Luxury jewelry retailer reaping big rewards with interactive touchscreen deployment
It's been nearly one year since luxury jewelry retailer Monica Rich Kosann deployed interactive touchscreens at its New York City storefront, housed within The Shops at Columbus Circle, and the customer experience is as invigorating and rewarding for shoppers and the retailer as it was on day one.
The personalized assisted selling technology from Elo, which enhances interaction between sales associates and customers, is driving a modern and personalized shopping experience and offers an expanded inventory reach beyond what's displayed within the store.
"At our Monica Rich Kosann store at The Shops at Columbus Circle, we pride ourselves on elegant and timeless jewelry, and I wanted to make sure that same sophistication is reflected in the way we display and sell our products," Monica Rich Kosann CEO Rod Kosann shared in an email interview with RetailCustomerExperience.
"Shoppers can not only see the entire line, but they can personalize pieces like our signature lockets and compare how different metals, designs and photos would look on their finished pieces. That makes our jewelry as well as our shopping experience itself so much more unique and customized," he added.
Since inception, the Elo technology is exceeding both traffic and sales projections significantly, said Kosann.
"But beyond that, we constantly hear positive comments about the overall shopping encounter. The personalized aspect of the experience can't be underestimated. It's really what our brand is all about.," he said.
Why retailers are embracing a personal shopping experience
Such digital technology is something consumers want and are expecting in the retail segment, Kosann noted.
"Consumers are savvy. Not only are they used to browsing and shopping online, they expect a more rewarding and personal shopping experience. And the screens are much more than a utilitarian tool. They can bring a richer and more engaging experience and ultimately bring customers closer to the merchandise," he said.
The interactive Elo touchscreens facilitate hands-on shopping between customers and associates, and put the brand's full inventory at customers' fingertips via the touchscreens' in-store e-commerce capabilities. Shoppers can personalize their signature Monica Rich Kosann lockets, comparing how different metals, designs and photos would look on their finished pieces.
The Elo technology may be the luxury jeweler's first foray into digital customer experience solutions, but given the success, it won't be its last, said Kosann.
"We look forward to using touchscreens and interactive technology as we expand our stores and our business and incorporating them into our new stores, including at our flagship store at Bergdorf Goodman. We're very pleased with the results so far and expect to apply what we're learning in our other stores," he shared.
Success tied to a bevy of strategy aspects
Such innovative customer experience tools are helping brick-and-mortar retailers compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace given ecommerce in retail and the trend toward converging online and in-store selling, explained Luke Wilwerding, director of retail solutions at Elo
Monica Rich Kosann's success with the Elo deployment is tied to several factors that came into play long before the technology was deployed.
"Before investing in interactive technology, it's important to set business goals to help determine the kind of digital signage you need. If it's to generate more foot traffic, consider large-format screens with engaging visuals. If it's to streamline operations, consider upgrading your existing point of sale. In Monica Rich Kosann's case, it was to create a better customer experience by blending the best of both online and in-store," said Wilwerding.
The luxury jeweler did its "homework" in crafting a strategy for driving an enhanced in-store customer experience, shared Kosann.
"To be successful, you need know your customer, how they interact with your product and how they'll interact with the technology. You also need to be clear about your own goals," he said, adding "We thought carefully about how we wanted to engage our customer, what it would look like, how it would flow, and how our sales associates would use the touchscreens."
A critical aspect was ensuring that sales associates were at ease with the technology, and that meant spending time and resources on necessary training.
"While the technology is easy to use, make sure you take time to ensure everyone is comfortable with the tools and what they can do," advised Kosann.
The misconceptions retailers may have on interactive tools
Many retailers, said Wilwerding, often have misconceptions about interactive technologies, from believing they are too complicated to too expensive.
"Today your responsive website ecommerce experience needs to be effective in connecting those channels with little added development or expense," he said. "If it's just flashy or for show, it doesn't have ROI — you're connecting one of your largest growth channels (ecommerce) to in-store and enabling employees to be responsive and knowledgeable by allowing them to answer questions through web experience and support."
Other retailers may erroneously view such solutions as just self-service technology.
"In many cases, digital signage can lead to an assisted sale and upselling. It cans also act as a training tool for employees," added Wilwerding.
He offered up several best practices for technology deployment, and one of the first is setting business goals.
"If it's to generate more foot traffic, consider large-format screens with engaging visuals. If it's to streamline operations, consider upgrading your existing point of sale," he explained, noting that in Monica Rich Kosann's case, it was to create a better customer experience by blending the best of both online and in-store.
"One common mistake is that some retailers will invest in interactive technology before making sure the store's website is optimized for this kind of experience. Ensuring that it's functional and well-designed will help get the installation off to a great start and make a good first impression on customers," he said.
Topics: Assisted Selling, Consumer Behavior, CRM, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Employee Training, In-Store Media, Interactive / Touchscreen, Marketing, Merchandising, Mobile Retail, Omnichannel / Multichannel, Online Retailing, Shopper Marketing, Specialty Stores, Technology
Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.www