What I would do if I was the PM: Bonobos

In this format, I share my perspective on Product Management using a concrete example. Today, I focus on Bonobos as I outline my research driven approach to product.

Who and what is Bonobos?

In 2007, Bonobos was launched as an exclusively online retailer by Andy Dunn and Brian Spaly. Bonobos offers men’s clothing and aims to differentiate itself on its cloths’ fit and the shopping experience (Bonobos’ ninjas).

Since 2007, Bonobos has raised a total of $127M and added brick and mortar stores to help customers know their sizes. Bonobos was later bought by Walmart for $310M.

Photo by David Paschke on Unsplash

Who is Bonobos’ target audience?

Based on Bonobos brand promise, their desired customer segment is male, younger and after a fashionable look.

Bonobos is looking to deliver the perfect fit for men of different sizes and with different tastes: they offer their products in numerous specifications — such as 2,940 variations of one shirt (35 different colors, 7 sizes, 4 fits, and 3 lengths). As such, Bonobos is after less frequent shoppers that are looking to buy numerous executions of the same item.

This is not only great to build a loyal and returning customer base but it’s also good for business as it reduces the likelihood of returns (amongst other things).

So, what would I do if I was the PM?

I’m going to assume that Bonobos is continuing to focus on growing a satisfied customer base as it has reached product market fit.

Looking at customer reviews it’s evident that they are overwhelmingly positive.

As a customer myself, I’ll share my observation: I received the displayed email a couple of days ago. It tries to incentivize shopping by highlighting Bonobo’s current 60% off sale. In my experience, unfortunately few shirts were actually available in my size and at the reduced rate.

If I was the PM, I’d use the available data on customers’ sizes to send personalized emails with specific items to customers. My hypothesis is that this will not only help set better expectations with customers but also increase sales. To test the impact of this change, I’d recommend to conduct an A/B test and measure the number of items purchased in either condition.

Longer term, the personalized email could simultaneously result in higher customer satisfaction, more items sold, and higher retention.

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

What could be next for Bonobos?

Bonobos is in a great position to expand its unique operation to Europe and other geographies. With Walmart’s financial backing and its clear understanding of the male customer, Bonobos could bring its business to new geographies.

And it’d be surprising to see Bonobos experiment with women’s clothing as women’s clothing tends to require more fit, size and length options (compared to men’s clothing). With its online focussed business model, keeping returns to a minimum seems paramount.

Hey! If you found this post actionable or insightful, you can find more posts on my personal blog.



Research, insights and product leader | Public Speaker | Thinker

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Felix Rossmann

Research, insights and product leader | Public Speaker | Thinker