We spoke to founder Jacob Wood to discuss the balance between seizing attention and saving it, as well as the importance of the shared journey between brand and customers.
Jacob, you are a Kickstarter powered business, with 4 or more successful campaigns under your belt at this point. What advantage does Kickstarter provide for the customer experience versus a more traditional channel?
What I love about Kickstarter, is how we’re able to tell a story and connect with customers on a personal level. It’s really unparalleled.
A traditional e-comm channel is transactional, customers visit your site and purchase a shirt because they need one and they like your branding/quality, etc. . Whereas with Kickstarter, we can share our journey with a customer. We tell them why we created this shirt, and how awesome it is, and really share our entrepreneurial journey. Backers receive exclusive updates, and have a direct channel to founders and leaders of start ups.
The Kickstarter crowd (and a lot of the general public) love to hear a good entrepreneurial story, everybody would rather side with David (in my case, Woodies) vs. Goliath (Amazon, J.Crew). Kickstarter is a great platform for the “Davids” of the world.
Do you think that because your customers are “backers” they have different expectations from, say, J.Crew’s customers?
As I mentioned earlier, traditional e-comm is transactional. People shop on J.Crew, because they were emailed about new merchandise, some discounts, or they simply need some clothes. If quality or sizing need tweaking, they will give poor reviews and unsubstantial feedback (ex. fit sucked, will never shop here again).
A Kickstarter backer, is on Kickstarter not because they “need” something or because something is on “sale.” The Kickstarter crowd is around to find the next cool thing, they want to be early adopters. They like hearing directly from the founders. They like to have their voice heard, and they know (at least with me), that we’ll listen. If delivery is off, or a feature is different than expected, they are patient and give thoughtful feedback. Instead of hearing, “what gives with this button hole?!” They’ll say, “hey, I love what you’re doing, and the quality is amazing. But I think your button hole could use additional work, have you thought of doing this…”
Do you agree with the overarching saving OR seizing concept? If so, perhaps you could share two case studies with us: one where you saved the customers attention, and one where you seized it?
Woodies started as an attention seizing company. We required a dedicated 30 minutes to an hour to complete the ordering process. Customers would need to grab a tape measure, watch some instructional measuring videos, and input measurements (and probably double and triple check measurements). This made for high cart abandonment rates on our site.
I’ve always sought to lessen that friction with the customer and taking measurements, and that’s why we invested heavily in a 3D measurement algorithm. We’re now able to accurately predict your shirt/bottom measurements based off as little as your height, weight and average shirt size (no tape measure required). 3D measuring takes seconds, and once those measurements are generated, they are saved to your size profile. Ordering and reordering perfect fitting clothes is quick and easy.
The biggest value proposition for a Woodies customer is being able to buy consistently perfect fitting clothing, with minimal effort or time.
Which brand, big or small, within your industry or outside, continually inspires you with it’s customer experience?
A company that inspires me is Patagonia. I feel like Patagonia, is a value driven company. Because Yvon has kept Patagonia privately owned, he is beholden to no investors or banks, only to customers, himself and his company. Patagonia is the ultimate lifestyle company.
I love the authenticity and transparency of the brand, and how they approach the traditional retail philosophy of pushing sales and promotions on customers. Are they driven to sell merchandise? Sure, but first and foremost they’re building functional, durable goods.
The used Patagonia marketplace (Worn Wear) is genius. It’s complete opposite to the “throw away” fashion that is so rampant in retail. It promotes recycling clothes, reducing landfill waste, and increases customer loyalty.
I love unorthodox companies, and Patagonia certainly fits the bill.