DSW is Fending Off Competition with Revolutionary Strategies

by Sean Ogino |

DSW is Fending Off Competition with Revolutionary Strategies

DSW, a leader in footwear, is adopting a holistic approach to customer loyalty by completely overhauling its engagement strategies, customer experiences, and omni-channel execution. In the words of Roger Rawlins, DSW CEO, “as Amazon and Walmart are going at it in King Kong vs. Godzilla fashion, DSW is creating loyalty with brands that differentiate it”. Instead of matching the competitive moves of big names, DSW is looking for ways to differentiate itself through revolutionary strategies. And, it’s looking to a loyalty program and a stronger omni-channel experience to do just that.

Launching in 2018, DSW’s plans for their loyalty program show that the retailer has realized the futility of loyalty programs that focus singularly on purchase transactions. They don’t miss the mark on creating differentiation. They can often end up being on the liability side on the accounting side as well. That’s why there is a need to create a deeper connection with customers at all possible channels through rich experiences.

And DSW is bringing this idea of revolutionary strategies alive through a campaign called music for your feet. It features initiatives which create emotional, inspiring experiences for customers, online and in-store. Recent examples include this summer’s mobile March On tour and concert series events like this fall’s in-store pop-up parties.

The shoe retailer is also playing around with the idea of services such as shoe rental, shoe repair, and a philanthropic connection to move beyond just commerce focused experiences for its loyal customers.

To up their customer experience game, even more, DSW is also offering shoppers a curated, narrative experience from the moment they walk through the doors. The warehouse-esque stores, which will include future-focused features such as pallet fixtures and flexible roller conveyors, will not only function for in-store purchasing but also allow for the shipping and receiving of items found on the DSW website as well as accept returns. Eventually, the plan is to make DSW the place where any shoe can be found. It’s indeed a wise move as 50% of DSW’s digital orders are fulfilled in-store, as opposed to in a traditional fulfillment center. Besides, DSW has over 525 warehouses, and it has only utilized 20% of their cubic capacity. Warehouse-esque stores will put DSW in a better position to take advantage of all of the excess capacity that it has.

Recognizing the need to connect with potential loyal customers in a unique and interactive way, DSW is really focused on the omni-channel aspects of its strategy. They are focusing on turning store associates into personal shoppers by empowering them with data. Associates will have access to data such as personalized offers, wish lists, and purchase history for each and every customer who is connected and shopping in-store.

In order to own up the largest chunk of the market share by creating more loyal customers, DSW will begin by enriching its assortment efforts by working to grow offerings and exclusive products. An extremely successful kids shoe test has led to an aggressive add of this category to more warehouses.

Clearly, from product diversification to deep omni-channel strategies, DSW is keeping no stone unturned in creating a personal connection with customers through revolutionary strategies. This is almost a pre-requisite to boosting the feeling of loyalty for customers. This explains its focus on reaching out to consumers on a more personal level that is both emotional and inspirational in order to deliver a new experience to customers who are craving something different from their shopping experience. Now, that’s the textbook definition of a holistic loyalty experience. It would be interesting to see how DSW develops their revolutionary strategies further as more of their competitors take the same route.

[White Paper]
[White Paper]