Napkyn’s Unsolicited Strategy Audit: Indochino, Part I

by Jim Cain

In this blog, we often talk about best practices at the ’20-thousand-foot’ level. This is for good reason: discussing specific findings we have made for our clients would violate the analyst/boss relationship, and also get us sued. In order to show the real world impact that a proper measurement framework can have on a retailer, I decided to write up a series of blogs about a company that I buy from as a consumer and have no relationship to as an analyst.

Our origins as a company are in eCommerce analysis. We not only understand how the data works in online retail, but we have a strong understanding of best practices around all aspects of running an online business. (10+ years of looking at the data will do that.).

Retail clients of ours always appreciate our unique insights, and I thought it might be helpful to provide some proactive insights to an online retailer that I currently have a bit of a love-hate relationship with: Indochino.

Indochino is a Canadian-based eCommerce success story (of which there are way too few, but that’s another blog). It was founded by two friends in University who had just learned firsthand how hard it is to get a first suit–and knew there had to be a better way. By tying together the retail impact of eCommerce (demand) with the many talented tailors in southeast Asia (supply), Indochino has quickly grown to become a lead player in the online men’s apparel category.

Those of you who know me are familiar with my ‘dereliqute’ approach to fashion. I have wanted to add a nice suit to my wardrobe for years, and have visited the Indochino site a number of times. The only drawback I had was sizing; I knew I would screw up the measurements if I took them myself. Recently, in response to a local social media campaign (nice work there, Indochino), a one-week-only pocket store was opened in downtown Ottawa, complete with tailors, sample suits and fashion consultants.

I immediately got an appointment, and the following week went to the event, where I was properly measured and got some great advice. A shirt and suit were promptly purchased and they even took all my measurements and info to make a site profile to facilitate future purchases. I commented to my wife after that I never needed to shop for suits again.

So, that was the good.

The ads, which were triggered by one of my recent visits to the site, show up on almost every webpage I go to, and in every video I watch in YouTube. Not only do I feel like my entire Internet use is now ‘sponsored by Indochino’, but I am also being treated to generic copy and product. This means that Indochino has decided to get as much retargeted inventory as they can, and haven’t taken advantage of the advanced business rule capabilities that exist in almost every retargeting tool.And then it happened. For the last several weeks, I have been power-bombed by shotgun advertising from Indochino, in the form of retargeted ads and email.

The emails, which I have gotten up to three times a day, let me know every time a new category or product has been created, or when they have a daily special (which seems to happen a lot). Once again, despite having worked with me in person to make a detailed profile, there is no personalized copy or product relevance in the messages.

In short, a great business with an amazing approach to customer satisfaction hurt their brand (and future sales) by doing sloppy digital marketing.

Now there’s a reason why this is happening to me, and every other web user who has given their email address or visited the site. Display Advertising and Email are both numbers games. On average, when you send X emails, you will get Y visits and Z sales. Same with Display; show X million people the banner and you get a somewhat predictable ratio of eyeballs and wallets.

I did some quick research on other ways that Indochino might be driving traffic, and while I found a number of good articles on the firm (good), I found very little presence in paid or organic search (bad) and no attempt by Indochino to funnel certain types of traffic to targeted landing pages (very bad!).

Next week we’ll post a follow-up where some relevant key metrics and best practices for selling will be explained, all of which would add significant value to the Indochino marketing strategy.

And if anyone on the Indochino team is reading this, I’m still a happy customer. As a web surfer, I am less than delighted; and as a digital analyst, I’m shocked by the money you are leaving on the table.



Jim Cain

Founder and CEO, Napkyn Analytics

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