In this article:
- Responding to the increasing consumer demand for running shoes, D2C shoe brand Hoka, just announced two pop-up shops in New York City and Los Angeles.
- The stores are to be open from September through December to allow running shoe customers to find the best fit.
- Will they leverage the omnichannel data to create better retention strategies?
Norma Delaney, VP of global brand marketing at Hoka, told Footwear News that NYC and LA – the two cities for the east and west coasts – were selected not just because they draw large numbers of people but because “health and wellness” is a key value for the area.
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The Los Angeles pop-up location is 8551 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069. The New York location is 142 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10011 (between 19th and 20th). A series of events is planned for these locations as shown on the Hoka site.
Hoka anticipates using the retail locations as a point of connection with customers who wish for their relationship to the brand and its surrounding community to extend beyond just the purchase of a pair of shoes. As Delaney told Footwear News: “These spaces will also allow us to host events and offer programming to welcome consumers into the Hoka brand. We know that post-COVID, consumers crave in-person experiences. Our focus is in developing gathering spaces for our communities that can add value by helping people connect with our brand ambassadors, elite athletes, product experts, and each other.”
Being up-close-and-personal with customers allows the brand to showcase its key differentiators and unique advantages to them in a personal way and also helps the company understand more its customers. Hoka President Wendy Yang told CNBC that it makes it possible to see “what they like, what they want and how their decision process works.”
Customer Marketing Goldmine. Will They Use It?
But, for this to work in the long run and for the company to make the most of the invaluable insights that could come out of such crosschannel initiative – Hoka will have to treat these events and pop-up shops as they would any digital channel. Meaning, collecting data, storing it adequately, then – with the right tools – add it to other data sources, and analyze it all in order to generate more personalized customer marketing strategies, the kind that can increase customer lifetime value by 33% and more.
CNBC noted that the shops will be equipped with “3D foot-scanning devices” to assure a precise fit. Customers will also be invited to put the shoes to the test.
This all comes after a time that the brand’s customer base has expanded a great deal over the last couple of years. It used to be limited to serious runners, “the early adopters that were trying this new, kind of crazy shoe,” Yang told CNBC. Now, their customer base is a lot more expansive.
Running shoe demand has risen all around during the pandemic, though Hoka’s success still stands out with about a 90% increase in sales. The move to open stores seeks to leverage that expansion by creating an opportunity to create personal connections that will lead to long-term loyalty. Now there’s just this data and analytics part to nail.
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