Amy Stevenson, CMO of DSW.

Shoes create quite a problem when putting together a wardrobe and consumers are often left deciding between form and function. Historically the marketing for shoes only exacerbates this problem. These ads have supermodels effortlessly gliding around on six inch heels or musicians matching air Jordan’s and a several thousand dollar suit. These kinds of ads can be irrelevant to most shoppers and executives like Amy Stevenson at DSW Inc. have caught on. Stevenson is the CMO of DSW and her marketing campaigns have changed how the shoe fits.

Her new ideas began to flourish when she leaned on the social media influencers of Instagram to bolster the brand’s visibility. Instagram users and influencers do not fit one ideal body type and Stevenson found that DSW shoes were being modeled by people who were more relatable. This bevy of new talent helped create a new type of brand awareness for DSW and Stevenson has been molding her marketing campaigns to take advantage ever since. DSW has survived and thrived by offering a distinctive assortment of footwear. The company’s smaller size was turned into an advantage as they began to leverage technology and pivot faster than larger chains.

DSW has recently focused on improving the digital aspect of its business. They rolled out a new loyalty program that is both beneficial to the customer and their marketing team. Stevenson can use the data gathered from the VIP loyalty program to create offers that are personalized for each customer. She has used the program to create a seamless shopping experience between the physical and digital storefronts. Going above and beyond, she discovered that customers want to replace old shoes with new ones, but they are often reluctant to just throw shoes that are still usable in the trash. She resolved this dilemma by partnering with Soles4Souls and created a shoe donation program which provided customers with VIP points that could be used towards a new purchase with every pair of shoes they gave away.  Stevenson simultaneously helped those who are in need, drove profits, and was able to connect DSW as a brand people could feel positive about. This program fit in seamlessly with her Instagram marketing campaign as many shoppers today are not just concerned with style and price, but also in purchasing from a brand that aligns with their values.

In addition, Stevenson has shown a commitment to diversity and this was exemplified by her latest campaign. In summer of 2019 she launched Runway Redone: Boots for All. The focus was in showcasing that DSW shoes are right for all types of people, not just fashion models. Regular customers entered the contest and were able to walk on the runway in New York City to debut DSW’s fall collection. Stevenson was able to leverage her own consumer base to showcase just how fashionable DSW’s unique assortment of shoes could be to any and all customers.

To learn more about Amy Stevenson and DSW Inc. subscribe to CSG’s Department Stores & Shoe Retailers PLUS Database and access full company profiles, including contact information for its key decision makers. You can hear Amy Stevenson speak live at this year’s Retail Smarter conference, sponsored in part by Chain Store Guide, on March 25th; register today.