By Barb Paszyn

The Bay.

What comes to mind when you think of this brand?

I’ve conducted a lot of marketing research regarding The Bay and “traditional” is a word that often comes up during word association activities. Of course, traditional could be a bad or good association depending on how consumers use the word.

For The Bay, this common descriptor isn’t necessarily a bad association. It does have some clout. For example, The Bay is known for its wedding registry and when I was happily tasked with setting up a registry for myself and my fiancé, I thought of The Bay right away. However, after going through the experience, I created a brand new association – “great customer service.” The Bay made my overall experience simple and enjoyable.

The great customer service started from the very first day. Immediately after registering, a customer service representative called me and booked an appointment at my preferred HBC retail location. Once at my appointment, another customer service representative carefully explained the process and helped my fiancé and I choose the items that would best suit our needs.

And this great customer service continued right through to the very end when I went to The Bay to close down and “buy out” my registry. After a wonderful bridal shower with my friends and family, some of whom used my HBC registry to purchase the perfect gifts, I had a lot of money and gift cards to spend. Like any smart business, The Bay was more than happy to help me spend it wisely.

An associate at The Bay enlisted herself as my own personal shopper (granted – I was lucky because she was available and the store was empty … helpful tip: go about 1 to 2 hours before they’re about to close on a weekday). She helped me gather all of the remaining items on our registry.

Now, not only do I think of The Bay as a “traditional” store, I also think of it as a store that has great customer service.

What can we learn from the HBC marketing strategy?

Going above and beyond your customers’ expectations helps. It creates positive experiences and potentially increases recommendations.

I didn’t expect anyone to call me when I signed up for the bridal registry – it was a great personal touch.

Nor did I expect to benefit from my own personal shopper. Their client-centric strategy was perfect and I trusted their recommendations.

Not surprisingly, The Bay wowed me. And ever since my experience, I have been recommending HBC to my friends, many of whom are also entering the prime life stages of getting engaged and starting families. The tradition continues.