DSW Gives and Soles4Souls
Leading branded footwear and accessories retailer Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) has partnered with nonprofit Soles4Souls for ten years.
In 2019, the partnership kicked into high gear and grew into a more robust customer engagement effort under the DSW Gives platform.
The program originated with DSW turning to Soles4Souls to help solve a business problem. A study of DSW customers revealed that the number one reason people don’t buy new shoes is that they don’t have room in their closet.
Hence an idea was born: a program that encouraged customers to donate their gently-used shoes to earn 50 points in DSW’s loyalty program. The donation boxes were also open to the general public. The partnership with Soles4Souls could keep unwanted shoes from going to waste and filling landfills, and instead put them to good use by funneling them to micro-entrepreneurs in countries like Haiti and Honduras.
To achieve this goal, DSW provided an outlet in all of its retail locations for customers to donate their used shoes and in turn, receive VIP points to use towards future DSW purchases.
Customers were also given the option to donate 2% of their purchases to Soles4Souls and were offered a sweepstake to win a trip to the Dominican Republic with Soles4Souls to see the work they do first-hand – the first time a benefit of this kind reached the consumer level in Soles4Souls’ history.
In addition, a first-of-its-kind Charity Pop Up Shop was set up in SoHo, New York over a weekend in the middle of the holiday season. The Shop allowed customers to visually see the impact their donations could have through photos, graphics and testimonials.
Since the program launched, DSW customers have donated more than 2 million pairs of gently-used shoes and the give-back program has positively impacted foot traffic and sales at DSW stores. The shoes routed to micro-entrepreneurs in countries like Haiti and Honduras can provide a full years of for, shelter and education for over 2,200 families.