Consultative Process Helps Drive Brand Loyalty at Red Wing Shoes

Red Wing Shoe Company CMO Dave Schneider takes pride in a great customer experience every time.
“At Red Wing Shoes, our business is primarily outfitting workers and skilled laborers from construction to the energy sector to manufacturing and just about everywhere in between,” Schneider explained to Loyalty360. “While we have an emerging, fast-growing ecommerce business, our customers want a premium service experience where they get the product in their hand. A key mechanism for us is to ensure that someone coming in to a store are having a high serviceable, sit-in-fit experience. Customers try our footwear on, and we ensure they are buying the right footwear for their job. It is a consultative process that we take to heart and drives our brand loyalty.”
Customers have changed for Red Wing Shoes.
“There are more females finding a rewarding career in skilled labor, and we have adjusted our product delivery to meet their needs,” Schneider said. “In the past, work boots were sold to women as unisex or universal, simply providing women with smaller sizes of footwear made for men. Now, we offer an array of products with features designed with women in mind, including work boot styles purpose-built to support a woman’s fit and style needs while providing appropriate safety features.”
Meeting those customer expectations requires a distinct level of technology.
“We sell work footwear across several vertical industries today, servicing customers across the country, including our more than 500 stores and trucks, and our challenge is to drive national programs with local relevance,” Schneider said. “We’ve gone through a three-phase approach to better utilize our technology capabilities for smarter customer experiences and engagement. First, we got our data in shape. This meant cleaning our digital ecosystem that housed all of our location-based data. Next, we re-platformed all of our store microsites, company-owned and dealer-operated, so every store in the country now has a local site. The last phase is continuing to pour paid search dollars on top of those sites to ensure they can be found by customers, and we are seeing strong success. Building out our technology to be tailored for local content has taken our customer engagement to a new level where we truly understand who our consumers are in each local store area.”
Red Wing provides more than 200 styles of footwear in its work business.
“Making sure someone gets into the right footwear for their specific safety concerns is a critical piece of our brand,” Schneider said. “Depending on your job, from being out on an oil rig to residential construction, you need a specific type of footwear. If we get that wrong, we may be putting the customer at risk, and not only will we lose that customer, but we may lose the opportunity to service their co-workers, friends, family, etc.” 
Unlike most of the retail world, Red Wing Shoes is still growing its brick-and-mortar business.
“We’re opening a significant number of stores and getting product directly into the hands of our consumers,” Schneider said. “We believe in the power of local, allowing people to come into our stores and touch and feel the product. We make premium, high-end footwear and we want to ensure we provide a premium service experience in our store environment. And, we have trucks out on the road where we bring the footwear to an employer’s job site. All the footwear on the truck has been pre-approved, often by the company’s safety director, while still providing our consumers a level of choice in a very tight spectrum based on their specific job needs.”
Company officials recently unveiled their Red Wing Wall of Honor, a permanent, physical tribute to trade workers constructed at the flagship store in Red Wing, Minn.
“We enshrined the actual boots of our honorees, all of whom are skilled laborers that have worn Red Wing boots to accomplish some of the country’s most epic jobs,” Schneider explained. “We also have a digital wall of honor containing the stories of all 35 of our initial class of honorees, and it is where other tradesmen can submit their stories for potential inclusion on the 2019 Wall of Honor. Over the past year, we’ve engaged customers through our Wall of Honor campaign, a manifestation of our appreciation and admiration for the men and women who build our country. We invited our customers to share the epic stories their boots tell, which were posted online at It was an overwhelming experience since we received nearly 650 submissions detailing just how important our boots are to our customers. We learned how much our customers rely on our footwear and truly treat their boots like tools in their tool belt. Working in a trade is a wonderful life that not only has benefits of good pay and the chance to work on some epic projects, but also have a direct impact on the growth and success of your own backyard. It has been an honor for us to be given the opportunity to tell some of these stories to a wide audience.”

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