Branded Experiences

It’s been a few days since this last happened, but I’ve not had a chance to make this post because of a running project. However, this helps reinforce the fact that small gestures go a huge way.

Last week, I walked into the J. Crew store in Hong Kong and found myself a dream pair of New Balance 990’s. When I came around to asking for my size, the staff regretfully informed me that my size was out and explained to me that they usually only stock 1 or 2 pairs of the same size at their location. I immediately felt like the sneaker gods were out to test me, but as quickly as she informed me of their lack of stock, she suggested that we try to order it online from the U.S.

She then proceeds to magically pull out the store iPad and hop right onto the J. Crew website and after a few taps, my New Balance’s were in sight…and in stock! BOOM! She fills in the details and my credit card information and has it DHL’d from the U.S. straight to Hong Kong for free. Yes for free! Score 1 for helpfulness and 1/2 point for free shipping from the U.S. So I walk out the store happy knowing that the kicks will be about a week or so before they arrive, as I was told by the helpful sales lady.

Now up until this point, you’re probably wondering why am I writing about my shopping experience. Yes it was pretty damn good in store, because of the helpfulness and resourcefulness of the sales, but the home run experience came a little later after I left the store…

So as with most online purchases, you get the run of the mill purchase receipt and notification that they’ve received your order and it’s in process. That’s great and all, but quite standard procedure these days. What really surprised me was this:

I got a thank you from Mickey Drexler!

I got a thank you from Mickey Drexler!

Alright, I know what you’re thinking, that’s just an automated response you dummy. Is it really? I mean, of course it is, because as CEO I sure hope Mr. Drexler isn’t spending his time emailing every customer that makes a purchase online to thank them. He’d be pretty busy doing that and not busy making his company super awesome; which it is already!

The fact is, online shopping and offline shopping experiences are beginning to meld together. Those two avenues to make a purchase are increasingly having their lines blurred and when I experience good experiences in store, I’m pretty much going to expect such an experience online as well, or vice versa.

Now whether or not Mr. Drexler really emailed that thank you note or not isn’t important, it’s the thought process that’s transparent enough for customers to see that is important. Such a small detail really drives home a positive branded experience; one enough to mark an impact on a person as forgetful as myself to remember a week after and be able to articulate it in detail.

I’d like to thank Mr. Drexler and his entire team for running and making J. Crew to be such an awesome and relevant company. And to also thank them for the being able to anticipate the needs of their customer before we’re aware of needing it.

This is how branded experiences should be, whether it’s online or offline. With e-commerce facing such a challenge all the time in their purchasing funnel, this small gesture without a doubt will make me a loyal customer for a very long time.

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