Since its founding in 2012, Frank + Oak has worked on differentiating itself as a men’s fashion brand ahead of the curve not only in style, but also technology. The company launched its first app in 2013, and since then, has launched 13 brick-and-mortar stores across Canada and the U.S. With its online and physical identities inextricably linked — customer accounts are synced between online and in-store — it’s not surprising that the company is looking to further combine these two experiences.
Frank + Oak’s relaunched platform includes a team of chat bots and stylists making recommendations for users as they shop – all to deliver highly-curated experiences.
Frank + Oak has now launched a redesigned app and website, and also introduced two-hour delivery and the launch of a personal stylist, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Frank + Oak’s relaunched platform includes a team of chat bots and stylists making recommendations for users as they shop, suggested featured products based on a user’s past purchases and profiles, and a personalized selection of pieces available for same-day delivery. Frank + Oak CEO Ethan Song said that all of these features are indicative of the next generation of retail — highly curated experiences.
“Customers are expecting faster service and more personalization. It used to be that everything was about search and now a lot of it has to be about simplicity and curation; ‘show me more things that are relevant to me’,” said Song. “We’re seeing a trend where brands and services are becoming one. Our brand is becoming a service provider for our customers.”
“In the last few years, our customer has moved a lot to mobile, and when it comes to recommendations and automation.”
– Ethan Song
While Song says that curation and personalization have always been important to the company, Song said that he feels that technology has only now evolved enough to allow Frank + Oak to fully deliver on that ‘service provider’ experience. He gives the example of a Frank + Oak customer that spills sauce on their shirt, but can trust Frank + Oak to deliver a fresh new shirt a couple of hours later. The two-hour delivery feature has launched in Toronto, but is also available in Vancouver and Montreal with plans to roll out the feature to other cities in the future.
“Five years ago, most brands didn’t have apps. Five years ago Uber barely existed. There’s been a real shift of this idea of enhanced digital experiences that’s moved from desktop to mobile and search to contextualized experience,” he said.
Song said that part of Frank + Oak’s success until now has been leveraging technology to strengthen itself a lifestyle brand, rather than making it obvious to customers that they’re interacting with a tech-focused brand. “Brands, photography, and values are typically not as measurable. What we try to do is connect authentically with customers from a brand perspective and to be able to optimize our business from tech standpoint” he said. “I don’t think the consumer wants to necessarily think they’re experiencing technology. What they see is, ‘What is the value to me?’”
The company’s new ‘visual identity’ is meant to target the millennial, entrepreneurial customer, as Song describes the new aesthetic as more tech-oriented. “In the last few years, our customer has moved a lot to mobile, and when it comes to recommendations and automation, AI tech is a lot more advanced than it was two years ago. It’s a combination of technology and the timing of our brand,” said Song.