Me: Any chance you carry this Isaia coat?
BG: Hi Derrick! Emailing our buyers to see. If we don’t have that specific color or style, are you open to seeing what we do have?
Me: I’m pretty set on it, but I’m always open.
BG: Hi Derrick! A bit of an update for you: we don’t have that style on the floor but are more than happy to see if Isaia can arrange a special order for you (assuming they have the coat). Is this something that you would be interested in pursuing?
Me: I’m interested. Where can I shoot an email w/ a couple follow up questions?
BG: Hi Derrick! Please be on the look-out for a private message. Sending you contact information for our Men’s Manager!
I’m super impressed already. Their response, stock-check, and follow-up all happened in less than a couple of hours. The private message never found me on Facebook, but they kicked it up a notch – they made the effort to find me on Twitter to continue the dialogue. I don’t share my Twitter profile publicly on Facebook, but a quick Google Search would reveal it rather quickly and I imagine that’s the route they took. So simple, but it impresses me that they went through the effort to find me in a place where they knew the conversation could continue.
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After trading a few DM’s I had the name, email, and direct contact number for Nelson Liriano, Bergdorf Goodman’s Men’s Store Director. The social media manager made sure to familiarize Nelson with my ask so there was no need for me to bring him up-to-speed when I reached out. Again, so impressed with Bergdorf Goodman.
Nelson did some digging for me and found the coat. He was back in touch just a day later (he was OOO the day I reached out, which I already knew from my conversation with Bergdorf Goodman on Twitter). Turns out there was only one coat left and it happened to be in my size (oh snap!). Unfortunately, it came with a price tag too high for me to swallow and I had to let it go.
How to Make Good Great
This is a great story for brands looking to pursue one-to-one communication with their customers. That Bergdorf Goodman brought all of this to bear for a potential sale is even more impressive. It didn’t require a spectacularly designed website, an iPhone app, a presence on Pinterest, or the like. All it took was a well-designed system, process, and connection with the brand’s core capabilities to service customer inquiries. Here's what Bergdorf Goodman could do to take it to the next level.
- Get me in an awesome CRM tool, one that accepts data from social APIs. I include the social bit because I think it’d be awesome if, for example, they knew I was planning a trip and could advise on what I should consider bringing with me and perhaps recommend a purchase or two. This data exists, you just need to know how to connect a couple of the dots.
- Use the intel they’ve collected on me to tailor their email offerings. This goes hand in hand with the CRM tool, but Bergdorf Goodman’s email program could use some love and the types of conversations I’ve just had with them should look like bright, shiny objects they can use to tailor what they share with me. I actually unsubscribed from their newsletter a while back because it wasn’t contextual enough. I had to do the same with Bloomingdale’s new Loyallist program for the same reason. Mr. Porter is now the only menswear email newsletter I subscribe to because they’ve nailed (for the most part) the contextual, personalized part.
- Identify avenues to bring the awesome one-to-one experience I had online back to the store. Whoever is managing Bergdorf Goodman’s social profiles (I think it’s Cannon Hodge) is killing it. They’re exceptionally helpful, kind, knowledgable, and quick to respond. I don’t feel the same way when I go to their store. To be sure, I’m not their typical customer, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to take some of what they’ve got working for them in digital and bring it to the store.
Well done, Bergdorf Goodman.