Q & A with Ellie Howard – Heist

How is Heist engaging with their customer? What media is working the best?

We’re finding that customers are responding really well to our email content. We email directly from the team, and have collected a great amount of feedback and a number of interesting suggestions from those that are new to our products, and from VIPs who come back time and time again.

Are they doing anything that they would class as different to their competitors?

We deeply care about the women that wear our products, so we get them as involved in the design process as possible. To develop our initial range, we worked with 67 different women over the course of a year, starting with a laundry list of things they loathed about tights, and 197 samples later, finalising a design that fixed every one of their issues.

How does your e-commerce focus help inform the ways you engage with your customers? Where does offline fit in?

We’ve recently been to our first pop-up event to gather customer input on one of our new product ranges. This was an invaluable experience for us and gave us the opportunity to learn about a new market in a rich way, rather than making assumptions from afar.

In terms of our position as an e-commerce brand, our customer service and social teams are constantly talking to our customers, whether that be through live chat on our site, or through social channels directly.

How important is PR to your brand growth? Any top tips for emerging brands from what you have learnt?

PR has been really powerful for us. It’s featured heavily on our growth, from launch, where we were featured in everything from Vogue to Good Housekeeping, to more recent coverage of The Nude Project (our campaign for diversity in the fashion industry) in the FT, and our funding news in Evening Standard magazine.

For us, PR is all about relationships, and timing! We’ve a pretty strong filter internally on ensuring that what we share is of value to journalists and their audiences, so we spend a lot of time on messaging.

How does having a very niche product focus help engage with new customers?

There’s something massively exciting about our category. Because underwear in general and tights in particular have been overlooked for so long, we really enjoy the ‘me too!’ moment during our initial engagement with those in our audience, when a person realises that everybody hates ordinary tights. Then, it’s about communicating what makes Heist so special, which we’re continuously looking to improve at.

How important is acquisition vs. retention? How do you balance attracting new customers with looking after loyal ones?

We’ve made a huge number of upgrades recently to ensure that both our new customers and our existing customers are delighted with their experience. The main one is our new packaging – our operations team have put an enormous amount of work into delivering something really special for our customers to buy for themselves or to gift to others, and we’ve had super early reviews.

Are there any technologies you are looking at to support with your brand engagement?

We’re investing heavily in our a single customer view, to ensure that we respect the time of those in our audience, and only provide them with content that is of interest to them.

Is there a challenge, you would like technology to help you solve for you to help truly engage with your audience?

We’re looking at technical ways to understand the fitting needs of our customers in a superior way. This ranges from a fitting tool on our site to more advanced ways of knowing what our customers

guest author

Ellie Howard

Head of Community – Heist


Do not miss the Retail Recharged event, taking place in London on October 11th 2017. In just a few years, Retail Recharged has established itself as the not-to-be-missed half-day, highly curated and invite-only Retail event, which attracts a stellar crowd.

Retail Recharged puts retailers and learning at the centre of the event. Every year there are talks, panel discussions and debates on specific topics. Some of the best start-ups showcase their products.

This year’s key topics are:

  • Personalisation
  • Global Expansion
  • Brand Engagement

Unlike many other events, Retail Recharged is all about helping retailers surf the continuous waves of innovation.

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