For Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, unified commerce opens new avenues
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.
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
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
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.
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