21 March 2012

Why Is Bonobos Being So Nice?

The New Yorker ran a cartoon with a cat pulling a mouse in wagon. The cat has this big smile and behind the mouse is another mouse chasing the wagon and yelling, "Think! Why do you think he's being so nice to you!"

Clearly, Bonobos has everything to gain by being nice to their customers. Whether you buy online or stop by their fitting room...they're gonna put you in a wagon and pull you around. But it's such a welcome change of pace from other retailers who can barely muster up a greeting much less a ride in a wagon. And then there's the idea of a "Guide."

The "Bonobos Guide Program at The Store at Bonobos HQ" works like this. Stop by their showroom at 45 West 25th Street, get fitted, and order anything from khakis to a Made to Measure Dinner Jacket (with choice of lining). Go here for details and an appointment. Amazingly efficient and your order shows up in day or two with pre-printed return label and free return shipping. By the way, there's  a 15% discount for the military here.

If you are a brick and mortar retailer...you may want to pay close attention to Bonobos. I'm as cynical as they come, and was prepared to give these guys grief about the whole "Ninga" cheer leader culture but...it works. Check out the sales link if you're cheap like me. I particularly like the Hanukkah cords and the Nauti tote. I'm working on a Naughty Tote. Details soon.

How to confuse the Goyim: Hanukkah Cords on sale for $75 here

Nauti Beach Tote here. On sale $95


Suburban Princess said...

It could very well be in response to the current culture of treating customers like garbage. They know companies are struggling and perhaps a step back in time to days when the customer was king is their plan to survive.

Alice Olive said...

Hanukkah cords - classic!

Brohammas said...

Can I say "I told you so?"

just did.

Anonymous said...

I've been sniffing around them or some time but have bit yet - but after a Brooks Brothers experience with a disdainful clerk - maybe its time. Service is important but quality - are the pants good?

One Last Year said...

brohammas turned me on to Bonobos and I love it.

Speaking to the customer service portion, I couldn't agree more. I worked in a small hardware store from ages 13-17. Because of the same approach it remains in business, even with a Home depot 3 miles west and a Lowes 3 miles East. I made a quick stop at Home Depot last night and witnessed the infamous "Point and give directions" routine 3 or 4 times when people asked for help. Even worse, each response consisted of an isle number between 50-70.

Anonymous said...

The line under the hanukah pants works perfectly!

tintin said...

Bro- You got lucky.

Anon- While chinos are made off shore, all shirts are made in US. They do a nice job and I'm a fan of their chinos. You'll go down a size but the rise is decent. They make it easy. That's for sure.

One Last Year- Sometimes the more a company, especially large companies, train salespeople, the worse the service is. And I think I know why.

Anon - It sings doesn't it? I was gonna use 'Shagitz' but it lacks tempo.

One Last Year said...

tintin - I would be curious to hear your thoughts.

tintin said...

One Last Year- I've been in sales 22 years and I have had a lot'a sales training. The best I ever had was one on one mentoring. I still have mentors. But mentoring in large companies is tough if not impossible due to how sales people are compensated. The result is more competition within most companies than there is w/ outside competition.

Most large companies have "in house" training (usually HR types with limited sales experience) or they'll hire sales consultants to put on training courses. These are rarely effective. Most trainers like to stand at a podium and talk. It's a one way ego trip and salespeople, with some decent egos of their own, turn off quickly.

Even if the outsourced sales trainer is good, the class is a week or so and once back in the field, anything learned is mostly gone. But the large company can say they train their people and how important that is and blah, blah, blah and the trainers don't know the history of the companies brand.

Find someone at your company who's been in sales for 10 or 15 yrs. If you can connect with them, beg them to be your mentor. Be deferential but don't kiss ass. Mutual respect is important and good salespeople always know when smoke is being blown up their ass.

In the end, it's up to you to develop your skills. No public owned company will do it for you. Because of how most salespeople are compensated -- the larger a company the more people will want to see you fail.

David Davidson said...

Honestly, I think their biggest draw is free returns. After all, the weakness of most online-only companies is the inability to return things to brick-and-mortar stores, which raises the threshold for pulling the trigger on purchases.
And as if you needed any more convincing to shop from Bonobos, you can get $50 off your $100 purchase with the coupon at http://bono.bs/x/ClXT2 There aren't too many stores out there that can beat that!