by Casey Daline, Project Manager
What We Can Learn from One of the Most Innovative Companies in Retail
Everlane, an online clothing and accessories shop, has been getting a lot of buzz lately. Since their founding in late November 2011, their growth has been tremendous. Between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, Everlane has a social following of well over 50,000. Everlane has been written up in GQ, Style, The New York Times Magazine, Glamour, the Los Angeles Times, and was recently listed by Fast Company as one of the world’s top 10 most innovative companies in retail.
But why? When it comes down to it, Everlane makes tee shirts. They’re high quality, they sell at a fair price point, but in the end, they sell tee shirts. So does the Gap! What is Everlane doing differently?
Your friendly Pivoteer blogger–who, full disclosure, is currently wearing an Everlane French Terry sweatshirt (in Merlot)–first encountered Everlane via a popular Tumblr I follow. (And yes, I did wear this today for the purpose of writing that line.) This Tumblr-er (Tumblee? Tumblebee?) was posting excitedly about having made her first Everlane purchase. Since then, I have visited their website fairly frequently, although I only made a purchase recently, several months after first hearing their name. Something kept me not just coming back to this elegant, simple site, but following their social media presence as well. Their marketing strategy has a simplicity and brilliance to it that sticks.
Everlane operates on the idea of selling luxury goods at an affordable price by cutting out the middleman. They have no brick and mortar shops, which allows them to eliminate markups associated with traditional retail. Everlane began with a limited run of tee shirts in November 2011, and has since expanded to blouses, sweaters, belts, bags, and other accessories. They produce limited runs of colors and varieties of their products, which, along with required site membership, helps to create an exclusive “get it before it’s gone” feel. Everlane has, in the past, created short-lived “pop up shops” in some of their larger markets, and frequently ask for votes from customers asking which city they should visit next.
Everlane is doing a few things uniquely and precisely right.
Having spent some months now with Everlane, I’ve been able to nail down a few of their strategies into six fundamentals that we can learn from.
1. LET YOUR PHILOSOPHY GUIDE YOUR BUSINESS. It’s vital that as a company, you take time to define your core values, and make decisions about how those values will bleed into other areas of your company strategy. Everlane has focused on simple design, quality products, and agile service. These values come to life in their graphic design ascetic (which is consistent across all web and social platforms), their no-muss, no-fuss, no-mistakes clothing designs, their nimble customer service team, and even details like packaging. As a company, take time to infuse your personality and core values into the customer experience from first touch to final purchase.
2. CREATE VALUE. Above all else, concentrate on providing the best possible experience for your consumer. You can do everything else well, but if you don’t have a service or a product that people have a great experience with, whatever success you do find will be fleeting. Whether you are selling clothing, software, or guided tours of the Adirondacks, no social media or marketing strategy can make up for quality. Everlane makes a point of letting their customers know they care as much about the product as you do.