Putting The Service in Customer Service with Alison Hop

April 13, 2021



Our special guest, Alison Hop, joins us to share her experience as Director of Commerce at the Ministry of Supply. How do retailers such as the Ministry of Supply stand apart from their competitors? Why offer a 100 day return period? What has been the most challenging aspect of the pandemic? Does social media marketing really work?

  • We ask these questions and more of our special guest, Alison Hop, Director of Commerce at Ministry of Supply. Alison has experience working in the luxury apparel and jewelry businesses, particularly within the eCommerce realm, to elevate brands and better serve customers.
  • She shares with our audience the steps Ministry of Supply has taken to tackle the pandemic head-on and continue delighting customers from afar.
  • One of the keys to the brand’s success without a doubt is their reliance on data and customer feedback when making any decision to ensure it’s really what their customers want.

Conversation Rundown

[ 5:06-7:28 ] Translating the in-person experience online.
Many retailers get feedback from their customers face-to-face, in-store. How are you supposed to get that information through eCommerce? Alison Hop had a great perspective on this on our latest episode of the Customer-Centric Retailing podcast. At Ministry of Supply, the chat functionality allows customers to ask questions and leave feedback in real-time.

[ 8:26-9:57 ] Why brick-and-mortar and eCommerce shouldn’t be treated separately
It is so frustrating that so many retailers still approach brick-and-mortar and eCommerce as separate branches. Alison Hop is right - we've all had that experience where we ask an eCommerce representative about an in-store purchase and they can't help us. Retailers need the integrations in place to marry these two departments for once and for all. After all, it's all commerce.

[ 17:59-19:11 ] Behind the 100 days return policy at Ministry of Supply
I asked Alison Hop from Ministry of Supply why they have a 100-day return policy. That's quite unusual, most retailers go for 30-day policies. Check out her response. It all comes down to believing in your product and wanting customers to really try it out. They also want feedback. If a customer has had your product for 90 days and then decides to return it, wouldn't you want to know the reason why.

[ 21:50-24:51 ] The benefits of pre-orders
Back in the day, winning the retail game was all about the supply chain. That's no longer good enough. Today, it's all about building a relationship with your customer. And that can only be done by enhancing your online and offline shopping experience to be centered around the customer.

[ 32:31-35:23 ] How should retailers leverage social media marketing?
Any kind of popup—in this case, an email request form on the homepage—is an obstruction in the visitor's buying journey. Let visitors browse and explore products before even considering triggering a popup. If anything, a popup should be used to incentive visitors to stay who would have otherwise left.

Meet the Expert

Alison Hop is the vice president of sales at Ministry of Supply where she oversees both online and brick-and-mortar channels. Prior to that, she was the Director of Ecommerce at David Yurman in New York City where she was responsible for leading a rapidly-growing multi-million dollar digital business. Experienced digital professional with a demonstrated history of success in the luxury apparel and jewelry industry. 

Retail Tips & Tweetables

Pre-order is a great tool if handled smoothly across the channels.

Always look for opportunities not to overproduce.

Diversifying your marketing channels, opening up more possibilities to meet your customers is really important.

Think of delivering one channel, one purpose, and one service.

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