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Anatoly Uvarov
Anatoly Uvarov

Buy One Pair Of Shoes Get One ##TOP## Free

While some people in Birmingham have been working to get food to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis, Christopher Groom of Mountain High Outfitters has been thinking about the comfort of healthcare workers and first responders. Without proper shoes, long and stressful shifts can be even more draining.

buy one pair of shoes get one free

Sometimes you need all-terrain shoes to take you safely to all those special places. Salomon has you covered with boots, trail running shoes and more. Whether they are for work or play, you and your healthcare worker/first responder will love these shoes.

So, head out to your local Mountain High Outfitters store, call the store Sunday-Saturday 11AM-6PM or shop online today. Purchase one of the four brands mentioned and use the code GiveOne at checkout. Mountain High will reach out to the healthcare worker or first responder and let them know a pair of shoes is waiting for them.

TOMS, of course, is an accessory company that markets itself like a charity: When you buy TOMS products, the company makes an in-kind donation to a person in need. When someone buys a pair of TOMS shoes in the US, for instance, the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in a poor country like Haiti.

TOMS has a compelling origin story. When founder Blake Mycoskie was traveling in Argentina in 2006, he "witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes." According to TOMS corporate lore, Mycoskie decided that there was a simple solution to that problem: Give them shoes. More specifically, create a for-profit company that funds free shoes for poor children without relying on donations.

On the surface, this idea makes sense. Shoes seem important! They protect your feet and are a basic requirement for participation in a lot of public life. Not having them sure sounds like a big problem. Getting free shoes sure sounds like a great solution.

And if they're relatively inexpensive items, like shoes that cost just a few dollars or menstrual pads that cost only pennies, then the story gets even better: We, as Western consumers, are so rich that the price of changing a poor person's life is just a rounding error on our fashionable accessories. Improving a poor child's well-being or clearing a young woman's path to education can be offered as a free gift with purchase, a sort of altruistic version of a McDonald's happy meal toy.

It might be easy to miss, but there are two really big logical leaps in the story that products like TOMS tell you: that the hardships the poor kids were facing were due to their lack of shoes, and that giving them shoes was therefore the best way to address those problems. Neither of these, unfortunately, is correct.

When TOMS worked with an outside research team to evaluate the impact of its shoe donations, the researchers were unable to find a way in which the shoes had much of a substantive impact on poor kids' lives. The kids liked the shoes, and used them to play outside a little more often. But there was no significant improvement in their school attendance or self-esteem.

US-based TOMS Shoes created an out-of-the-box solution to its objective of helping people even while running a for-profit business. The company founded on the principle that it would give away one shoe to a poor child for free, for every shoe it sold. This case study looks at how TOMS Shoes made a cause the centre of its activities, even as the cause itself contributed to its revenues and profitability. And how it used social media for marketing.

For every pair of TOMS shoes sold, the company would donate one pair to a child in need. This revolutionary concept was called "One for One", and Mycoskie ensured poor children in different parts of the world got the benefit of its business. What made it work even better is the fact that a buyer, typically a young adult looking for an affordable yet cool pair of shoes, would feel good in the knowledge that his purchase has actually helped a poor child get a much-needed shoe for free. The business model worked perfectly, because the cost of the free shoe was built into the price of the one that is sold, making a seemingly charitable effort also contribute to its profitability.

So far, the company's website states that it has provided more than 35 million pairs of shoes to children in 70 countries across the world, and this includes India as well. As long as people continue to purchase TOMS shoes, children in need will receive a pair in return. The shoes that the company designs and sells are based on the Argentine alpargata design.

In later years, Mycoskie expanded the One for One model to other products as well. In 2011, the company introduced eyewear. It followed a similar principle for eyewear as its shoes, but again with a twist. Instead of donating a pair of glasses for every pair sold, TOMS would use part of the profit from that sale to save or restore the eyesight of a person in developing countries. So far, the company website states, TOMS Eyewear has helped restore sight to more than 275,000 people. Further on, the concept was extended to other product categories as well.

TOMS offers more than a comfortable and trendy pair of shoes. It is about status and a story to tell. Mycoskie realised the power of the TOMS story since the early days of the company and has focused on it ever since.

In 2009, Mycoskie partnered with AT&T by filming a commercial, which ran throughout 2009 and was an enormous success. The commercial profiled TOMS as a for-profit company that donates one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased, and founder Blake who uses his AT&T BlackBerry to conduct business from around the world. Lots of people tweeted about the commercial creating awareness about TOMS and AT&T, and support for the TOMS business model.

TOMS didn't pay celebrities to advertise its products. However, due to the prevalence of photographs in social media of celebrities wearing the company's shoes, it received a great deal of "free" publicity and perceived celebrity endorsements. Many celebrities such as Keira Knightley, Scarlett Johansson, Liv Tyler, Anne Hathaway, Tom Felton, and Julia Roberts became TOMS storytellers by adopting the brand and spreading the story.

TOMS's "One day without shoes" campaign creates awareness on global children's health and education issues. Participants can share experiences and upload images on Flickr and Facebook. Also, TOMS partnered with major companies such as Google and AOL, and created a separate website for it.

One participant uploaded images on Flickr and commented, "I'm going most of the day without shoes since about 740 million people fight hookworm, can't go to school, etc., since they don't have shoes."

A student at Columbia University uploaded her image on Flickr and commented: "It gets people thinking about children in the world, and may be leads someone into a career of helping children. That's the event; it's a simple gesture of wearing no shoes and communicating to people the situations and leading to changing a child's life."

Specifically, TOMS has a lot of great content about the people who have been helped by the programme and people that need help, photos of children happily wearing shoes, getting glasses, etc. But this impactful content is effectively segregated from the shopping experience. When you visit the TOMS website, the taxonomy of the site forces you to either "Shop" or learn "How We Give", but the two paths are essentially siloed from each other. If a visitor is reading about how much good the programme does under the "How We Give" link, there is no call to action to take you directly to a product you can buy. Instead, you have to leave this section and visit the "Shop" section. Conversely, if a visitor is shopping for a particular pair of shoes on the site, there are no images or story telling about the benefits of the programme.

A live ticker with "35M pairs of new shoes donated to children in need" in the header of the site, including the shopping pages, could serve as a powerful form of social proof to help undecided buyers, who don't happen to drill down into the "How We Give" pages. Similarly, the programme could be much more prominently and consistently promoted in the visual merchandising provided to third-party retailers. Some partners, such as Nordstrom Rack, have no point-of-purchase information about the programme. Even when the store does have One for One signage, it's a simple statement with no imagery or social proof. It is especially important that the programme be emphasised on the TOMS brand pages and on their retail partners' sites, and not solely on product detail pages (as is the case now).

Its Value Network is strong and there is no reason for it not to continue. However, why restrict it to donating shoes? Isn't it possible to create value in those South American countries by getting things made there, which can then become a self-sustaining for-profit/not-for-profit and help progression of and lend pride to the people who contribute and are a part of it? The strong family culture is good, the values are fine. But families grow, have different thoughts and the parent has to look at how they are allowed to spread their wings.

While TOMS has been successful in product additions - sunglasses, bags - its consideration of the lifecycle aspect of the customer seems to have been low. Ideally, a teen to 40+ should be covered via different approaches and content. A teen or collegegoer would be more prone to share content on a variety of platforms in an innovative manner. However, as you grow older, your offline reach becomes stronger and you create content that extends to disproportionate reach. Say, for example, a teen begins with buying a shoe twice a year, shares, engages, encourages five of his peer group to purchase shoes. As she/he grows, the possibility of drifting away remains (say half of the six) and this has to be brought back in via different platforms, products, engagement and sharing. A local offline ambassador programme could help generate content and awareness, in addition to the celebrity endorsements. Remember, on social media everybody is a celebrity in her own right and the influence extends in different directions. 041b061a72


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