Nurturing customer relationships has become crucial for companies that want to remain ahead of their competition in today's weak economy. Because consumers are the backbone for future success, brands must continuously evolve their customer engagement techniques in order to provide the optimal customer experience and renew satisfaction levels during each interaction. But for Perry Ellis International, an enhanced customer experience initiative means turning the average approach upside down.
While most companies focus on establishing the 360-degree view of their customers, Perry Ellis has implemented mobile point of sale technologies that allow the company to bring the 360-degree experience right to their brick-and-mortar patrons. Many brands now recognize the average consumer's multichannel journey across touchpoints throughout the purchase process, yet most focus on collecting and analyzing the incoming data in order to target their efforts based upon how customers choose to interact. Perry Ellis, however, has infused its brick-and-mortar retail stores with the ability to swiftly bounce between channels and achieve high satisfaction levels.
"As a company, we always work to improve the customer's engagement in order to provide the best shopping experience possible," says Luis Paez, CIO at Perry Ellis International. By implementing the Starmount Connect and Engage platform, the apparel and accessories retailer plans to bring mPOS technology to their associates in all 45 Perry Ellis locations nationwide. The pilot program, which set the stage for this chainwide integration, equipped sales associates from the 17 top-selling retail locations with iPads to enable a higher level of customer service. The technology went live just before Black Friday, allowing employees to test the platform's ability to enhance the busiest shopping days of the year.
"First, instead of adding an additional register to our larger stores over the holidays, we were able to provide multiple mobile POS devices for line busting," Paez notes. "Second, it allowed Perry Ellis to get feedback on the use of the mobile device in the stores before rolling out company wide. This feedback has helped to guide Perry Ellis in the direction of our continued development, training, and rollout of the mobile solution in order to make sure this project is a success."
Initially, these iPads were intended to streamline the checkout process and manage transactions via the mobile application provided by the Starmount platform. However, this mPOS technology also allows associates to combat the biggest challenge facing brick-and-mortar stores today-showrooming. Employees are no longer tied to their cash registers, allowing them to interact with customers on the floor and provide relevant, timely assistance without ever leaving the customer's side.
"During the rollout to the initial 17 stores, the use of the mobile POS device was almost second nature to the store associates and proved even easier than our initial thoughts," says Mark Colbert, director of retail systems at Perry Ellis International. "These mobile devices allowed the store associate to leave the cash wrap and engage the customer anywhere in the store and throughout the transaction."
These mobile touch devices empower employees to engage with customers across the buying cycle by putting every channel right at their fingertips. This customer-centric engagement initiative's primary goal lies in providing customers with a 360-degree shopping experience and view of the brand. Customers can access product and price information, ratings and reviews, and item recommendations based on their personal taste and preferred styles. This strategy helps ensure each shopper has a memorable, relevant shopping experience, all without ever needing to leave the store to complete her journey.
"This will empower the store associate to provide a much higher level of service to the customer and a more consultative sale," Colbert highlights.
Educated and empowered, sales associates can pull up side-by-side product comparisons on their device, check the store's inventory, and fulfill out-of-stock orders by accessing cross-store and cross-channel data to locate and ship the right item to the customer's door. By never needing to leave the customer's side, they also reduce the need for numerous cash registers, thereby using the added space to display even more merchandise in-store. By bringing every channel together within brick-and-mortar retail locations, Perry Ellis puts all relevant information within the customer's reach, increasing engagement and improving satisfaction. This approach also has the potential to rescue the brick-and-mortar world by boosting sales, breathing new life into the in-store experience.