Speaking during a session at Drapers Fashion Forum on 12 October, held at London’s County Hall, Matchesfashion global customer experience director Ines Lareo said avoiding “silos” is critical in improving customer experience.
Challenges faced by retailers’ sales associates when trying to provide standout customer experiences included incomplete product knowledge, limited visibility of customer purchases and lack of intuitive tools, Matchesfashion’s marketing platform partner Proximity Insight has said.
1. Train staff to understand customer needs
A key aspect is providing teams with the information and tools they need to understand and meet individual customer expectations.
Lareo said: “We don’t work in silos. Everyone contributes to the experience that’s fundamental to the brand. The teams get a lot of training and the tools to realise this vision. It’s easy for us to say, ’yes, everyone wants experience’, but it’s about powering your teams to realise this. Information is key – how they can manage time and experience, and the training you provide to them in terms of expectations.
“More importantly, you can’t be customer-centric – you can’t expect every customer will get everything they need. One customer might want fast and furious 90-minute delivery on an item, but others might want to interact, or make an important purchase for a wedding or important presentation, so they want more time to try on more product. Your team needs to understand what each customer needs.”
2. Safeguard the business
Lareo also linked the importance of protecting customer data with the notion of shifting in-store engagement towards online, to build trust and interaction.
“Privacy is huge for us. Obviously we collect data from 100% of our online customers but customers also give us their contact details in stores. We work to the highest level of protection, and we’re now helping all our suppliers and partners achieve the same level of security.”
Lareo added that customers at Matchesfashion stores are increasingly engaging with the retailer online, estimating that 400 emails per week sent to customers making a purchase have gained a 27% engaged response rate, which “is growing”.
3. Provide one experience
Lareo emphasised the importance of providing a consistent customer experience by blurring physical and digital journeys.
She said that vitally, sales associates can access purchase histories from tills and communicate through the retailer’s app while on the shop floor through iPads, which has enhanced customer relationships.
“Multichannel is a word that’s banned in the office. We see it more as customers being able to buy from us through key access points. Customers want to interact with the brand, so we don’t want to direct them into just one single channel,” she said.
“Our strategy looked at how we could personalise online and make it more physical; and the physical more digital. [Physical] stores are fundamental as the DNA and physical representation of the brand. It’s about bringing physicality into the customer experience, and how the learnings of these stores are passed to our digital [offering].”