How Aldo Uses Customer Insights to Attract Savvy Shoppers

Storefronts are evolving into places of service

In the ecommerce era, storefronts have evolved from places of transaction to places of service, according to Patrik Frisk, CEO of Aldo Group. At the C2 Montreal conference on Tuesday, Frisk discussed how the shoe giant is evolving due to changing shopping habits.

"Consumers are still coming in to our stores to shop, but more and more, they're coming in to return things, or to do research so they can order online later," he said. "The end consumer is completely channel agnostic. We need to look at our key performance indicators differently going forward."

Thus, Aldo is no longer focused on in-store sales, alone.  "Stores still serve a purpose for the consumer," Frisk said. "We have some stores in far-flung places in Canada where only 15 percent of their product is picked up in stores from shopping that's done online. Do you close a store like that? Maybe you should keep it open. Maybe you should look at things holistically, and start to look at what the consumer is doing, and try to serve them, rather than focusing on the in-store sales numbers."

As shoppers become savvier, Aldo is focusing more on innovation, he added. "We used to have our salespeople talk about the shoes. Not so much today. The consumer comes in and knows what they want. So, we're focusing on product development and innovation, and building it into our DNA and our culture."

Customer research helped formulate Aldo's latest advertising campaign, which launched last fall.  "We thought consumers wanted us to tell them how to put outfits together, how to put shoes together with a dress or our accessories with their apparel. But that's not so," Frisk said. "Consumers told us, 'You know what? I know how to get dressed. I know my style, so don't try to tell me what to do. Inspire me.'"

The campaign, "Inspiration is Everywhere," features artists, bloggers and musicians showing off their personal style.

"We spend a lot of time trying to understand the consumer," Frisk said. "The data we collect helps us execute campaigns, at the appropriate times. We take the data from previous seasons so we can follow the consumer, on their purchase journey, as they become more and more sophisticated."