Will Leather Goods Gets Personal to Compete With Retail Giants This Holiday
Consumers may be focused on back-to-school shopping right now, but retailers are already looking ahead and planning for the busy holiday shopping season. Big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target might be the first to come to mind when consumers think “holiday shopping” or Black Friday, but small businesses are continuing to position themselves to better compete during this critical time.
Will Leather Goods, a family-owned retailer of leather products with eight brick-and-mortar stores and a growing online presence, is readying itself to compete against the retail giants this holiday season.
“Holiday is the biggest time of year [for us],” explains Shane Adler, Will Leather Goods’ brand director. “Every holiday either makes or breaks us.”
By offering unique and personal experiences to consumers, Will Leather Goods is able to stand out and compete with the mega retailers in its category.
The family-owned brand “runs a tight ship,” Adler says.
“A lot of the times when you call, you’re going to get ahold of a family member, rather than dealing with someone who doesn’t care,” notes Adler.
For the upcoming holiday shopping season, Will Leather Goods is showcasing its employees by telling their stories. Via email campaigns and in-store signage, employees will be sharing their holiday plans, what they will be gifting to family and friends, and what the holidays mean to them. By showing customers the actual people working for the brand, Will Leather provides a more personal and deeper connection compared to the big-box giants.
“We aren’t looking for people who are just clocking in, but people who are going to care the same way we do,” explains Adler.
Make it Personal
Will Leather makes the shopping experience a completely personal one for each customer. Adler says sending thank-you notes to customers and checking in with them about their purchase experience can go a long way.
“You can’t wait until there’s a problem,” cautions Adler.
Will Leather forges lasting relationships with its “very strong clientele base” by offering the personalized experience an enterprise retailer doesn’t have the bandwidth to offer.
“Ask for help from your customers — make phone calls, ask them to share their experience, let them know about new products,” she says.
In addition, this upcoming holiday season, Will Leather is donating backpacks to the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, making customers feel connected to the charitable cause the brand is supporting.
Utilize the Store
Although Will Leather is growing its online presence, the retailer's in-store experience is what really differentiates it, according to Adler.
“For us, there’s nothing like smelling our type of leather,” she explains. “It’s naturally dyed and each piece is one-of-a-kind.”
When shoppers enter a Will Leather store, an associate is able to interact with and explain the product.
“We have to explain our story to people because we're unique," says Adler. "That can be harder online. It’s [the leather] something that needs to be touched.”
The Will Leather stores add to the personal experience of the brand, especially during the holidays. Shoppers are offered coffee and gift-wrapping in store, return and exchange policies are more flexible, and stores stay open late for those last-minute purchases.
“We build up our team during that time so we can give the ultimate service and keep it personal,” notes Adler.
By offering shoppers the ultimate personal experience, Will Leather is preparing to take on the retail giants this holiday season.
“Most of our business is from word-of-mouth," Adler says. "We're going to keep going for that word-of-mouth angle and showing up for our customers.”