Retail Insider Awards – Meet the ‘Multi-channel Experience of the Year’ shortlist

Retail Insider recently announced the shortlist for its ‘Transforming Retail Awards’ and over the next few weeks we will be focusing on each of the six categories in the awards.  For each we will be providing a profile of each of the shortlisted entries.

Best Multi-channel Experience of the Year (sponsored by Bond Dickinson)

1. Farfetch ‘Store of the Future’ platform

Farfetch, the fashion retailer, has developed an operating system for stores-based retailers to help them create a much more digitally-focused multi-channel eco-system. The ‘Store of the Future’ platform links the online and offline worlds, with data running seamlessly between the channels.

Underpinning the platform is the ability for brands and boutiques to collect information on how their customers are behaving, including browsing, when they are in-store in exactly the same way that they collect data from their actions online, including product searches.

The identifier used across the channels is the ‘Universal log-in’ via the Farfetch app, which involves shoppers opting-in to data sharing. This then means shoppers are notifying the retailer that they are engaging with them both in-store and online. For instance, when a customer visits the store there will be a notification alerting employees of this fact and from this they can access information on the customer and use this to tailor the experience.

The modular approach taken by Farfetch with Store of the Future enables brands and boutiques to pick and choose the elements of the platform that best suits their business and their ambitions. The key elements include:

  • Connected clothing rail, which enables any products picked up to be automatically added to a customers’ in-store wish-list.
  • Digital changing room whereby the mirror can show the wish-list or recently browsed products, which can then be selected in chosen sizes and colours for trying on.
  • Much more informed sale associates who can curate recommendations for customers based on information collected on them such as previous purchases, browsing history, and any preferences they have earlier expressed.

The Store of the Future platform is being initially introduced into the Farfetch-owned department store Brown’s in central London and then into Thom Browne stores afterwards.


2. GoInStore

GoInStore bridges the gap between offline and online experiences, connecting website visitors with available in-store experts, using a live video stream with two-way audio. By creating an in-store experience for online customers, GoInStore drives conversion rates, AOVs and leverages retailers’ physical presence.

GoInStore connects your most valuable online customers to the people who know best: your in-store experts. The service calls on a retailer’s global network of stores to seamlessly match customers with the very best product expert to suit their needs, maximising customer satisfaction and increasing conversion rates.

What’s more, GoInStore integrates with a retailer’s analytics platform to record conversions that occur following interactions with the service. The result is that we can attribute online sales to in–store members of staff, acting as an incentive for collaboration between Retail and Ecommerce teams. It also means that we can put a real business value on the increase in productivity of in-store staff who use GoInStore to sell to online customers during quieter moments in the store.

By merging the channels, GoInStore creates a consistent experience for customers whether they are braving the high street or engaging via GoInStore from the comfort of their home, office or on the move.

Clients using GoInStore span verticals from fashion (Axel Arigato) to Consumer Electronics (Maplin), Furniture (DFS Netherlands), Musical Instruments (Thomann) and Automotive (Porsche), as well as non-retail applications in Property and Hospitality (Marriott Hotels).


3. Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay

Starbucks continues to set the benchmark for seamlessly integrating the mobile and in-store experience through its massively popular Mobile Order & Pay, which allows members of its Rewards programme who have downloaded the app to order their drinks and pay via their mobile device and then collect from store.

This is now available around the world and accounts for around 7% of all Starbucks orders in the company’s home US market. In terms of transactions, mobile accounted for 27% in the first quarter of 2017.

Such is the popularity of this multi-channel way to engage with Starbucks that it has opened a dedicated mobile order & pay store at its Seattle headquarters. It would not be a massive step for such a model to be rolled out into the mainstream market.

This painless way to purchase products is building the Starbucks customer base, according to Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks, who said: “Starbucks is engaging more deeply – and more frequently – and expanding its base of loyal customers faster and more consistently today than ever before.”

Mobile Order & Pay is certainly contributing towards this, said Kevin Johnson, COO of Starbucks: “The overwhelming success of Mobile Order & Pay has increased rewards and created efficiencies at Point-of-Sale.”

The ability to order and pay remotely and then collect in-store in a frictionless manner is resonating with coffee drinkers around the world and has resulted in 33% of the customers that pay by mobile doing so via Mobile Order & Pay.

Starbucks has continued to develop the functionality of its Mobile Order & Pay solution, with the latest progression being My Starbucks Barista. This enables customers to order and pay for their food and drink just by speaking in a conversational exchange into their device. This functionality has also been added as a reorder ‘skill’ on Amazon’s Alexa whereby customers can simply ask for their usual preferred item and it is then automatically ordered.