Moosejaw Leverages Its Small Size
Sometimes, being the "little guy" can be an advantage. In an interview with RetailWire last week at Shop.org, Dan Pingree, VP of marketing for Moosejaw, and Dominique Levin, the VP of Marketing for AgilOne, explained how they work together to drive revenue via personalized relationship marketing.
Moosejaw, according to the company, is the third largest (by revenue) outdoor gear and apparel retailer. At the core of Moosejaw’s "most fun outdoor retailer on the planet" philosophy, which includes not taking itself too seriously and even being a little snarky. For example, there is its guarantee, the "Moosejaw Living Will," which states, in part, that customers can still return products "if they are dead," but that if product is returned in unsellable condition it will be shipped back to the customer who will not receive a refund.
While big retailers may spend more on data and analytics, Moosejaw works at speaking with the customer in a unique voice and meshing creativity with data so it can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. As Mr. Pingree explained, Moosejaw spends a lot of time and effort building profiles on customers and improving relationships with its best customers. Moosejaw is able to analyze each customer on 400 dimensions to determine his/her lifetime value and communicate accordingly.
With only 11 physical stores, 85 percent of Moosejaw’s business is online. It has an active Facebook presence (90,000+ likes) and seems to use it to connect with fans by having a little fun, holding drawings for free product and answering customer queries. (The retailer answers every single one.) Moosejaw has over 21,000 followers on Twitter, which seems to be mainly used to joke around and answer the occasional inquiry. And they have a loyalty program that provides 10 percent-back credits with auto enrollment and accrual as soon as an item ships.
Mr. Pingree said Moosejaw’s creativity and sense of fun can sometimes be taken too far, getting the company into hot water. The retailer’s customers and Facebook fans let them know it when that happens so the company can adjust. One advantage Moosejaw has is that it isn’t a public company, so it doesn’t have to work at satisfying Wall Street, although it is owned by two private equity firms — Parallel Partners (Dallas, TX) and Glenco Capital (Detroit, MI) — so one would think they are looking for ROI.
Are smaller retailers such as Moosejaw in a better position to take risks that help them to stand out in a crowd? Has the cost of predictive analytics and digital marketing gotten to the point where smaller merchants can do it as well or better than the big guys?