At Tapestry, There’s More to a Designer Handbag Purchase Than Meets the Eye

Product Management leaders describe the collaboration and innovation that goes into delivering a seamless online shopping experience across the company’s retail brands.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on Dec. 08, 2023
At Tapestry, There’s More to a Designer Handbag Purchase Than Meets the Eye
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It’s mid-December, and a package has just been placed on your doorstep; its white plastic casing blending in with the light snowfall that has covered your front porch. 

But this isn’t an ordinary delivery. Inside of the carefully packed parcel lies a new designer handbag — a timeless fashion statement endorsed by celebrities and championed by leading designers. And now, it’s yours to give to someone else.  

This union between you and brand loyalty is far from happenstance. In truth, as you scrolled through Instagram that one evening searching for the perfect holiday gift to give your sister, and you stumbled upon an ad displaying the exact purse you just received in the mail, your consumer journey had begun. 

At Tapestry, the parent company of Coach, Kate Spade New York and Stuart Weitzman, product management team members spend their workdays mapping out this journey and continually enhancing it. And according to Senior Director of Product Management Abbie Torgerson, it all starts with understanding the customer’s intent. 

Before a customer even has a chance to click on an ad, Torgerson’s team must understand how to engage them, given how they’ve discovered the company’s product.  

“If she’s coming from social media, we’ll ask ourselves, ‘Are we feeding her additional social content? Are we showing her how a bag fits within her lifestyle through video? Are we playing around with the kind of gamification and animation that really lends itself to the social journey?’” Torgerson said. 

While many consumers discover Tapestry’s products through a social media platform, such as TikTok or Instagram, some take a different route. For instance, Torgerson explained, if a customer finds a handbag using a search engine, there’s a good chance that person is drawn to a specific product functionality. Perhaps it’s someone who needs a handbag that can fit a 15-inch laptop. 

Regardless of how and why a consumer is interested in one of Tapestry’s products, it’s essential to ensure that every customer is granted a frictionless shopping experience. 

“Everyone knows that when you’re trying to buy something and it’s very difficult, you may just give up, so that’s one thing we really focus on: creating a seamless and easy experience for the customer,” Director of Product Management Jimmy Daugherty said. 

To accomplish this, Daugherty and his teammates aim to provide every customer with the information they need, from item pricing to available promotions, while ensuring that different payment methods are available. This also means the company strives to meet customers where they are in a financial sense. 

“We realize that people sometimes want to buy things that they can’t pay for immediately, so we have a ‘buy now, pay later’ option, which helps customers spread the payment over multiple installments at no additional cost,” Senior Director of Product Management Deepak Chandak explained. 

The PM teams at Tapestry know there’s nothing like the real thing when it comes to in-person shopping, but by building a truly seamless e-commerce experience and embracing innovative technologies, Chandak explained, they bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar stores and online retail. 

“Our focus is to bridge those gaps so that customers can actually make a confident purchase,” Chandak said.

For those who join one of the company’s PM teams, this level of progress unlocks endless opportunities to own dynamic, exciting work while supporting iconic brands with global prominence. 

“You have that ability to be completely immersed in something from start to finish and to see your impact immediately,” Torgerson said. 

 

EMPATHY MEETS BUSINESS ACUMEN

While there are many traits that define a successful PM team member, for Chandak, the most important skill to have is empathy. “You’re going to be putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, so without empathy, you can’t really understand your customer or what they may be going through to solve their problems,” he said. Torgerson believes that this empathy also extends to internal stakeholders, as PM team members often engage with individuals across other teams when developing the customer experience. “You need to be able to communicate very clearly with them and understand their point of view,” she said.  

For Daugherty, having strong business acumen is essential to thrive on one of Tapestry’s PM teams. “It’s important for team members to understand that the experiences they build must have business value, whether that’s cost savings or increased revenue,” Daugherty said, adding that it’s also important for individuals to be eager to analyze a large amount of data. “We have so much information coming at us, and they need to know how to dissect what it means and what it’s telling us.”

 

 

Tapestry
Tapestry

 

The Keys to Continuous Improvement

At Tapestry, data speaks. 

What does it have to say? Chandak said it can be many things, from a positive comment on one of their brand’s sites to feedback describing the friction a customer experienced during the shopping process. 

It can also take the form of a customer returning their items, which is an area the company’s PM teams are focusing on. By uncovering the reasons why a customer is returning a product, Chandak explained, the teams may recognize that there isn’t enough information available surrounding a certain item. 

“We want to identify those gaps and provide those details so that future customers aren’t encountering the same challenges,” he said. 

With so much information to dive into, the PM teams take part in weekly business reviews, where team members come together to understand what customers truly want and identify pattern shifts or trends. According to Daugherty, once customer pain points have been identified, the teams will sit down with the user experience department to craft a solution. 

He added that the PM teams will then move into the testing cycle, during which team members will test out improvements and validate them through low-fidelity prototypes before moving into site testing. Ultimately, successful tests then become new features, therefore finalizing the optimization process. 

In Torgerson’s mind, using low-fidelity prototypes is essential to the effectiveness of Tapestry’s testing program, as it offers them direct access to customers’ individual mindsets and approaches to product engagement. 

“We have them give us direct feedback on how they might navigate a certain prototype, and then we use that to build experiences directly for them,” she said. 

 

KEEPING UP WITH CONSUMER TRENDS

The teams at Tapestry recognize that people’s attention spans are getting shorter, with fewer people interested in scrolling through long text online. That’s why Torgerson and her teammates strive to give customers the information they need upfront in a quick, effective manner. “We’ve learned a lot from TikTok regarding how information is getting shared, so we’re thinking more about our product detail page and how we’re using that first onload area to communicate that experience without the customer having to really do anything,” she said. “We’re really maximizing that window we have with the customer.”

 

Tapestry
Tapestry

 

Innovation on an International Scale

Understanding customers’ unique needs is important for the PM teams at Tapestry, considering the company’s customer base is spread across the United States, Europe and Asia.

For Daugherty, this global footprint makes the work he and his peers do doubly exciting, as it offers them the chance to identify cultural nuances in customer behavior. 

“For instance, we’re learning that our customers in Asia are way different than our U.S. customers in terms of what they expect from a functionality standpoint on the website,” he said. “We’re learning all that stuff as we go — and to me, that’s really cool.”

Torgerson added that as PM team members grow their understanding of the consumer journey, they have the chance to directly drive effective outcomes. With this sense of autonomy, she and her teammates get to wear many different hats throughout the workday, which is an element of her job she especially enjoys. 

“I personally love that I get to work across all different types of disciplines and speak multiple ‘languages’ daily,” Torgerson said, noting that on any given day, she may talk to brand partners, engineers, creative designers and, occasionally, real customers in a research panel.  

I personally love that I get to work across all different types of disciplines and speak multiple ‘languages’ daily.” 

 

Relying on frequent collaboration and communication, PM team members at Tapestry are constantly searching for ways to add life to online shopping. For example, Chandak noted that the company leverages various technologies to make for a more innovative e-commerce experience — such as True Fit, which helps online shoppers decide on which shoe size to purchase based on their existing footwear collection. 

By focusing on finding ways to blend in-person and online retail experiences, Tapestry PMs get to help establish a new e-commerce standard that puts greater power in the hands of consumers. 

 

 

Like what you read about the work at Tapestry? Explore open opportunities! The Tapestry internship program jobs are now live.  

Responses have been edited for length and clarity, Images provided by Tapestry, Inc.

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