Zumiez Significantly Enhances Customer Engagement

Zumiez, a specialty retailer of action sports related apparel, footwear, equipment, and accessories, which was recently ranked No. 1 in the “Total Retail's Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers” report, maintains a thorough understanding of effective customer engagement.

And that keen insight goes a long way toward creating more and more brand loyalty.

“We’ve significantly enhanced our ability to engage with customers on multiple fronts through the integration of our physical and digital channels,” Zumiez CEO Richard Brooks said during the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call. “We have a comprehensive customer experience that allows them to see all inventories through any channel and includes features in which our customers have access to their local store’s inventory, can buy online, pick up in-store, reserve online, pay in store, and buy whenever and however they choose. Included in this experience is fully localized fulfillment in our North American business, putting the local customer experience back in the hands of our store teams and significantly reducing our order to delivery time. In 2017, we’re continuing to roll out our new customer engagement suite across the U.S. store fleet.”

This system enhancement helps Zumiez learn more about its customers and engage with them in a more meaningful way.

“Through this level of interaction, in conjunction with face-to-face dialogue in stores, we’ll be able to keep our finger on the pulse of local trends allowing us to provide hyper-localized and purely authentic product assortments and a superior personalized brand experience for our customers,” Brooks added.

Zumiez was awarded its top ranking after receiving the maximum score of 100 points across seven criteria: Buy online, pick up in-store; search in-store products on- line; shared cart; loyalty points earned/redeemed across channels; return products across channels; three or more channels available for customer service; and pricing consistency across channels. 

First quarter net sales were $181.2 million, an increase of 4.7 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016. Comparable sales increased 1.8 percent.

Brooks noted three key focus areas for Zumiez, including effective employee engagement.

“We’ve continued to enhance our brand experience through unique product and investment in our people,” he said. “In 2016, we launched over 100 new brands, which was consistent with each of the last five years and how we expect to bring newness to the business, going forward. While these brands are generally not a significant portion of our overall offering in their first year, they continue to bring uniqueness to our customers and will represent the next wave of meaningful brands in the coming years. In addition to unique product, we continue to invest in our best-in-class sales teams. In early May, we again held our annual store manager’s retreat. It's a great event that provides valuable skills to a multi-year training format that allows our managers to be better teachers and leaders. At our event this year, we saw more participants in the advanced classes than we have ever had, representing reduced manager turnover and the strength of our teams. It is our belief that this event sends our retail managers back to their stores with renewed energy and enthusiasm with the Zumiez brand and cultural experience.”

Carrie McIlveen, U.S. director of marketing, Metia, told Loyalty360 that Zumiez appears to be placing notable focus on one key area that can truly impact CX; it’s employees.

“Empowering their teams can help them to engage in meaningful ways with customers,” McIlveen explained. “Zumiez seems to be positioning itself in various areas of the organization and through technology to allow for adaptability to changing markets. By evolving the business, Zumiez can act more effectively and enhance the customer journey.”

Evan Magliocca, brand marketing manager for Baesman Insights & Marketing, told Loyalty360 that the Zumiez leadership has been prescient on where the industry is heading and the company’s positive comp sales in a highly challenging market are a direct result.

“Zumiez offers sophisticated omnichannel experiences and fulfillment,” Baesman explained. “They understand their customer is searching for unique products and Zumiez is bringing new brands in rapidly each year. Perhaps most impressive is their strict approach to store footprint. That’s one place a lot of retailers have gotten into hot water lately. Their cautious approach helps them avoid over-extending and cannibalizing sales.” 

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