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The North Face: Properly Facing Customer Relationships

Welcome to PostFunnel’s 23rd episode in the Seven CRM Commandments series.

Today, we will be checking whether The North Face’s basic CRM practices are checking all the right boxes for relationship marketing in a post-COVID19 outbreak world.

While at it, make sure to check how TNF compares to Patagonia, one of their most prevalent competitors.

So, how do you think the American outdoor clothing and recreation company scores? Find out below.

1. Be Transparent 10/10

Through a global fellowship program with Lena Waithe and climber Jimmy Chin, The North Face has pledged $7 Million to address inequity in the outdoors.

“Our initiative is called Reset the Normal, and we are partnering with Waithe and Chin, who is one of our long time athletes who hear input from organizations that represent people of color, but also aren’t necessarily from the outdoor industry. So we are forming what’s called the Explore Fund Counsel. We’re working to bring people together and bring more diversity to other areas besides the outdoor spaces.”

The brand is going beyond advertising with this campaign and is calling for change by diversifying the outdoors.

And like previously mentioned in the Brooks Running CRM analysis: “The point in being transparent as a brand is humanizing it.” By showing the world its genuine support for ending systematic racism, TNF is doing just that. (while also being helpful and relevant. See below)

2. Incentives and Perks 7/10

The brand offers customers the chance to join VIPeak where, “Members earn Points to get Rewards, exclusive access to collections, surprises, milestones and more.”

TNF also offers customers the ability to shop with gift cards and online outlet stores where they can purchase items at a lower price from past seasons. Student/military/health care/first responder discounts are also on offer.

However, we couldn’t find any concrete promotional offer, really incentivizing the customer to purchase from the brand from the get-go. Other brands we’ve analyzed to date are doing so, for instance, with a welcome package, promotional/bonus codes, newsletter signup offers, etc. – all of which are excellent CRM promotional tactics.

3. Be Relevant 8/10

The HP banner on The North Face website is seasonal, as expected for anyone visiting their site from the northern hemisphere.

Another couple of scrolls down the company’s HP is the seasonal marketing banner below that has to do with holiday shopping – giving that cozy, festive feel:

Besides that, though, we couldn’t find any specific communication or messaging from the brand that acknowledges the pandemic, and how it has been affected by it – such as possible shipping delays. Therefore, some points were deducted here for that.

4. Be Helpful 10/10

The brand is known to support numerous causes worldwide, particularly those affecting the outdoors – like climate change, which is what the brand stands for primarily.

On TNF’s responsibility page, they write, “As we enter our sixth decade, we pledge to:

  • Empower exploration and the thrill of the unknown for as many people as possible.
  • Protect the places where we live, play, and operate.
  • Evolve the way we make our products by improving our environmental performance and social responsibility in the supply chain.”

As previously mentioned in the first commandment, The North Face donated millions to address inequity in the outdoors, which is obviously a great way to help this initiative and show support towards said minority group.

5. Realtime Personalization 5/10

After adding an item to our shopping cart, we were prompted with similar item suggestions when going back to the HP – personalizing our experience with the brand in realtime.

Still, however, no cross-selling and/or up-selling techniques were used at this time. Too bad, as this is a great tool to get a customer over the one-item purchase and maybe into a higher LTV.

When checking our social media accounts, we weren’t re-targeted in realtime by the brand – which many other brands tend to do. And should.

6. Master UX 10/10

Our overall experience with the brand was exceptional. The sizeable drop-down menu was useful and easy to use. The categories of products were accessible and delightful to interact with.

The design of TNF’s website is neat and straightforward, and the overall flow of interaction was great. From the search bar to the categorization to the reviews to the shopping cart to the help center to the complementary content.

We also liked the fact that they want customer feedback and kindly asked us to fill in a survey so they can improve the customer experience:

7. Leverage Social Media 10/10

The brand boasts almost 6 million followers on Facebook and posts tons of fun, engaging, and interactive content. For example, athlete stories, inspiration/motivational videos, challenges, innovations. And of course, it uses FB to call for customers to “explore the outdoors.”

Most recently, TNF launched a “Reset Campaign” which challenges the brand itself, its sponsored athletes, and customers to “reset.”

On Instagram, the brand boasts alost 5 million followers, and also posts in high frequency.

The North Face obviously promotes its new clothing collections and gear on this platform, but they also post unique speaker series that feature hosts, how-to videos, tips on what to bring when doing certain outdoor activities, videos on professional athletes, and more.


View this post on Instagram


The North Face team athlete @fred_climbs was on a one-way track towards a career in professional football until an injury changed his life forever. In his recovery, he found love in climbing and realized that another door opens when one door closes. Watch the full episode, link in bio.

A post shared by The North Face (@thenorthface) on

On Twitter, the brand boasts over 480k followers and Tweets in high frequency, as well. The type of content they post is the same as in the above two platforms – which is sufficient for their product offer/audience. But each platform has its unique strengths, and exploring them could help to build distinguished audiences on each. They are doing so by showing their political stance and using this platform to encourage customers to vote.

TNF promotes its social media channels on their HP too:


Overall, TNF is getting a 60/70 here (86%), placing them in a tie with Uniqlo in 5th place – doing a way better job at nurturing customer relationships than Patagonia, which are currently 21st with a 61% score.
With a few touch-ups on its realtime personalization elements and promotional offers – The North Face can quickly make it to the top of the pack.
Here are the full rankings of all the brands we analyzed to date:

  1. Pets at Home 91%
  2. Lowe’s 90%
  3. Petco 90%
  4. Target 87%
  5. Uniqlo 86%
  6. The North Face 86%
  7. West Elm 81%
  8. Brooks Running 79%
  9. Best Buy 78%
  10. Etsy 76%
  11. The Body Shop 74%
  12. Gymshark 73%
  13. Iceland Foods 71%
  14. Total Wine & More 70%
  15. Tommy Hilfiger 70%
  16. Walgreens 70%
  17. Kohl’s 70%
  18. Buy Buy Baby 68%
  19. Fiverr 67%
  20. Next 63%
  21. Patagonia 61%
  22. Burberry 60%
  23. COS 57%

We publish a new analysis every week, so watch this space for more brand analyses coming your way!

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