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Nine West Chats up Customers


For retailers looking to provide an optimal customer experience to harried holiday shoppers, live chat is more than a nice extra.

“Customer expectations today make live chat a necessity; more and more customers are demanding this channel to interact with brands since it’s a convenient and efficient means of getting assistance online,” said Milton Pappas, president of e-commerce for White Plains, New York-based Nine West Group, which operates 183 Nine West stores, 78 Easy Spirit stores and 88 JNY stores in the United States.

Shortly before the 2013 holiday period, Nine West integrated the LiveEngage customer service platform from LivePerson into its Demandware Commerce platform.

“Through LiveEngage, we are able to provide customers with very relevant answers and recommendations based on shopping cart information or product page info,” said Pappas. “The customer doesn’t have to explain in detail the exact product they are looking at because of the benefit of digital versus voice. Also, if customers identify themselves, agents can leverage historical data to provide even more personalized recommendations.”

Since Nine West launched so close to last year’s holiday season, the retailer used chat as a supporting channel for customer service, rather than a primary channel. Nine West still saw an increase in sales and a significant amount of call deflection. For the 2014 holiday season, Nine West plans to bolster its use of chat, supported by LiveEngage and Demandware Commerce.

“We want to ramp up heavily on chat,” explained Pappas. “It’s less costly than other channels, and we are able to handle multiple interactions at the same time. We also want to proactively engage customers to drive sales. With intelligent targeting capabilities, we can be creative in the types of promotions we might offer to customers, e.g., leveraging location-based or page-based analytics.”

Pappas also had a plan to make chat a very direct means of increasing sales.

“We’re also excited to launch PCI forms embedded in chat so customers can seamlessly make a purchase while speaking to a customer service rep,” he added.

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