OPERATIONS

Burberry Kisses aims for customer intimacy

BY Dan Berthiaume

London – Omni-channel global fashion brand Burberry is taking a pioneering step into the realm of digital customer engagement with a new program called Burberry Kisses. Partnering with the Google Art, Copy & Code project that presents itself as a “series of experiments to re-imagine advertising,” Burberry is allowing consumers to send online letters which are sealed with digital replicas of their kisses, complete with their choice of Burberry lipstick shade.

Burberry Kisses is available via PC, smartphone or tablet and creates a digital imprint of the customer’s kiss with a webcam. Other features include an interactive global map that tracks the deliveries of kisses all over the world in real time.

This program does represent a reimagining of advertising in that beyond coloring the user’s digital kiss imprint with an official Burberry lipstick shade, it does not promote any specific Burberry product or directly encourage purchase behavior. Burberry Kisses does create numerous “soft” benefits including creating highly intimate brand engagement and helping to develop a global community of consumers with Burberry awareness.

As retailers (and Burberry does operate 457 of its own branded stores as well as e-commerce and m-commerce channels) continue to delve deeper into digital marketing and customer engagement, they will discover that soft benefits are at least as and maybe more important than hard benefits such as sales conversions. Convincing a customer to make a one-time digital purchase of lipstick is nice, but convincing a customer that the Burberry brand is an integral part of the most intimate and personal parts of their life is even nicer.

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OPERATIONS

Dunkin Donuts switching focus to beverages

BY Dan Berthiaume

Canton, Mass. — As part of a brand overhaul, Dunkin’ Donuts is switching its focus from doughnuts and baked goods to coffee and other beverages. At this week’s annual consumer conference hosted by investment banking firm Jeffries, Paul Carbone, CFO of parent company Dunkin’ Brands Group, said beverages accounted for 58% of sales at U.S. franchise locations last year.

“We are a beverage company,” Carbone said. “Fred the Baker is not coming back.”

Dunkin’ Donuts seeks to double its current U.S. store count to 15,000 in the next few years. Much of this expansion will take place in the western U.S., where Starbucks dominates, with California as a major target. The retailer expects to start opening stores in California in 2015. A new national media campaign will emphasize beverages rather than food.

Dunkin’ Donuts has also been recently rolling out “café-style” store redesign that includes a new, earth-toned palette, to make its locations resemble those of rival Starbucks, according to Bloomberg. The retailer has opened 90 remodeled stores to date, according to the report, and plans to open about 600 by the end of this year.

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Ross Stores pays $3.9 million fine for defective kids’ clothing

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pleasanton, Calif. — Ross Stores has agreed to pay a $3.9 million fine to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for neglecting to inform the commission within a mandated 24-hour period that it sold or stocked in stores roughly 23,000 pieces of children’s apparel with drawstrings located at the neck or waist between January 2009 and February 2012. Sales of children’s clothing with these types of drawstrings has been officially banned in the U.S. since 2011 and subject to voluntary restrictions since 1996.

As part of the fine agreement, Ross Stores will create a compliance plan to prevent future sales of defective children’s apparel but denies intentionally violating any regulations. Ross Stores previously paid a $500,000 fine in 2009 for selling defective children’s clothing during 2006 and 2007. Neither the CPSC or Ross Stores website had any information or comment on this matter.

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