(Filed Under wholesale Men's Underwear News). With the advent of the pandemic men’s undergarment producer Wood Underwear has found new ways to keep its business moving forward and help stores sell more product over the internet. In this interview BODY publisher Nick Monjo asked owner Terresa Zimmerman about these recent efforts.
MONJO: Explain what you have been doing to help your retailers improve their online sales.
ZIMMERMAN: We’ve always promoted multi- or omni-channel approaches to our customers. We have talked to our stores from day one about getting up and running online, helping them with images, brand assets and other content. We have also encouraged them to collect customer information, from even just the basic contact information and email addresses, through to more valuable service data such as family names and preferences, birthdays, special event dates, etc., This information becomes vital to building a service oriented business with a personal touch. And, right now, while walk in traffic is nil, knowing how to reach your customers is essential. If you have that information already, great. If not, it’s never too late to start.
MONJO: Can you give some examples of the help you have provided?
ZIMMERMAN: The biggest change to our offering right now is drop-ship. We are still in a position to be able to ship orders, we have inventory on hand and we’ve offered all of our store customers drop ship service direct to their customers. We’re doing what we can to make the process as easy as possible, and as quick as possible, for our stores to put us online for the first time or just update what’s already there. On a smaller scale, we’ve also offered advice on ecommerce platforms and resources, and expanding email lists. We’re newly online with six of our store customers in the past week.
MONJO: What proportion of your retailers do not have an online sales presence?
ZIMMERMAN: Most of the stores we work with have some kind of online presence, even if it’s only a Facebook page or a landing page with contact information. Surprisingly, though, less than half have ecommerce sites. It may even be closer to one-third.
MONJO: What is the full range of your services in this area?
ZIMMERMAN: Right now we are offering: drop ship direct to customers; images; content and copy for websites; brand information; e-blast content; co-promotions, cause or charitable giving related; and entertaining all other ideas where we might be able to help our stores stay in business
MONJO: How long have you been doing drop ship?
ZIMMERMAN: We have been offering drop ship only since the ‘stay at home’ orders came to be. It’s not a model that made sense to us before. However, right now, it’s crucial to offer it. We want to be our store’s partners. If they can sell it, we can ship it for them.
MONJO: What are the challenges of drop ship?
ZIMMERMAN: The biggest challenge with drop-ship is inventory management; making sure everyone is selling what’s actually in stock. We put technology to work for us here. Our stores have 24/7 access to our in stock lists through our wholesale order platform, NuOrder. That means if they are processing orders or updating their own stock to sell at midnight, they don’t have to wait to reach us in order to get it done.
MONJO: What have the results been?
ZIMMERMAN: Early results are good. A finer men’s store in Michigan, Carl Sterr By Design, had great results their first weekend with us online last week. Others have put us on their sites and are selling off their stock on hand first. Man on Main, in Maine, expanded their online store to include more men’s goods recently as well. It’s all working. And every little bit counts to all of us right now.
MONJO: Is there any more you would like to tell us?
ZIMMERMAN: Our store customers are an integral part of main street in their communities. Many are spearheading co-promotion opportunities with the national brands they carry, Wood included, to benefit local causes. This is a big deal for neighborhoods and towns. We’re participating in a number of them that donate PPEs, masks and other items to front line workers in our customers’ local communities. We welcome all of those opportunities.
MONJO: What is your forecast for the services you are offering?
ZIMMERMAN: Right now it’s about the relationship more than ever. If we can keep our customers actively top of mind, think about them and their needs and things they may be looking for right now…and then proactively reach out to them with an idea, a solution, a bit of ‘joy,’ they will stay engaged with us once this shut down ends. That sentiment holds true for the brand/merchant relationship as well as the merchant/end customer relationship. Some of the services we find ourselves extending as special offers right now will likely become permanent ways of doing business…because they take that extra step of thought and effort for better convenience and personalization.
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