STORES Magazine - March 2008 - (Page 75)

NUTS AND BOLTS / E-COMMERCE Boosting Face Time Interactive marketing part of the new approach at The North Face BY FIONA SOLTES f there was ever any question that The North Face was all about pushing boundaries and exploring uncharted territory, its footprint on the web should be answer enough. I Rather than rely on traditional oneway marketing to reach outdoor enthusiasts with its expeditions, gear and apparel, the company has been encouraging its consumer community to talk among themselves. Through a variety of unique technological applications — ranging from Google gadgets to “When people microsites that encourage users come to the site, to watch and upload videos — we want to give The North Face has drawn conthem the most sumers in and opened up discussions about the brand. core outdoor “Back in the day, you would experience possijust build a website, get the conble online. The tent up there and try to drive trafultimate goal is to fic to it,” says Kent Deverell, a get people inspired principal with San Franciscoto go outside.” based Fluid, a branded com– Sarah Gallagher, merce and online retail solution The North Face provider that has been working with The North Face for four years. “But “For us, it’s great to find that positive in the last year and a half, with the rise of feedback,” says Gallagher, senior mansocial networking, consumers are beager of interactive marketing for The coming content-creators themselves. The North Face. “But even when it’s neganew paradigm is to get people involved tive, we get a chance to respond to that. and allow them to own the brand.” It opens up a dialog, a connection, That might seem like risky business, which I think is always a good thing.” especially since it means a lack of conThe company has even gone a step furtrol: A consumer who mentions a prodther. With the use of gadgets, The North uct in a blog or on a site like Facebook Face is allowing consumers to add an incan say whatever he wants. But the way stant “mini-version” of the video of the Sarah Gallagher sees it, people have alday to their individual content hubs. ways talked about their likes, dislikes Think of it as a branded widget, something like a regularly updated weather and favorite brands with others; social forecast or stock ticker. They can now networking sites just “put it out there” be found on Google, My Yahoo!, Facein a way that lets companies like The book, MySpace, and core ski and snowNorth Face be part of the conversation. WWW.STORES.ORG boarding sites around the web, and can be viewed without having to go directly to or, the company’s video microsite for skiers and snowboarders. “People want to control their content wherever they are,” Gallagher says. “They want to decide what they see and when they see it. And now, with RSS feeds and podcasts, you can pull things into your site or into your hand-held device and take it with you wherever you go. The idea is to create something that lets people subscribe to our content, and put it where they want it.” It is still marketing, however, and to stay true to the brand, The North Face needs to make sure the message is authentic. To pull it off, the company has enlisted a team of athletes to share their own experiences and videos. “When we create a marketing campaign, we run it past our athlete teams,” Gallagher says. “It’s coming from them and us. We want it to be a very real voice.” The North Face doesn’t sell any merchandise directly through its website, but there are plans for that in 2008. Right now, the catalog is showcased online, but the site is really about “getting the content in front of people in the context of merchandising the products,” Deverell says. “And people will come to where there’s good content.” In order for them to return regularly, STORES / MARCH 2008 75 http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - March 2008

STORES Magazine - March 2008
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Sam’s Club Gets Tough on RFID Stragglers
Athletes for Hire
What Shoppers Think
Goodwill Hunting
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Luxury’s Shrinking Purse
Workplace Law
First Look
Green Retailing
Cosmetic Sales
Inventory Tracking
Loeb Retail Letter
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Industry Calendar
Last Laugh

STORES Magazine - March 2008