How to improve digital experiences to match the personal service offered in-store.
The Coronavirus pandemic has transformed sales associates into digital stylists — communicating with and selling to housebound shoppers via WeChat and Instagram. Neiman Marcus introduced an app connecting its 4,500 store associates with personal shopping clients. Gucci launched Gucci Live, a video-consultation service operated out of a studio designed to mimic a shop.
Firms which implemented clienteling 2.0 saw sales rise by 10% to 15% (BCG). The pandemic heralded in an unprecedented change in consumers’ shopping habits and accelerated the shift to online buying. McKinsey estimates the online share of fashion and apparel sales will grow by 20% to 40% over the next year. To capitalise on these changes, brands must find ways to improve the digital shopping experience. One key way to do that is to focus on personal shopping.
Personal shopping allows brands to interact directly with consumers, enabling them to build and strengthen relationships and influence purchases. BCG reports that firms which had implemented “clienteling 2.0” saw their sales rise by 10% to 15%. Personal shoppers allow brands to receive feedback from customers on their likes and dislikes, creating a treasure-trove of actionable data. Much is lost amid back-and-forth texting, but properly harnessed, these exchanges can offer valuable insights into consumer preferences and purchasing habits.
Redeploying existing sales associates makes the barriers to participating low. For retailers with established personal shopping departments, customers are used to texting their stylists, ensuring an easy transition to digital-only. Whether brands decide to implement personal shopping at scale or reserve it for big spenders, digital solutions allow them to make effective use of data and take clienteling to the next level. The best experiences will blend human connections with inspirational storytelling, giving clients a taste of being back in-store.
3 tips to implement an effective strategy:
- Put the data to work: Don’t let data languish in the back office. Give sales associates real-time access to insights enabling them to better serve customers and hit sales targets.
- Align the customer journey: Personal shopping customers often interact only with their stylist. Integrate personal shopping into your brand’s omnichannel journey to give clients multiple opportunities to engage with your brand.
- Start conversations at scale: Ensure sales associates can send out targeted, measurable marketing campaigns, as well as communicate with clients one-to-one. This will help build relationships at scale.