Pioneering The Clicks-To-Bricks Phenomenon With Curated Retail Experiences
Drew Green is a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in managing fast-paced, high-growth companies.
A visionary leader, Drew joined INDOCHINO in 2015 and, within months, set the made to measure menswear retailer on a path to success. His focus, dedication and decisiveness has led to the company achieving record growth, expanding its retail showrooms in North America, and dramatically increasing its product assortment to become the undisputed leader in made-to-measure menswear.
Prior to INDOCHINO, Green spent his career connecting online audiences with retailers through advertising technology and e-commerce and marketplace platforms, helping create billions of dollars in shareholder value.
Online Retailer is lucky enough to have Drew as a international keynote this year. He will share insights and knowledge on how Indochino pioneered the click – to- brick movement and how he has made matching customer’s need the core of his business strategies.
We asked Drew a few questions before we fly him down to OZ:
OR: Tell us a bit about you and your background?
D: I’m Canadian living on the West Coast in Vancouver but originally from Scarborough, in Toronto.
My childhood was an amazing journey with lots of different challenges and opportunities, many of which have influenced me as a person and an entrepreneur. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up and we moved around a lot, which was an incredible way to build resilience, adaptability and resourcefulness. It meant that I got to meet new people all the time, grew accustomed to changing environments, and was motivated to create the best possible life for myself and my family through the years.
I was a varsity basketball player and it was during my first year at university that I launched a personal training venture to pay for school. I sold it and used the proceeds to see the world, traveling to 22 countries inside of a year. It was an incredible experience.
I’ve created and been part of a number of successful companies since. I joined INDOCHINO as a director and CEO in 2015, moving to Vancouver at the same time. My businesses have allowed me to live and experience New York, California, Chicago, Toronto and now Vancouver, which I value a great deal. The experience and journey are more valuable than any outcome.
OR: What was the first thing you did when you started your role as CEO in 2015?
D: My first action was to create and start to implement a five-year strategic business plan. This centred around a newly defined mission to sell one million custom suits per year, which is an ambitious goal! Over the past 1.5 years this plan has positioned INDOCHINO as the undisputed global market leader in custom apparel.
OR: Within a few weeks from starting, you managed to raise a $42 million investment. What’s your secret? If you could share the #1 rule to apply when raising funds, what would that be?
D: There is no secret except having razor sharp focus and a dedicated team of colleagues and partners all working towards a common goal. I find that success occurs when people are focused on the right priorities and opportunity.
OR: How do you make exceptional customer experiences at the core of your brand’s DNA?
D: One of our core values is that we are customer inspired. Customer experience is what drives our daily actions and decision-making, and our showrooms are a great example. Each appointment is a very engaging experience focused on building a human relationship rather than selling a product. Style Guides get to know each customer before leading him through a personalized process based on his needs.
When I think of structuring a consistent and differentiated experience, I think of how we interact with customers when they come to the showroom and what would engage a consumer in the experience – to me it must be relationship based. Demonstrate that you care about understanding them as an individual. Welcome them into the showroom and outline who Indochino is, what sets us apart from other retailers, and our long term intention to establish a relationship with them. What problem have we set out to solve for them? What are we going to do today to establish this relationship? What becomes possible (but not necessary) after we spend this hour together and they make their first purchase?
OR: Can you share with us your top 5 tips on how a pure play retailer can make the move to omni-channel and apply digital smarts to create an innovative store experience?
- Test the waters before diving right in. We learnt an incredible amount through pop-up shops before making the move to permanent retail.
- Use online data to create the offline customer experience. We based so many decisions on what we knew about our online customers, from where we should open to which fabrics would work best in that market.
- Listen to your customer and be prepared for how their needs change across different channels. At Indochino, our in store experience is extremely tactile and engaging and, while we cannot replicate that on our website, we do collect data in our showrooms that enables us to provide a better experience for our online customers.
- We AB test everything on our website, from offer to display to the order process. We’re continuously exploring how to give customers the experience that they want on our website. And these findings have translated to our showroom experience.
- Finally, don’t be afraid of your mistakes. Learn from them and enjoy the journey.
OR: You have applied a vertically integrated supply chain to the business. How has that been fundamental to your recent growth?
D: It has been crucial. We’ve been intentional about building vertical integration through tight partnerships across the value chain. In March 2016, we announced our vertical integration and strategic alliance with Dayang, the largest suit manufacturer in the world, which lowered costs and increased velocity and efficiencies. We’re able to pass these savings onto our customers, helping us to sell more suits at a price point that truly competes with ready to wear.
OR: Everyone is talking about mass-customisation and on-demand manufacturing. Do you think that’s where the future of retail is, and why?
D: Consumers want products that are tailored for them but they tend to be more expensive than mass-produced alternatives. So, while the desire for on-demand manufacturing isn’t new, what has changed recently is that technology has reduced costs and made it commercially viable. This means that custom retailers are finally able to compete with ready to wear – and I believe this is what will make mass-customization and on-demand manufacturing transform from niche to mass market.
OR: What do you think brands need to do to keep up with Millennials?
D: In retail, it’s no longer enough to simply sell a product. The Millennial generation is connected 24/7 and bombarded by hundreds of brands a day whether that’s on their mobile, at work or in a shopping mall. For a brand to really stand out, they need to go beyond the traditional retail model and create engaging, meaningful and shareable experiences.
OR: What is your vision for Indochino in the next 2 years?
D: To be known as one of the best places to work in Canada.
OR: Can you share your number one actionable eCommerce tip for success in the future?
D: Listen to your customer.