Tony Barlow is a family business that has been dressing Australian men for more than 30 years. Thanks to the quality of suits and impeccable in-store experience, Tony Barlow has earned a reputation as one of Australia’s most trusted retailers of wedding suits.
The challenge we faced was replicating Tony Barlow’s premium in-store offering through its website. We wanted to give customers access to a wide range of products in an environment that compelled them to visit the store and try on a suit.
Suits are a premium product and something that most men prefer to buy in person so they can be tailored to their personal needs. Tony Barlow’s philosophy of personalised customer service meant their online experience had to deliver something different to other menswear websites.
The first step was creating a new, mobile responsive website with a full product listing for each of the brands they stock. Rather than creating a standard eCommerce website with shopping cart functionality, which the client was not in a position to offer, we built a website that allowed customers to browse suits and book an in-store fitting. This kept an element of commitment without requiring a transaction to take place.
This approach helped Tony Barlow create measurable goals for their website, understand where their most valuable traffic came from and capture meaningful data about their customers. This data then allowed Tony Barlow to provide personalised digital experience via email, social and remarketing to complement the in-store experience.
Tony Barlow had always offered an informal loyalty program for returning customers, but had no easy way of contacting these clients with marketing material. To solve this problem, we implemented a timed popup form on the home page, asking the visitor for their email address in exchange for a ‘10% off for life’ membership.
This provided customers who had previously shopped in-store an opportunity to formalise their VIP status, while also giving new website visitors an incentive to visit the store.
Buying a suit is an expensive undertaking. Most ‘off the rack’ suits will need tailoring to provide a truly comfortable fit and in many cases, customers will not be ready to buy their suit until 3-6 months after they start searching.
Keeping customers engaged during what is often a long sales cycle was critical. We also wanted to create a reason for customers to stay engaged with the brand after their purchase, to increase their likelihood of returning to Tony Barlow next time they need a suit.
By launching a menswear blog, we were able to keep the Tony Barlow brand front of mind with their clients, while also providing value beyond the transaction through guides on suit care and style.
The previous Tony Barlow website had averaged around 1,000 visits per month and had no measurable way for customers to contact the store.
Using a mixture of products, content marketing and targeted social media advertising, we were able to significantly increase traffic to the website, while also increasing average page views per session by 90% and reducing the website’s bounce rate to less than 10%.
The new website also gave us the ability track a range of different enquiry types, giving us valuable information around how customers behave at different stages of the buying cycle.
Since its launch the VIP program has generated an average of 100 new subscribers per month. It has also driven significant amounts of foot traffic to the store, essentially serving as the bridge between the website and the physical store.
The VIP database now has an average email open rate above 30%, with an average click-through rate of 10% – well above the fashion retail industry average. Visitors who click through to the website from an email campaign have the highest level of engagement, averaging almost 9 pages per session.
Regular blog content has given customers engaging and relevant information, keeping their focus on the Tony Barlow brand throughout the buying cycle. It has also helped to build trust and loyalty by freely giving advice and recommendations on getting the most out of suit purchases.
As a result, email click-through rates have improved significantly and the average time on site is now more than 3 minutes. These two measures have given us great visibility over which content pieces are resonating most with customers and new leads.
“Creating a formalised VIP program and incentivising in-store visits on our website has been our most successful long-term marketing strategy ever.” – Georgia Barlow, General Manager