Selling suits is getting complicated. Men's Wearhouse, yet another retailer struggling with growth, is making major efforts to reverse what has become a disturbing downward slide. In response, the apparel chain has unleashed its army of salespeople upon unsuspecting browsers of the company's online content. Using mobile devices, professional sellers can message, video chat and, of course, send jpeg's of products to potential customers who are browsing the web and might not visit a Men's Wearhouse location. This blend of internet marketing and personal selling just might be the wave of the future.
Professional sellers receive commission on their sales which provide incentives for productivity, but also opportunities to be too pushy. It's a new program, and it is designed to take advantage of a worker's "down time", but perhaps this approach will meet with greater success as it matures into something more, well, formal. Other retailers are already using this technology and some have had encouraging initial results, but contact-to-sales conversion rates remain low.
It does seem like a good strategy for a brand that in 2014 acquired another struggling brand Jos. A Bank, as the combined entity struggles with more youthful competitors like Bonobos and Suitsupply. At the very least, this online personal selling approach doesn't end up resulting in hefty e-commerce sales, it could end up bringing more people into the stores. For a modern marketer, exploring ways to enhance online consumer engagement can only be a good thing.
Discussion: Would you buy a suit or other formal apparel online? Why or why not? Would the prospect of engaging with a sales person help your decision?
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