Saturday, November 18, 2017

Category Killers 2- BootDaddy beats Macy’s (and so do others)

‘Tis the Season! Thanksgiving means the traditional beginning of the Christmas season, the Macy’s Parade, and Black Friday. Let’s go shopping!

Hey Macy’s—Take a look at what this store in Springfield, Mo did to enhance the customer experience:

To promote their brand of boots, BootDaddy, as well as their single unit store, PFI, * engaged the Texas Tenors (who BTW are fabulous) to sing a super song about the product. Not only does the great song make me interested in the product, I want to make a trip to Springfield (which would only be to visit this store). Watch this:

If you don’t want to go to this shop after watching that, there is always Macy’s.

This store is a Category Killer- laser focus on product AND the customer experience.  On a smaller scale than Inditex or Lidl, but just as valid. What you got to answer this, Macy’s? Other than discounts (the overwhelming focus of their advertising, even their job posts).  If you want to see the future of brick and mortar, this is it. Product and customer experience trumps discounts every time!

The same beautiful thing is going on in ecommerce. Small startup companies get the chance to compete on a (almost) level playing field with the big ones. Here are some more examples of Category Killers who have absolutely killed with great product and superb, customer-centric merchandising:

1.     Everlane (
This small San Francisco startup has figured out fashion basics and the online experience:
a.     A commitment to product and color story which is bold and unafraid. The last half dozen (at least) emails I have gotten from them are all different, RELATED products, and all in OLIVE DRAB GREEN.  This is their statement, commitment. As Category Killers will do. Macy’s would NEVER take a risk of committing to a style, much less a color story.
b.     Product selection is spot on for the season-Cashmere sweaters, heavy overshirts, scarves, heavy weight denim.
c.      A focus on sustainability-while everyone else is talking about it, they are committed to it and doing it (per their website)
d.     “Radical Transparency” which shows not only WHERE the goods are made (with pictures and description of the factory), but the costing (which, to their credit, is intended more to show how others are ripping you off more than what it actually cost-which, BTW, I am not buying totally but a great marketing tool!)
e.     They send emails almost daily, each one focused on ONE product that will enhance your life this season. It is just frikkin brave- and smart. Oh, and the product looks really nice…

Here is their latest item, the “heavy overshirt”. What you see below is the whole image sent to me by email:

If I wanted to put together an outfit which I can buy in minutes at Everlane (that all matched in quality, style and colour) at Macy’s, it would take HOURS (chances of failure to complete about 90%). The website opens with information about Everlane’s “Mission.” With all due respect, their “mission” is to sell more product—the rest is great marketing.
What you got to compete with this, Macy’s? What is your “Mission?”

2.     Tommy John
This local NY company has found a niche in the underwear business that begged to be occupied, through:
a.     great fabric- most of their fabrics have a very high amount of spandex, usually 16% or natural stretch
b.     great fit- due to the fabric and great patternmaking
c.      absolute focus on functionality-such as their tee shirts where they lengthened and tapered them so they “stay in.” (You may see their commercials on YouTube, which are hysterical). Boxer brief have a pouch front which solves the where-is-it-in-a-hurry problem.

Here is their product description for the cotton tee shirt:
Cool Cotton Undershirts

  • Stays Tucked
Patented design never comes untucked
  • No EFG®
Longer, tapered design eliminates "excess fabric gut"
  • Streamlined Fit
Hugs the body but is never restrictive
  • Memory Collar
Prevents bacon neck
Height: 6'1", Waist: 32", Chest: 41"
Model is wearing a size Medium.
Fabric: 86% Pima Cotton, 14% Spandex

And their boxer brief:
Cool Cotton Underwear

  • Breathable Fabric
Wicks away moisture to keep you cool and dry 
  • Contour Pouch
Nestles the boys, no adjustment needed
  • Quick Draw® Fly
Horizontal fly for quick access when nature calls
  • Stay Put Waistband
Won't roll or leave marks
*Not recommended for exercise. For gym-ready underwear, shop our 360 Sport Collection
Height: 6'1", Waist: 32", Chest: 41"
Model is wearing a size Medium.
Fabric: 86% Pima Cotton, 14% Spandex

Have enough information to buy? I do.

Here is Macy’s description of their Lacoste Boxer Brief:
Enjoy luxurious softness all day long when you start with these comfy stretch boxer briefs from Lacoste.

Good news, the item is on sale for $20.99, bad news, only size S is left. But seriously, men, which boxer brief do you feel comfortable buying online? What exactly is the fabric? Oh, and I can see the logo…

IF you find a suitable item, it is only after sifting through hundreds (just mens underwear items) at all prices starting <$10.  Tommy John has less than a half dozen styles to offer. Laser focus. (BTW, I tried the Tommy John and I would never buy anything else).

d.     value pricing- an 86% cotton, 14% spandex boxer brief is $31. If you search underwear for men and filter “stretch”, there are 36 items at all different prices, none of which tell you what the fabric is. Prices start at <$10. Most are discounted. Think any can match the fabric and comfort of the Tommy John item?

$31 a little expensive? Hanro, the famous Swiss company, offers a mens cotton boxer brief which is 88 mercerized cotton/12% spandex for $67.

Give Macy’s credit for trying- if you go to their website, there are little letters on the top right that direct you to The Edit, a “curated” collection of stuff you are supposed to want. Click on “Men” and you get “Party Season.” (

Need your comments? Did you find anything that you must have for Christmas on “the edit?”

I know what I want for Christmas. And it comes from the Category Killers.

*(Thanks to Ric L. Anderson for sharing the BootDaddy info)

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