Menswear retailer Frank & Oak, which launched in 2012, believes in its style advisers to be the customer engagement linchpin for its young company.

Although it’s based in Canada, about 70% of Frank & Oak’s sales from the U.S. Frank & Oak operates like a subscription service, comparable to Trunk Club. Frank & Oak releases one 75-piece collection a month, and plans to expand to other product categories besides clothes.

Customers can join the site and start ordering boxes of curated clothes that can be tried on before being purchased. About one fifth of Frank & Oak’s 1.5 million members shop the company’s monthly collections from its app.

Frank & Oak CEO Ethan Song participated in a Q&A with Loyalty360 to talk about the company’s style advisers and their crucial role in making deep, emotional connections with customers.  To support style advisers, Frank & Oak recently implemented Tulip Retail’s in-store tablet technology, which gives advisers mobile access to information that drives omnichannel sales and creates meaningful customer interactions, including a full product catalog, customer profiles, inventory levels and POS capabilities.

Why did F&O create “style advisers” and what is the backstory behind the name?

Our style advisers’ role is more than just to sell–it’s to make a meaningful connection with our shoppers and provide expert advice. That’s why it didn’t feel right to refer to them as sales associates. We want to make sure we have relationships with our shoppers.

Why does F&O believe giving advice is a better way of customer engagement than the sell?

We want to give our shoppers a reason to stop in more regularly than just for shopping trips. We want them to see Frank & Oak as a place where they can get a complete experience, beyond just making a purchase. By providing advice to our shoppers, we’re showing them that we do genuinely want to connect with them. This often leads to more loyal, life-long customers.

How many stores does F&O have?

Six: Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa. Our flagship location is in Toronto.

What is F&O’s CX philosophy?

We go after the creative professional, so we’ve created a casual environment in our stores complete with couches, coffee tables, a café, and barber shop. We want to give shoppers an “experience” while they’re with us, and Tulip’s technology is helping our style advisers do just that.

How does F&O define customer loyalty and has that definition changed or evolved in this era of the Empowered Customer?

We view our loyal customers as those who optimize the brand and, therefore, embrace all aspects of Frank & Oak. Being a brand that’s built on leveraging technology, we’re constantly changing and adapting to our target audience and developing new products based on what we know they want.

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