Ad Age : How has it been transitioning from
strictly online to having a bricks-and-mortar presence with
Ms. Keim: I wouldn't say operations have
changed, but our footprint has grown. A lot of people are excited
to be able to engage with the brand at a local level. The
one-on-one component -- it allows men to engage with the brand
without actually having to be in fashion. Nordstrom's brand is in
line with our brand value, people before profit.
Ad Age : When did you cut your marketing
spending? And what exactly did you cut?
Ms. Keim: We cut the budget in February. Our
year begins in February, and when our CEO sat the team down, [we]
discussed what was working. One of the hardest things was coming
off the holiday season. We cut between 40% and 50% of our budget,
and really analyzed the cost of acquisition by channel. We cut a
significant percentage of print, display and affiliate -- just
focused on taking away for those three months, so that we can now
go into the next quarter and know how to add back to it. Our goal
is to scale the brand without sacrificing the brand voice.
Ad Age : You've been in operation for about
five years now. Why are you just now adjusting your marketing
Ms. Keim: 2012 is a big focus for our brand. As
a startup, the power of data is really important. We actually have
the technology, the team and the data to work with now. We didn't
really know what was working. This wasn't like okay our budget is
being cut. It truly was a reset period. Previously we didn't have a
clear focus. There was too much noise.
Ad Age : Is this approach something you think
would apply to other online retailers?
Ms. Keim: Of course it would be different for a
more mature brand. But one of the key takeaways is not to be afraid
to reset or reduce your number of partners. The other key is to
understand that base line and have a clear understanding of the
business with minimal marketing. Take little bets and have that
test -and-learn period. If you're not sure if an initiative or
channel is working, cut it and solve that problem going back into
it. Now we're going back to a lot of the partners. We're just
smarter about what we want to test and the amount. What we will do
is hold on print until we understand how that medium will work for
Ad Age : Tell me about the Guideshops, an
offline model. Why focus on that when the brand has a successful
history of selling only online?
Ms. Keim: We're meeting the needs of consumers
who prefer to shop offline. The Guideshops started off in our lobby
headquarters -- appointment-based, online. Men come in and actually
walk through everything we offer online. We've had tremendous
feedback from men loving this experience -- loving not having to
wait in shopping lines, not having to go to a shopping mall. We've
actually just been reacting to the demand, and now it's just become
part of our plan.