Frank & Oak gets personal

The men's clothier is taking the hunt out of shopping, creating curated collections of clothing based on customer's request.

Menswear retailer Frank & Oak launched a new style advisor service Tuesday, part of its continued push to offer personalized service to its target market of mid-20s males.

The Select personal style advisor service is available for both its online Hunt Club paid annual membership customers and visitors to its two permanent bricks-and-mortar locations in Toronto and Montreal.

The service involves two basic steps – a brief questionnaire where users create a profile based on how they define their style, and questions around what they need at the moment (such as work outfits or more relaxed, casual clothing).

Frank & Oak then ships three to five clothing items to the shopper, who then has five days to try on the clothes and pay for what they keep.

Users can later update their answers to get new clothing sent to them, and nothing is shipped without first being requested.

Offline, shoppers can fill out their questionnaires, then book time with an in-store style advisor to receive options.

About a year ago, the brand launched a live-chat feature where users could contact one of the shop’s style advisors to ask about particulars around clothing fit, or which items pair well.

Based on that, the retailer noticed that their target customer was asking for more recommendations about his purchases. “He’s actually looking to Frank & Oak to help him choose the best products for him,” says Ethan Song, co-founder and CEO of Frank & Oak.”I would say personal service has always been one of the pillars of the kind of experience we want to provide customers.”

The typical shopping experience involves sifting through racks and racks of clothing – or pages and pages of a website, he notes. “In our case, we wanted the experience of shopping to be as valuable as the actual products you’re buying.”

Audrey Carr, VP of strategy at Razorfish (formerly Nurun) has studied the shopping habits of men, and found that guys are very mission focused (that is they hunt for a specific item to fulfill a need) and really prefer curation to sifting through racks of clothes.

“One of the frustrating things guys brought up, especially if you’re a frequent online shopper, is, ‘They know who I am, they know what I bought. Why don’t they show me a selection of three T-shirts they think go with those jeans, instead of forcing me to browse the entire catalogue of 30 different T-shirts?’” she says.

With files from Megan Haynes