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Shopping is evolving. Consumers now experience brands across channels: they may be introduced to a brand on social media, try on its products at a store, and then make a purchase online. Or, they may browse online and then pick-up an item in-person. For retailers, that means a sale can happen anywhere, at any time.
This week on The BoF Podcast, our retail correspondent Cathaleen Chen is joined by Adam Levene, founder of digital customer service platform Hero; Elyse Walker, boutique and concept store owner; and Dan Schoening, Nordstrom’s vice president of business strategy and operations to discuss how retailers can service customers in a way that creates a seamless, individualised experience across retail channels.
Beyond conversions, a strong digital strategy can serve as a way to get customers into a store and foster further engagement, according to Levene. “It’s all about giving that customer that comfort, and that desire and reason to actually head into store, having that confidence knowing the item will be there, it’s going to be in their size, and they can be greeted by the stylists they connected with online,” says Levene.
Convenience can actually drive business efficiency. Nordstrom links inventory across all markets, so that “customers have access to all that product, way more choice, and way more control around how they get it,” says Schoening. Then, the company provides easy access points for pick-up and returns, which, in turn, allows Nordstrom to get merchandise back into its ecosystem to sell again.
Building a lasting relationship with customers is essential to success. To do so, retailers should have store associates focus on building trust with kindness and authenticity. “If you pressure your sales team to hit certain numbers and it’s not authentic and it’s not organic, you might have a good day, but that hurts the long-term potential of your business,” says Walker.