Boston Proper Billion-Dollar Opportunity
By Donna Loyle
Unique merchandise, exceptional visual branding and a textbook e-commerce strategy give Boston Proper a leg up on its competition.
Boston Proper CEO Michael Tiernan calls it "The Billion-Dollar Opportunity."
His vision encompasses a multichannel strategy targeting affluent, self-assured, baby boomer women — a generation notorious for its conviction that it will stay vibrant and sexy long into old age.
Tiernan's Boston Proper catalog and e-commerce site offer unique, fashion-forward and sexy apparel, shoes and accessories to well-educated and busy women primarily in the 35-to-55 age range. They may have children, husbands and extended families, but they buy from Boston Proper for themselves, says Margaret Moraskie, e-commerce director for the Boca Raton, Fla.-based marketer.
"They tell us they like the fresh merchandise," she says. "Our unique merchandise is the big driver of our customers' satisfaction. They particularly love that they don't see themselves everywhere."
Delivering that unique selling proposition via a solid direct marketing strategy that encompasses an eye-popping print catalog and a cutting-edge Web site is Tiernan's "billion-dollar" primary focus and strength.
Boston Proper officials hang their hats on their ability to stay focused on customer needs and on their high-quality visual branding. To meet customers' demands for fresh looks, most merchandise is proprietary or branded. Sometimes, Boston Proper buyers even will help develop product lines. They shop both domestically and in Europe to find fashion curves, and 60 percent to 70 percent of merchandise is produced overseas, Moraskie says.
To help its busy customers edit their shopping choices, Boston Proper organizes entire outfits. "We heard customers say they don't like to pack too many pairs of shoes [when they travel], says the company's executive vice president and chief creative and Internet officer, Skip Hartzell."We picture one pair of shoes with several outfits. We talk in the copy about our shoe line's versatility."