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DSW: a Retail Experience for Shoe Lovers

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Apr 9, 2012 9:45:00 AM

This is a 3 minute read.

DSW shoe loversThe DSW - aka Designer Shoe Warehouse - retail experience focuses intensely on conveniently bringing together customers [aka shoe lovers] and an ever-changing shoe inventory. DSW makes makes shoe buying easy.

According to Harris Mustafa, Executive Vice President, Supply Chain and Merchandise Planning and Allocation for DSW per a NRF Retail's Big Blog interview titled DSW exec talks value, loyalty and omnichannel, DSW focuses its retail experience on Shoe Lovers, particularly those "who appreciate style and value, a convenient place to shop online or at the store."

I experienced this firsthand when I introduced my daughter, a fellow shoe lover, to DSW this past weekend.

What struck me about our visit to DSW was how "shoe lover" focused the entire retail experience was.

As we walked through the store doors, we saw "now hiring: shoe lovers".

Within the store itself, every shoe there, from the practical to the preposterous, proclaimed 'shoe lover haven and heaven'! I've never encountered a shoe shopping environment more conducive to efficient browsing and easy shopping... No one stands between the shopper and the shoe. When love hits, and the price is right, it's an easy decision.

At checkout, the sales associates wore badges [similar to those worn by Apple store employees] identifying them as 'shoe lovers'.

In the interview, Mustafa was asked about DSW's "ever-changing inventory. What drives the purchasing decisions at your organization?" He explains "our merchants are constantly in the marketplace looking for new trends and fashions. We buy on an on-going basis rather than only a few times a year. We are constantly injecting freshness into our assortments."

That's guaranteed to drive shoe lovers back to DSW on a regular basis.

At the heart of DSW's product focus lies an intense focus on customers - aka shoe lovers. The systems that DSW uses exist to facilitate bringing shoe lovers and shoes together. That includes mobile technology [check out DSW aims to increase shoe sales via QR code initiative for a taste of DSW's use of QR codes].

In a second interview, Mustafa offers additional insight in DSW EVP talks analytics, mobile, and more on the EXPO floor.

If you visit the DSW website, you'll notice how focused it is on searching, browsing and purchasing shoes. DSW's Twitter feed @DSWShoeLovers has a similar vibe.

The DSW Facebook Fan Page, however, brings to life shoe passion shared between customers and DSW. A Design Affair, a contest sponsored with the Fashion Institute of Technology, is alive with wonderful photos of fellow shoe lovers taken at DSW stores around the country.

What I admire about DSW is that it has chosen 'shoe lovers' as its core customer persona. Every aspect of the business supports the shoe lover focus.

Imagine doing something similar for your retail experience... What would your store look like if your core persona were the 'home lover' or the 'car lover'? How would you rethink every system to eliminate any hurdle that came in between your product and your customers? 


Topics: retail experience

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