Deepening Roots: how an iconic Canadian retailer strengthened ties with millennials

Canada Post

The challenge of reaching the e-commerce generation and bringing them instore

Roots is one of Canada’s iconic brands, with a rich history and a strong reputation for top-quality clothes, accessories, footwear and leather goods. Its garments – most sporting the instantly recognizable beaver emblem – have been Canadian wardrobe staples for over 40 years.

Roots has long connected with its loyal shoppers predominantly through its nationwide network of stores. The in-store experience – including rustic Canadiana décor, photographs, displays and friendly, helpful staff – has been a hallmark of the brand since the early 1980s.

But today’s millennial shoppers prefer to shop online. They value its convenience, simplicity, immediacy and the ability to shop around for good value. And while Roots has a robust e-commerce site and good brand recognition, they wanted to grow their customer base of millennials around their physical stores. 

Postal Code Targeting puts the Roots brand into the hands of millennials

Roots connected with Canada Post to look for ways to reach millennials and drive them to shop in their physical stores. Canada Post proposed leveraging the power of data through their Postal Code Targeting (PCT) service. Using PCT, Roots was able to hone in on those postal codes containing the attributes of their ideal customers. .

Roots and Canada Post’s data team:

  • Examined both the demographics and the past purchase data of Roots’ customer base to refine their targeting.
  • Sent the catalogue to 5 key postal codes within a designated radius of a local Roots store.
  • Created a special offer of additional savings when they purchased two items or more.

Roots defined its target segment for the campaign as independent and creative women and men aged 28 to 35. To entice them, they produced and sent their target a rich mini-catalogue during the back-to-school season – a peak retail period when many people hit their wardrobe-reset button.

This catalogue mailing featured bold photography alongside references to Roots more than 40-year history, offering valuable content to engage this audience. And, importantly, it put Roots’ brand in the hands of an audience that appreciates sensory communications.

Tactile is key:

  • Millennials have grown up in a largely digital world – and many of them exist within it for both work and pleasure.
  • In “real life”, they appreciate grounded, hands-on experiences to balance out their digital world.
  • They appreciate valuable reminders that their business is both desired and valued.

“We wanted [the catalogue] to represent the best elements of the new collection in an elevated way, balancing editorial and product content. We wanted to shift perceptions – have back-to-school information – but also tell the story of our heritage. The catalogue is something you want to keep on your coffee table, flip through and spend time with.”

Gabriela MercerAnalyst E-commerce and MarketingRoots Canada

“We wanted [the catalogue] to represent the best elements of the new collection in an elevated way, balancing editorial and product content. We wanted to shift perceptions – have back-to-school information – but also tell the story of our heritage. The catalogue is something you want to keep on your coffee table, flip through and spend time with.”

When the right piece reaches the right place: success

According to Root’s Mercer, “We saw strong sales, both in-store and online, related to the campaign. But what was really interesting for us was the order growth in the postal codes we targeted with Canada Post.”

In fact, online sales from customers in postal codes targeted by Canada Post were considerably higher compared with non-targeted postal codes.

 “Moving forward, Roots will continue to incorporate Postal Code Targeting into their campaigns,” says Mercer. “Great content and strong data has proven to be a perfect fit.”

Roots was able to efficiently target ideal customers – Millennials who appreciate both style and substance – and increase in-store and e-commerce revenue during the campaign, thanks in large part to its partnership with Canada Post.

Millennials – as with Boomers and Gen-X – have unique attributes and purchase triggers. And reaching them how they want to be reached, and in ways that drive response, is the key. Canada Post can provide a wealth of insights into what motivates each demographic, how tactile appeals can work best for each group.

Learn how to amplify your marketing mix by generation and lifestage in our free e-book Generation Gap.

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