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Blog Series
08/12/2022

eTail 2022 – Keeping the customer at the center of omnichannel

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Speakers at eTail 2022 shared omnichannel success stories.

The importance of providing top-notch omnichannel customer service was a recurring theme at the recent eTail 2022 conference in Boston.

Speakers from U.S. Polo Assn., Sideshow, and Abercrombie & Fitch all shared experiences in developing, optimizing and supporting omnichannel retail functionality that attendees could apply to their own enterprises.

U.S. Polo Assn. – Supporting top stores with digital capabilities
The official brand of the United States Polo Association enhances its focus on digitally serving customers with a strategy of supporting its top-performing “high goal” stores across the globe.

“High goal is a term from polo, describing the best polo players,” Jose Nino, VP of global digital strategy & e-commerce at USPA Global Licensing Inc., the company that manages the global brand U.S. Polo Assn, said in an eTail 2022 keynote session. “The best stores get the treatment they deserve.”

Nino went on to review omnichannel features that U.S. Polo Assn. rolls out at high goal stores. These include QR codes placed on store windows that leverage high passerby volumes to build newsletter databases, in-store video screens, fulfillment options that bolster omnichannel conversion – such as click and collect and ship from store, and digital touchpoints such as paperless transactions and charging stations.

He also described U.S. Polo Assn.’s strategy of localizing omnichannel checkout options to meet preferences that can vary by country, using its retail operation in Mexico as an example.

“In Mexico, it’s common for a customer to buy a product online and then pay for it at a convenience store,” said Nino. “The store then tells the retailer to deliver the product to the customer.”

[Read more: Exclusive Q&A: U.S. Polo Assn. thrives digitally despite crises]

Sideshow – Omnichannel customer service cuts costs, boosts satisfaction
Sideshow, a direct-to-consumer online retailer of pop culture-inspired collectible merchandise, was able to reduce its customer service ticket volume by 60% in less than three months using an omnichannel solution from iAdvize. Chris Pirrotta, VP of marketing at Sideshow, explained to attendees how the iAdvize platform leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to educate customers on how to use self-service options for lower-level issues.

This frees up human customer service agents to focus on more complex customer service inquiries. It also opens the possibility of customer service personnel serving as sales agents, Pirrotta said.

“At Sideshow, we take great pride as a customer support leader in our industry,” said Pirrotta. “Sideshow is staffed by authentically passionate pop culture fans; finding a novel method to share that passion with our customers has been critical to our continued evolution and growth.”

Abercrombie & Fitch – Testing and learning
As part of a panel discussion, Joel Juday, VP, planning, promotions, analytics & testing, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., discussed how his company approaches creating omnichannel customer experiences.

According to Juday, for the past three to five years (starting before the COVID-19 pandemic), Abercrombie & Fitch has been focusing on collecting all the different omnichannel stakeholders from across the organization and providing them with common operational guardrails. But this does not mean the specialty apparel retailer is tightening the reins.

“We take a test and learn approach,” said Juday. “If it’s in your hands, do it. We try to balance the value to the customer with the financial and business and impact. What’s the pressing customer problem we’re trying to solve?”

[Read more: Abercrombie & Fitch sets $5 billion annual sales goal]

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