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Rachel Illingworth

In the 90s, online retail emerged and forever changed the face of the entire industry. Customers began purchasing goods online, making an overnight success out of early online retailers. As a result of online sales success — combined with market fluctuations — companies began closing their retail locations. Remember Blockbuster and Circuit City? Subsequently, many retailers now approach their customers with online-specific strategy, ignoring other marketing opportunities.

After finding limitless online success, one retailer decided to take their brand further with an omni-channel approach. YETI opened its first store in Austin, TX in early 2017. This first store location gives YETI the chance to bring its brand to life — with a showroom dedicated to their customers’ needs.

A brand born online

YETI crafts high-end, seamless, one-piece polyethylene coolers. Their coolers are durable — enough to boast that “even your biggest buddy can jump up and down on it without caving in the lid.” But YETI makes and sells more than fancy coolers and cups. Through smart marketing, a rugged, outdoor lifestyle is completely connected to their branding.

As YETI’s  success has grown, they’ve continued making smart business choices — while remaining innovative. They recently made improvements to their Customer Experience (CX), by implementing new processes for reporting on agent activity, tracking customer activity, and providing closure for customer issues, without sacrificing customer service quality.  

YETI and Appirio teamed up to establish standardized processes and communications with customers. Appirio built a roadmap for YETI to follow to improve their CX. Soon, efficient, insightful customer service processes were created — the type of innovation that would benefit both the CX and Worker Experience (WX).

Roadmapping an in-store experience

After boosting their online CX with Appirio, YETI made the decision to build a retail location. With this brick-and-mortar store, they partnered with Mood Media to ensure both happy customers and a full inventory.

Opening a physical store, and incorporating the elements of touch, sound, and smell, would enable YETI to create the full CX they had in mind. In-store, Mood incorporated proven branding techniques — like circulated scents, mood music, and videos that incorporate customer stories. They also edged into new branding territory, by purposefully creating a sense of community within their new Austin store.

Inside the YETI store, customers will find a bar area, which includes drinks and televised sports. What better way to build an outdoor sporting enthusiast brand than by providing customers a cool drink and exciting game?

“It’s about bringing people together — creating a next-generation destination space that fosters community,” says Ken Eissing, president of in-store media at Mood Media. “The store showcases visuals that bring to life the epic adventure of not only YETI’s durable products experience, but also that of their outdoorsy customers.”

YETI’s memorable CX

“For us,” Tony Kaplan, YETI’s director of consumer experience, explains, “it’s important to connect emotionally with our customer and to create memorable moments.”

YETI’s store is more than just another place to shop, it’s a CX dream. They’ve taken the right steps and partnered with the right help to build a strong outdoor lifestyle brand with a growing customer audience. The new Austin retail space fulfills a 360-degree, omni-channel approach that places YETI on a road to success.

“The flagship store is as much an experience center as it is a retail store,” clarifies Kaplan. “We hope to give people an authentic brand experience, as well as inspire them to enjoy the great outdoors.”

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