The Fort Worth-based retailer talks social engagement, a new demand for wild rags, and what comes next.
Editor's Note: As statewide rules and regulations continue to change rapidly, please contact retailers for their latest store hours and delivery capabilities.
As we navigate this time of uncertainty in the wake of the Coronavirus, some of our favorite Western retailers are thinking outside the box to reach customers in new ways. After shutting their doors March 22, Fort Worth-based retailer Maverick Western Wear learned to utilize otherwise untapped tools and resources to continue operations. And though the storefront is a highly recognizable foot-traffic point in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, the team at Maverick says they plan to continue many of their new social strategies even after their doors are open again.
In this interview from late April, we spoke to owner Gayle Hill, e-commerce content coordinator Melody Townsend, and Diana Simeroth from Maverick’s human resources department.
What has been the biggest challenge in adapting to the current situation?
Securing a PPP [paycheck protection program] loan and trying to increase sales by use of social media and telephone. Keeping communication open when only a few employees are on premise at one time, and adapting to the 6-foot social distancing requirement while working closely, but safely, together.
Has your business adapted to producing digital content and sales?
Our social media and web team produce weekly live video sales to engage with our social media audience on Instagram and Facebook. We are very grateful to our loyal customers and patrons who tune in each week to support our business during this time. Due to the engagement we’ve seen, we will continue to produce weekly live videos, even after resuming normal business operations! In addition, our team is running 24-hour “flash sales” on our social platforms to attract new followers and create interest with our long-time customers.
Due to the engagement we’ve seen, we will continue to produce weekly live videos, even after resuming normal business operations!
Has anything changed in how you interact with your customers online and on the phone?
The frequency of interaction with our customers has certainly increased online and over the phone. Our website has always been open 24/7, and we have staff diligently working to ensure that as much content as possible is uploaded to our website. In fact, we are in the process of transitioning to a new website platform to improve online interaction for our customers, and we are very excited for the launch coming soon!
What are some of the items that have resonated with your clients recently?
Our exclusive branded Maverick items have really increased in popularity! Our Maverick Saloon Tee’s and our Maverick Wild Rags have been our top-sellers online, and we only have a few left of the tee’s. There’s an interesting concept behind this, in which people are really missing the ability to visit the actual place, so by purchasing something branded, they’re bringing a piece of the place to them!
People are really missing the ability to visit the actual place, so by purchasing something branded, they’re bringing a piece of the place to them!
Do you have any tips for other Western businesses looking to take their business online right now?
Make sure to have a customer-friendly web platform! Customers rarely want to go searching for products. They like to see what they’ve been wanting, instantly. So, having your products organized and showcased accordingly on your homepage makes for easy access!
What are shoppers looking for right now from Western businesses? Have you noticed any buying trends?
As mentioned previously, wild rags have been a top-seller because they’re multi-purpose. In addition to being a fashion statement, they currently serve to protect people’s health! Graphic tees are another trend right now, while everyone spends more time at home, looking casual but fun. Lastly, anything with hides or animal prints is in! Whether it be cowhide or leopard print, customers love the high-end look on everyday pieces like sandals and purses.
Wild rags have been a top-seller because they’re multi-purpose. In addition to being a fashion statement, they currently serve to protect people’s health!
Where have you found the most support for your business during this time—local customers, retail peers, stimulus packages?
Our long-time and emerging customers, staff, and the PPP loan. Our customers have been incredibly supportive during this time and their virtual visibility has been reassuring. In addition, the PPP loan is enabling us to keep our staff employed, so that they can work diligently to remain visible and accessible to our wonderful customers.
Have there been any silver linings to your experience during this time?
Having the time to focus on broadening our online presence and learning how to best bring the store virtually to our customers has been an exciting and rewarding experience during this time. This entire experience has challenged individuals and businesses to be creative and think outside of the box. While we know life isn’t going to return to “normal” any time soon (and perhaps it never should in all aspects), this experience has challenged us to exercise some resources and tools that may have gone largely untapped otherwise. And we all know what happens when you exercise things—they get stronger.
This interview is part of an ongoing series that W&E is conducting with retailers. Click here to peruse more stories and interviews from the retail industry.