Are offline experiences becoming more important to online performance?
Home essentials brand Parachute and sunglasses brand Blenders have both made their mark as online companies, but they’ve done a lot of offline work to get there. In a session at the 2019 Internet Retailer Conference and Expo (IRCE) in Chicago, Chase Fisher, founder of Blenders Eyewear and Luke Droulez, CMO of Parachute, explained the importance of weaving offline experience into online strategy to succeed with a digital brand.
“I think it’s important to note that while we all have our phones on us all day, every day, a lot of what we do still occurs offline,” said Mr. Droulez. “So, I think it’s important to create experiences and engagements that can then drive online activity, offline activity … kind of confirming the customer relationship.”
Mr. Fisher discussed the success the company has had partnering with Groove Cruise, a 72-hour, twice-yearly music event with dance music provided by 50 famous DJs. People who RSVP are invited to a Facebook group where they can vote on designs for sunglasses created exclusively for the event. Then VIP guests, DJs and other big-name influencer guests are sent product to wear on the cruise. By having the product woven into the physical experience of the cruise, it puts cruise attendees in the position of being social media advertisers. They spend 72 hours creating videos, Instagram posts and the like featuring the products which the company can then re-purpose.
Mr. Droulez discussed the importance of offline marketing in the form of traditional advertising campaigns that provide a sense of comfort — as the brand’s product does — in places where people are otherwise uncomfortable, such as on subway commutes or stuck in traffic.
Both brands have begun opening physical outlets as well, a strategy which many have begun to find is a more important part of the e-commerce equation than it had been in the past. Rather than larger footprints, they’ve focused on small boutique store locations, which represent the brand’s values and fit the culture of the local community.
“For our audience, that tactile in-person experience is what they need,” said Mr. Droulez.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think a physical presence is more important for digital brands today than it was 5 years ago? What are the keys to success for online brands looking to develop an offline presence?