Product: Boa lacing system, a cable- and dial-based shoelace replacement
Footwear brands: The North Face, Vasque, Specialized
According to Garett Graubins, marketing manager for Boa Technology, the hang-tag policy at the Denver-based company has been under review since day one. “[In the past], we used them to get our message out — we’re a small company, we don’t have the luxury of assuming people know who we are,” he said. However, the company learned that retailers trying to unclutter their shoe walls were snipping hang tags off displays. So while 90 percent of Boa’s clients use its tags, Graubins said, the company knew shoppers might not be seeing all the features listed on the tag until after purchase.
To adapt, Boa has taken a two-pronged approach. It has been working with its footwear partners to print its message elsewhere on the shoe — on the tongue, inside the upper, on stickers on the sole — to get the name out before sale. The other response, Graubins said, was to adapt the hang tag to be a post-sale tool. Now, the tags focus on reiterating the product features and reinforcing the branding, as well as detailing the company’s lifetime guarantee.
Product: Rubber compounds used in outsoles that provide grip, flexibility and abrasion resistance
Footwear brands: La Sportiva, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ugg
For Italian outsole maker Vibram, the hang tag has one main goal: getting people to check the company out online. “The hang tag is a useful tool to communicate to consumers, but we have dozens of high-performance rubbers, so it’s probably not the best space to communicate the details. We believe our Website is the best place,” said Lawrence Anastasi, sales and marketing manager. Despite the forward-looking marketing strategy, the company’s tags have a distinctly old-fashioned look. “We want to communicate that it’s an authentic product with long history and heritage,” Anastasi said.
Going forward, Anastasi said the company is looking at new directions for the hang tags. One idea is a call to action, such as a contest or other incentive to drive people to the Website (and give Vibram a sense of how effective its tags are in reaching its customer).
And while the hang tags are used by about 99 percent of Vibram’s footwear customers, the company does have options for those who prefer not to use them: It makes the same product information available to be printed on the box or elsewhere around the product.