Jamie Finer, head of omnichannel experience at Karen Millen, talks about how the premium womenswear retailer is evolving its digital approach and boosting its delivery proposition.
Why is it important for retailers to have a joined-up approach between their digital offering and physical stores?
Historically, retailers have thought of digital as purely ecommerce and ended up with a conflict between their digital offer and stores. What we want to do is make the website a digital touchpoint that really reflects the brand. We know that 70% of visitors to the website are coming to research before going into a store to buy and 11% are coming for traditional ecommerce, which sends a really powerful message out to stores about how important the web-to-store journey is.
What new services is Karen Millen offering its customers online?
There are a few new omnichannel functions. As well as being able to check which stores have a certain product in stock, there’s a filter that allows them to see which products are in stock at their local store. We have the traditional filters – colour, size, price – but by putting in their postcode and selecting their store of choice, customers can now see what’s available in their preferred store.
We know that 70% of visitors to the website are coming to research before going into a store to buy
We’re rolling out in-store ordering and we’ll be launching a one-day click-and-collect service. We have real-time stock availability across our system, which in the future we’ll use to introduce click-and-collect express, so customers can collect their parcels within two hours. Whether it’s online or in store, it’s about making sure however a customer wants to order something, she can.
How have you ensured stores will be able to handle the new functions?
There has been extensive training. We’ve picked “super-users”, who are digital champions from each store and will go on to help train other members of the teams. They can be from any level from within the store – it’s about picking people with a thirst for digital. We’ve also been doing roadshows, where I’ve been out to talk about why omnichannel is so important.
How is Karen Millen tailoring its omnichannel approach to fit its role as a premium retailer?
What’s really exciting is the service we could be able to offer in the future for our most dedicated customers. Could we offer them the choice of collecting their orders from behind the counter or directly from the changing room, so it’s ready for them to try on or wear? What we want to say is that click-and-collect is the base level – we should have been doing that anyway. So now we’re catching up with the market, and asking what we can do after that to improve the offer.
What other changes has Karen Millen made to its digital approach?
Previously, we had three separate web platforms across three different providers, which is a legacy issue many retailers are facing. We’ve ripped those out and replaced them with one agile, scalable platform that we can develop on much more quickly.