Nine West's Big Plans to Bridge the Online and In-Store Experience

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
The fashion retailer is leveraging technology to help associates better assist customers and personalize its in-store experience.

Customers have become accustomed to the personalized interactions they get with brands online. Technology is allowing organizations to truly understand their clients, using browsing and purchasing history to deliver a relevant experience whenever they visit their websites.

However, for many organizations, these highly personalized interactions don't go beyond their online properties. While a customer may get targeted recommendations and is even welcomed by name when he visits a company's site, many times he's a virtual unknown when stepping foot into the same brand's brick-and-mortar stores.

Nine West wanted to solve this challenge and to make sure that customers who visit the footwear and apparel retailer's website would get the same experience when they also enter one of the brand's numerous stores, creating a personalized and intimate connection between customers and associates. "We wanted to give customers the same feel and flavor of the brand that they get on the web," explains Michael Hines, vice president of ecommerce technology at The Jones Group, which owns Nine West. "Right now the web experience is bleeding into the retail experience. Customers are used to us knowing what they like and presenting them with stuff that is relevant but store associates don't know you when you're in a retail environment."

The company knew that technology would allow it to bridge the online and brick and mortar experience for its customers and last year joined forces with EachScape to develop an enterprise iPad app that would allow associates to better help customers with their purchases. For example, associates can quickly lookup items that aren't available in the store and order them for customers.

The app provides easy access to internal tools, including retail store layouts and training materials. Hines notes that the company sends a lot of information to its Nine West stores globally to help associates improve upon their jobs. "We wanted to save the effort and the paper," he explains. Instead, all the information, including lookbooks that can assist associates in helping customers choose an outfit, are available through the app.

While Nine West items are available in several department stores, the app enables the company to tailor the customer and brand experience for its customers in the stores. In fact, the technology is already allowing Nine West to deliver an endless aisle experience to its customers, and the company has seen an increase in sales since it started using the app. Additionally, since the app's launch late last year, up to 75 percent of daily transactions in stores are being generated through this technology.

The next steps will see the retailer continue to leverage technology to deliver on customer expectations. Hines notes that in the future the company wants to have a system in place that allows customers to self-identify themselves when they walk into a store, giving associates access to their browsing and purchase histories. He notes that self-identification is important since the organization doesn't want to appear intrusive, and giving associates access to customers' profiles will allow them to further tailor the experience specifically to their preferences.