How One Fashion Retailer Got it Right with Their Mango Smoothie Post

Catching up on my Instagram feed this morning, I came across a random post from an athletic fashion retailer I follow. The photo was simple and showed a pale yellow smoothie in a mason jar. I followed the link and found a recipe, and while reading through the ingredients… pineapple, mango, coconut milk. I was, for a moment, transposed from the damp winter day in Seattle to a white beach under sheltering palms. The breeze was warm, the clear turquoise ocean was still. Now even if you weren’t fully swept away and maybe you just got a quick piña colada vibe, the photo and recipe duo was an invitation. An invitation to engage. An invitation to have an experience. An invitation to deepen your relationship with this brand. And for me, it worked!

I had to make the smoothie of course (it was totally delicious), I had to take a picture of my own smoothie creation and post it to my fashion & food blog (which extended their post to my 1000+ followers), and eventually I was compelled to explore what other recipes they were posting. The retailer may have posted the initial photo through a number of different digital channels (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), but regardless of entry point, when you got back to the blog you were invited to deepen your relationship with them. A cornucopia of inspiration awaited. Healthy recipes, sporty hair style how-to’s, pictures of beautiful people in yoga poses in stunning ‘naturescapes’ that said “you can do this too AND it will be fun!”

In a world where people are increasingly connected and tech savvy, where we can shop when, where and how we want, retailers are struggling to keep up. As shoppers, we have information at our fingertips, we have access at our fingertips, and we have plenty of choice as well as a voice. We know exactly what an item costs, where it is available, and how much and how fast shipping will be. We have all had that bad experience where the channels are disconnected. You see something on Instagram and then it’s not available on the website as promised (read more about the omni-channel predicament in my blog post, The Quest for the Missing Dress. And we’ve had good experiences – where it works as we expect it to work. We’ve come to expect a rich, seamless and personal experience. And that’s exactly what is at the heart of the customer and brand relationship. The experience. The value exchange. The delivery on a brand promise, again and again. This keeps current customers coming back and attracts new ones.

When a fashion retailer can extend their brand by engaging with customers by simply posting a recipe for a smoothie, they get it. They are offering value. They get fitness, they get women, they get lifestyle. But it doesn’t stop there. To be successful, they are thinking holistically, where a smoothie post is just one moment in a bigger digital strategy to connect with their customers. And that digital strategy relies on data. Data that tells them what’s working and what’s not and how to better personalize an experience for a customer. You can read more about Harnessing the Power Of Data in the Retail Industry, by my co-worker and retail business insights guru, Shish Shridhar.

We are all shoppers. What other retailers have you seen “doing it well”? Or doing something different to connect with their customers?


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