De Bijenkorf: Delighting luxury shoppers with personalization in store

How the Dutch department store uses personalization in store and online to delight luxury shoppers from around the world.

Luxury shoppers have always expected a high standard of service. And maintaining strong personal relationships is crucial to brand loyalty. Traditionally, this relationship was managed by in-store sales associates. Regular shoppers were recognized by sight. Purchase history, delivery details, and even payment details were recorded manually to make the shopping experience as seamless as possible. But if a shopper visited a store in another country, or shopped online they may as well be a first-time buyer.

In a world where people shop anytime, anywhere, and from any device the problem for luxury retailers is: How do you deliver a personalized, luxury experience to every shopper every time? Thankfully technology makes personalization in store and online possible. By managing both channels in one system, retailers can consolidate their shopper data into a single view. This makes it easy to provide tailored unified commerce experiences to customers, wherever they are. But what does this mean in practice? 

We sat down with Pieter Heij and Djunaedi Flohr from luxury department store de Bijenkorf (the beehive) to find out.

Welcoming international shoppers

De Bijenkorf wants its customers to feel at home, even if they’re on the other side of the world. To welcome Chinese shoppers, it has Chinese-speaking sales associates and signs in Chinese. Crucially, it also accepts Chinese payment methods like China UnionPay and Alipay. Smart payment terminals identify the shopper’s nationality by the card type and will adjust the language accordingly.

“[Chinese shoppers] are used to other international department stores that all look and feel fantastic. So the expectations are really high.” - Pieter Heij, Director MultiChannel, de Bijenkorf

Providing endless aisles

Nothing dampens an in-store shopping experience like an item being out of stock. But de Bijenkorf won’t allow a wasted journey. It has in-store kiosks (or endless aisles) that let shoppers browse more items online. They can then order and pay using an in-store payment terminal. Since de Bijenkorf manages its in-store and online sales in one system it makes no difference where the payment takes place.

“We want to bring together the best of online and offline.” - Djunaedi Flohr,  Product Owner, de Bijenkorf

Cutting the queues with mobile point of sale

Queuing to pay is one of shoppers’ biggest in-store pain points, and one of the main reasons for abandoning purchases in store. De Bijenkorf removes this problem with mobile point of sale (mPOS) terminals which let sales assistants take POS payments from anywhere on the shop floor.

Watch: de Bijenkorf delights luxury shoppers with Adyen

Video transcript

Pieter Heij, Director MultiChannel, de Bijenkorf

De Bijenkorf is the luxury department store of The Netherlands. We welcome more than a hundred million visitors a year, both in stores and online. 

My name is Pieter Heij. I started with de Bijenkorf ten years ago and now I am responsible for multi-channel at de Bijenkorf. So that's both the online operation, but also everything having to do with technology, payments in store. 

Djunaedi Flohr, Product Owner, de Bijenkorf

My name is Djunaedi Flohr. I’m a product owner, omnichannel, working at the ecommerce department at de Bijenkorf. 

Omnichannel for de Bijenkorf means that we want to bring together the best of online and offline. And therefore we want to create the best personal, relevant, seamless shopping experience for our customers. 

Pieter Heij

And that’s where technology comes in and that’s where payments come in. So that’s something that we’ve been solving with Adyen over the last couple of years. 

Customers come into the store, they’ve researched something online and ‘can I get it here?’. And then oops, the stock is not available in the store.

So the first solution that we started introducing is what we call the ‘kiosk’, or the ‘endless aisles’. 

Djunaedi Flohr

We have this tablet assistant sales solution where we can offer a whole online assortment. And if you’re an international customer, the pin terminal will show the customer’s language.

I think that’s a great example of how Adyen is helping us bringing personalization to the stores. 

So we introduce the mobile point of sales solution. And with the solution, we are able to do transactions on the spot.

So for our customers, it means there is no more waiting in the lines anymore. 

Pieter Heij

Over the last five years, we’ve seen a tremendous rise in the number of Chinese shoppers in our store.

They are used to other international department stores that all look and feel fantastic.

So the expectations are really high. And then obviously, payment methods for them is important as well.

So we offer them Alipay and UnionPay, for example. And that really makes them feel at home in our department store as well. 

One of the key themes for the next couple of years is personalization.

We’ve changed our in-store terminals to Adyen and we also use Adyen to process online payments.

We can connect those payments which is fantastic. With our previous set-up, that would not have been possible. 

We’ve gone through enormous growth. But we’re still trying both to be flexible and fast and make sure that we have a total can-do mentality.

And that’s been great in this partnership over the last couple of years.

Read next: Customer personalization: What do shoppers actually want?

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