Fashion retailer Cue is launching a multichannel wishlist this week that will allow staff to capture customer behaviour in-store and add it to their digital profile.  

The new capability is an extension of traditional website wishlists that will allow store staff to access the wishlist, edit it or create one from scratch. 

Cue CIO Shane Lenton said the feature will allow the retailer to tailor digital marketing to customers’ in-store behaviour.

“If we talk about traditional online retail, if someone clicks on a product we follow them around the internet… and we retarget them on social media,” Lenton said during a presentation at the Online Retailer Conference in Sydney this week.  

“But then, from an in-store perspective, we go through all the time and effort and interaction with the customer and we lose that connection when they walk away.”

The wishlist feeds into Cue’s marketing platform which can be used to notify shoppers if an item they have tried on is low in stock or goes on sale.  

“This now creates all those digital opportunities for retargeting,” Lenton said. 

The customer profiles, which includes transaction history, are used to generate personalised product recommendations that are fed into marketing emails as well as store systems to help staff upsell. 

The fashion retailer also recently launched stylist appointments, available via video and in-store, which use the product recommends to enhance the 1:1 consultations. 

“Over 60 percent of the virtual styling sessions result in a purchase and [they are] five times the average transaction value,” Lenton said.  

Lenton also revealed the retailer is working with payment providers and its marketing automation platform to launch a ‘buy from email’ feature in 2021. 

Covid Closures

Speaking during an event hosted by Emarsys earlier this month, Lenton shared how Cue used its store network and inventory during the Covid-19 shutdowns. 

Prior to the pandemic around 57 percent of Cue’s online orders were being fulfilled from stores, Lenton said. 

The underlying unified commerce platform allowed the retailer to use inventory housed in stores to fulfil online orders throughout Covid-19 lockdowns. 

The retailer first noticed the impact of Covid-19 in February, when instore payments via WeChat Pay and AliPay showed a decline in Chinese travellers shopping at Cue’s CBD stores. 

Domestically, Lenton said Cue didn’t feel the impact until mid-March when store visits began to decline and, by the end of the month, the decision was made to close all stores in the interest of team and customer safety. 

“When you’re a business with 200-plus stores, even when online is sitting between 15 percent and 25 percent [of sales], to close those stores and turn off between 75 percent and 85 percent of revenue overnight was a massive shock,” he said.  

Caught with all of its store inventory and no bricks-and-mortar customers, the goal was to transition instore shoppers to online, predominantly through ramping up its customer communications through social and email, Lenton said. 

The marketing team used the Emarsys platform to give customers an opportunity to update their preferences to turn off emails for a month, rather than risking them unsubscribing. 

Customers responded to the offers and as online orders grew, Cue was able to re-open stores as “dark stores” to fulfil online orders and coordinated contactless collection from the couriers. 

According to Lenton, for “several weeks” they achieved more than 50 percent of original sales targets for the business, despite the demand for workwear and event fashion evaporating under lockdown. 

“We had the right platform, the right data and the right insights to really communicate and get the right messaging and offers out to those customers,” he said.

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