By Kayla Hutzler
August 22, 2011
Luxury brands can significantly increase their CRM and deepen customer relationships by enabling employees to use mobile devices and applications in-store.
Brands that implement a mobile strategy for their employees have the ability to cater directly to each customer’s needs and increase customer retention. Mobile is becoming the best way for luxury brands to deliver superior experiences since affluent consumers expect a higher quality of service for the high price-points they are paying.
“Brands should use mobile in the store to help the salespeople collect and use data to create relationships,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, New York.
“Say the store is empty, employees can use the mobile device to send recent customers information and deals and offer to make them an in-store appointment,” he said.
“Every employee with a mobile device can be far more effective at creating customer relationships.”
Check it out
Luxury brands can use mobile in-store in a variety of different ways that increase the salesperson’s ability to better serve each customer.
“The mobile medium is particularly effective when used as an extension of the luxury sales associate that is capable of synchronizing the on-premise and off-premise experience with the brand,” said Scott Forshay, Dallas-based director of mobile strategy at Morpheus Media, a Createthe Group company.
Mobile devices can be effective for checking inventory without leaving the customer’s side and can also allow salespeople to easily order the item to the store or direct the customer to a nearby retailer that has the product in-stock.
By providing employees with detailed product information at their fingertips, they immediately become experts on every luxury good in the store.
In addition, the salesperson can show the interested consumer any videos or campaigns relating to the product.
Mobile apps can allow salespeople to seamlessly make a transaction without having a customer wait on a register line.
Furthermore, mobile devices can allow salespeople to look up a returning customer so that they can access spending habits and offer appropriate product suggestions.
If a customer chooses to share details such as family members and important dates, employees can also cater direct marketing approaches revolving around birthdays and anniversaries.
“Luxury brands, by and large, are highly personalized, deeply consultative and fanatically service-oriented,” Mr. Forshay said.
“Brands should use the mobile medium in ways that accentuate what makes them, by definition, luxurious,” he said. “It is this innovation that luxury shoppers expect from the brands they most covet.”
Lighting the way
Brands such as Nordstrom, Benefit Cosmetics and Burberry along with many luxury hotels are already using the iPad to increase CRM.
For example, luxury department store chain Nordstrom recently revealed plans to start using iPod touch devices to quickly and effectively help customers check-out and find products in-store.
In addition, Benefit Cosmetics is using an in-store-only iPad app that educates users about services and products through videos, reviews and comparisons, as well as serving as an in-store shopping assistant.
Also, Burberry used the iPad in-store to let VIP customers view a livestream of the Fall 2011 runway and immediately pre-order the items.
Furthermore luxury hotels are using the iPad to help with traveler check-in as well as with concierge and in-room services.
The St. Regis hotel in New York’s e-butler app acts as a virtual concierge for hotel guests, allowing them to browse restaurant, shopping and event suggestions as well as make reservations through the app.
Taking it one step further, The Plaza hotel in New York implemented a digital concierge service that allows guests to order room service, book spa appointments, contact a concierge and make dinner reservations through in-room televisions, laptops and iPads.
Overall, mobile usage in-store is all about increasing CRM and providing a luxurious shopping experience.
“CRM is absolutely critical, especially when there is a fear of an economic downturn,” Luxury Institute’s Mr. Pedraza said.
“Companies that have consumer data and the ability to go out there and build a relationship have an advantage over companies that have no data and are going to have to resort to deep discounts,” he said.