5 Marketing Techniques Other Retailers Could Learn From DSW

Like many retailers, DSW has upped its investment in online outreach in the past year and seen strong increases in its social and digital metrics, according to chief marketing officer Amy Stevenson. However, the firm’s core message remains devoted to highlighting on-trend product by any avenue possible.

Here are five ways DSW spreads the word to customers:

1. Inspirational Messages

For the fall season, DSW’s marketing is all about hot trends such as retro sneakers and over-the-knee boots, but Stevenson said the approach is all-inclusive and encourages self-expression. “We want to make our trends very approachable — they’re for all ages, all body types,” she said, highlighting a series of how-to videos airing on the retailer’s social channels. “We’d heard, for instance, that the over-the-knee boot can be a bit intimidating, so we want to show that anyone can wear it.”

DSW Adidas
A DSW marketing image featuring Adidas sneakers.
CREDIT: Courtesy of company.

2. In-Store Events

Everyone loves a party, and DSW customers are no different. To boost in-store traffic and create an exciting shopping experience, the retail chain has focused on more special events, often in partnership with key vendors. Earlier this year, one of its Atlanta locations hosted a special performance by singer Kelsea Ballerini, along with a Converse customization station where shoppers could decorate their shoes. And in August, Skechers and DSW teamed up for a Humane Society pet adoption at locations in California and New York.

A special Converse customization event, hosted by DSW.
CREDIT: Courtesy of company.

3. Influencer Outreach

The blogger community can be a good friend to have — a fact the DSW team learned first-hand this year. During the summer, the retailer hosted brand-building events with fashion influencers at the Coachella and Bonnaroo music festivals to test the waters in that space. “Both were fantastic for different reasons,” Stevenson said. “We saw fairly significant growth in our social channels after that, so this fall, when we launched our Mix No. 6 private label, which is targeted to millennials, we had really good success.”

DSW hosted an event at Coachella for young influencers .
CREDIT: Courtesy of company.

4. Cultivating the Loyalists

Since the DSW Rewards program launched in 1998, it has grown to more than 23 million members. In addition to offering them special discounts and perks such as free return shipping, DSW is catering to these loyal shoppers with early access to sales and new product. For its 25th anniversary, the firm plans to celebrate with premiere reward members by offering a special gift with purchase. “And we have a host of other surprises coming at holiday for our best customers,” said Stevenson.

5. Courting Kids

For DSW’s kids’ launch, the company shared its excitement with in-store events and a playful ad campaign starring stylish youngsters. The retailer also sent out announcements to its entire customer base. But going forward, Stevenson noted, those messages will be targeted to customers with kids. “We’ve gotten good at segmenting our database to give her the right message at the right time about the right product,” she said.

A launch party for the DSW Kids department.
CREDIT: Courtesy of company.

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