On one of the hottest days of the year I received an email from Russell & Bromley announcing their new autumn range.
Was I wanting to think about buying ankle boots? Brogues? No, I was actually thinking that I needed another pair of sandals.
Was the timing of the email from Russell & Bromley optimal? Well probably from their point of view having now received their autumn stock they need to move it through as quickly as possible to enhance cashflow after the lockdowns. They may even be thinking that they need to sell as much as possible as quickly as possible as come the autumn there is a chance that a second Covid-19 wave could mean that there is a second lockdown affecting their retail stores. So, from their point of view it probably was timely from a business survival point of view.
However, from their customers’ point of view, struggling in >30C heat and humidity trying on autumn shoes is not a top priority. Managing to work from home effectively without air conditioning and a decent night’s sleep is more likely to be an issue that they are thinking about, wanting a solution for.
That leads to another issue that retailers such as Russell and Bromley are facing at the moment too: People working from home tend to dress down. Not wearing shoes as they have the option of bare feet / comfy socks, slippers or trainers – none of which are applicable in offices, but can’t be seen on Zoom so who cares? So, if they are not wearing shoes then they are not wearing them out.
The ankle boots are probably fine as casual wear when socialising in the cooler months, as much as we can socialise, but many styles are just too dressy for around home. I know that I have several pairs of heels that go with my various business suits / dresses, that have not been worn in months, for some not at all this year! So, even though I have been a Russell and Bromley customer in the past, I don’t need to buy again right now.
So, what could Russell and Bromley have done with their email to be applicable to me? Well concentrated on the leisure / casual shoes that they have, and dare I say it, sandals – I could have very well have been tempted to order a pair of sandals online when I opened that email, but I dismissed the email as irrelevant at this time for me. Lost opportunity.
Yes as Marketers we plan our campaigns carefully. We know launch dates and the order things are going out to the customer. But we also need to be aware that the situation can change for our customers for a wide variety of reasons and have the flexibility, the dynamism to react to those changes too to maximise the sales and remain credible to our prospects. In B2B many companies use BANTS to qualify a lead, the T being timeliness of approach, maybe B2C marketers need to think about that too.