Your Customer Reflects Your Business

Shoes-of-Prey-270x180Hello again and welcome to my enterprise 2.0 blog, where I bring you the latest on social technology and the and how it influences organisations (large, medium or small) today. Last week, I showed you a glimpse of enterprise 2.0 in action using Starbucks and Ford as an example.Today’s post will be focused on how businesses can make use of social technology to add value to their business.  Whether we want to admit it or not, social technology has improved our connections and is responsible for some of the ideas that have come to be via brainstorming.

According to MGI  (pages 35-40), there is a large untapped potential for businesses to use social technology to add value in a way of improving communication, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. From their research in 2012, they identified 10 value applications of social technologies that organisations use to create value in their organisational functions. But I will be using Shoes of Prey as an example today, to focus briefly on four them as it applies to two segments of the organisation value chain.The two value chains I will be focusing on today are;

  • Product development
  • Operations and distribution

Shoes of Prey?  Shoes of Prey is an online retail store based in Sydney (where they recently opened their first shop) that lets you go on their website, register and design your very own shoes which will be hand-made and then delivered (free of charge) to you. They make different types of shoes for different types of feet (narrow, wide, odd,big feet etc). This medium business was founded by three friends in 2009;

  • one is from a law and advertising background and
  • the other two were former Google executives.

In Edelman Australia post, Shoes of prey co-founder, Jodie talks about how social media boosted their business from her lounge room to the international business it is today. She said that reaching out to YouTube wiz kid, Blair Fowler (who has over 1 million subscribes) gave her and her partners’ a stepping stone, as she had over 200 million viewers on her YouTube vlog. With over 30, 000 Facebook fans and over 7,000 followers on twitter, Jodie said that their strategy for success with social media was replying quickly and relevantly to posts on their pages and also mention Twitter as “a great proactive tool” that engages customers, taking you to them instead of waiting for them to come to you.

Product Development (co-creation and deriving customer insights)

barriers to product developmentAsking customers to design their own shoes using the shoe and sophisticated material templates found in the 3D design tool on their website, is what makes Shoes of Prey so unique to other shoe manufacturers and retailers, as you get to choose the shape, color and size of your shoes and get it produced (hand made, I might add) and shipped to you in any part of the world. The idea to customize your own shoe was born when Jodie, realized that she never seemed to find one shoe that had everything she wanted.

It always gives a good feeling looking at a gorgeous shoes and realizing two things;

  • It’s yours and
  • It’s your design!

Earlier this year, Shoes of Prey teamed up with Foxtel’s Fox8 channel to promote one of their international series Carrie’s Diary in honor of the lead actress’s obsession for shoes . As part of the promotion, Shoes of Prey set up a competition to Fox8 viewers via Facebook. The competition was for every contestant (including your truly) to log in via Facebook, sign up, design, submit and share a pair of shoes daily for 30 days for a chance to win one of your shoes at the end of the competition, they also encouraged contestants by announcing daily winners each day. Through this strategy, Shoes of Prey was able to get a statistics of the kind of shoes people liked and after the competition, used this data to email contestants (potential customers) with suggestions of shoes they might want to order from them especially during the holidays(brilliant,right?I still get suggestion emails).

Operation and Distribution (forecast and monitor, distribute business processes)

effective-salesTaking a feather from MGI, organisations that keep track and monitor their social media can use information derived, to improve their inventory and how the business functions. Shoes of Prey uses its Twitter and Facebook page to advertise their products and also collate customer feedback on their products by improving on the best ones and turning the bad ones into something positive. They also use twitter as a medium of employment.

In my opinion, to improve customer engagement, I believe that their website need a little more work and they might also consider inculcating some gamification  features,in form of reward such as discount vouchers, gift cards etc.,  in their website (most designs, best designs etc.) to draw more people to design and order for shoes.

Until next time, Goodbye, Adeu, Addios, Au revior.

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10 comments on “Your Customer Reflects Your Business

  1. Nice post Chuigo.
    I always marvel at fashion companies who have the courage to provide this product customisation function to extend their existing range. Most seem to do it in a controlled manner where you can customise, but not too much. Shoes of Prey seems to make it their significant point of difference. I wonder how they maintain relationships with suppliers further down the value chain, who may have less flexibility to deal with demand fluctuation.

  2. Thanks for your reply, good point you made there about the suppliers, now I am curious as well. will tweet this on their twitter page and Facebook page as well to find out and perhaps get back to you on that.

  3. I like how ‘Shoes of Prey’ have identified customers as being ‘product hunters’ (rather than the ‘prey’ of online business targeting) with the implementation of social technologies 🙂 . Great blog!

  4. Another excellent post, the Shoes of Prey example was very interesting, I’ve never heard about such a thing before. You must have put some serious effort into your research to come up with such unique and good examples. Keep up the good work!

  5. Hi Chiugookolio

    In my blog entry, the company I chose used a similar business model like Shoes of Prey where custom design for shoes is the key market advantage. I agree with you that the website certainly needs some more work to engage visitors better. The landing page for example, looks cluttered and needs more colourful re-design to make it more appealing to the eye. The Milk and Honey Shoes company did a better job in terms of colour combination strategy that keeps their visitor going further into their pages. I was fascinated by how the company used Facebook to launch a competition that in the end gives the company a significant statistical data that they can use to their advantage, not to mention the free designs they receive from the participants. It is just an amazing idea. But after the contest it is important to know what they did with the data they collected from such activity, don’t you think?

    Feel free to visit my blog and leave a comment:
    http://hussain69.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/enterprise-2-0-milk-and-honey-shoes/

    • Thank you for your reply, I did look at the milk and honey shoes website and found them similar too. To answer your question about what they did with the data they collected from the competition, I believe I mentioned in the post that shoes of prey still use details (colour combination, type,and design) from shoes created daily by people during the competition, to suggest shoes available to them occasionally via email(I just received suggestions from them a few hours ago)..

  6. I have this sudden desire to go design shoes for the rest of the afternoon and avoid working further on Uni assignments! I had never heard of them before, so I’ll definitely be checking them out. Great post about Shoes of Prey’s social media strategy, I particularly admire them for using the reach of someone with a large and established following to increase the awareness and potential customer base for their own brand. How do you like their shoes? Would the experience and their suggestions sent to you via email encourage you to go back and purchase from them again?

  7. Their shoes are really nice and is delivered in a very beautiful box. The emails they send me are pictures of shoe designs inspired by my previous purchase as well as all the shoes i designed during their Fox8 competition, so it definitely tempts me to order more 🙂 because they were inspired by my designs and taste. You should try it..plus it is a great idea for a present.Thanks for your comment.

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