Stepping into any Blue Tomato store, you can’t help but instantly feel the local spirit of the neighbourhood is as integral to the space as are the curated clothing racks, skateboard decks and vibrant shoe walls.
Part community hub, part retail shop, for more than 30 years, Blue Tomato has been outfitting thousands of customers across the globe with everything related to snowboarding, freeskiing, surfing, skateboarding and streetwear.
Headquartered in Austria, the beloved brand’s daily mission is to connect customers and brands with one another across more than 50 locations in five countries (Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland).
Despite more than three decades of doing this well, the global pandemic brought rapid changes not only to Blue Tomato, but also to the majority of retailers around the world.
We asked Teresa Kral, Blue Tomato’s digital marketing and retail coordinator for the brand’s local stores, how she managed changes to opening hours caused by lockdowns — and responses to reviews during a year when traditional retailers continue to close stores, under competitive and margin pressure.
But first . . . why Uberall?
The marketing team at Blue Tomato needed a tool that could transmit all their local store information to Google, Facebook and all the other platforms where their customers are — so they didn’t have to do this manually.
The team chose Uberall, and Teresa uses Listings and Reviews to monitor all the locations from their headquarters in Austria, while the individual store managers across Europe use it to adjust hours and to answer reviews.
The store managers are empowered to do this because they may remember or know the customer who left the review and they can react in a more individual way than Teresa can from the headquarter without knowing the customer.
The stores responding to reviews allows Blue Tomato to communicate in a more personal way.
Keeping Customers Informed and Engaged During the Pandemic
How has review management helped you mitigate customer complaints and negative reviews (especially about incorrect opening hours/location closures)?
Teresa Kral: Since Google deactivated the reviews during the hard lockdown, we didn’t really have problems with complaints or negative reviews.
But the few that came in helped us to find and correct mistakes faster since we get weekly update information about the reviews that come in.
Do you use Reviews to connect with your customers on social media platforms?
TK: We use Reviews for the Google Postings, which is a great tool to show customers a visual image directly in Google Search.
You can adapt the post for each shop/country which was good during the corona crisis since shop closings were different regarding the location of the shop.
This way we were able to adapt the posts to the different needs of the shops and countries.
Do you find you save a lot of time because you can automatically update your listings information online?
TK: Definitely! We don’t have to go on 10 different platforms and change information. We can rely on Uberall to send out new information automatically.
Especially with the function to export excel files and to just fill in the info that’s the same for every shop and upload it to Uberall again.
Have any of your KPIs been positively influenced by using Listings and Reviews. If yes, which ones?
TK: Our reviews get answered more often, since we have a better overview on what is coming in and we can analyze the reviews better, to improve our processes in the shops and therefore; therefore our customers' experiences.
How has your customer satisfaction and loyalty increased through Reviews?
TK: Every shop team handles their customer reviews themselves because they are closest to the customers and know what the review is about. This way we try to maximize the satisfaction and loyalty of our customers because we act as local as possible.