Millions of people have seen Country Outfitter‘s ads on Facebook.
But in 2012, the brand was failing, reports Stephie Grob Plante at Racked.
To clear out excess inventory, the brand offered a Facebook promotion for free boots.
“To be honest, Country Outfitter was failing,” Josh Clemence, parent company Acumen’s brand manager at the time, told Racked. “We had a lot of product that we could essentially give away.”
“We said hey, let’s use this excess inventory as part of the marketing cost to gain customers as fast as possible,” Clemence recalled to the fashion website. “We had to get rid of the boots somehow anyways, so we were either gonna sit on it…”
After all, “people love free stuff,” he added to the website.
The company gave away boots through a weekly giveaway, which could be entered by voting for a pair of shoes on Facebook (provided voters entered their email).
Racked says this cycle repeated weekly, and helped the company gain more fans and likes on Facebook. The brand currently has 6.6 million likes.
“It was a different day on Facebook than it is now,” Stephanie McCratic of Acumen explained to Racked.
“Facebook didn’t have any barriers, or really any rules,” Clemence said to the website, “so we could easily pay to be in front of as many people as we wanted.”
Scroll through any of Country Outfitter’s Facebook posts and you can see the strategy helped the brand acquire plenty of fans, but also many dissenters (“you are a parasite” reads one comment). From a product and customer service perspective, the Yelp reviews are noticably poor.
Recently, Acumen and Country Outfitter have shown signs of struggle. Country Outfitter closed its flagship location in Fayetteville closed last month after opening in 2013. Prior to that, Northwest Arkansas Business Journal reported Acumen was undergoing restructuring, too.
Still, Nicholas Sammer of Acumen told Racked they “literally cannot keep [the top-selling boot] on the shelves.”
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