Never before have customers been so savvy, so time-poor and so bombarded with brands as they are now. Smart retailers understand that to cut through the noise, omnichannel excellence is the name of the game.
Enter: Womenswear retailer Cue and its industry-first ‘Commerce Anywhere’ concept.
“Commerce Anywhere is about giving people the ability to transact in everyday moments, whether they’re watching TV or using a smart device when they’re out and about,” explains Cue’s chief innovation officer, Shane Lenton.
“It’s about allowing customers to engage but also transact at every touchpoint and it’s very much underpinned by unified commerce and contextual commerce. That’s a vision that’s been shared with our partners in that ecosystem – Emarsys, Brauz, Triquestra and Shippit.”
While the vision for Cue’s ‘Commerce Anywhere’ concept began before the pandemic hit, the plans behind it have really accelerated in the past 18 months – and the business and teams are now reaping the benefits of it, even as Australia continues to dip in and out of lockdowns.
“Blending physical and digital has played a massive role through Covid. It meant that through the original lockdown, we were able to still trade, bring customers in and interact with staff in a safe manner without physically opening our doors,” explains Lenton.
“Now we can run our stores as fulfillment locations and do contactless delivery. It means that where possible, we’ve been able to keep our staff working, we can still provide the opportunity for a business like ours with a large store footprint to engage and utilise those physical locations, even when we can’t open them. It’s all about having that agility.”
Here, Lenton shares some of the great ‘Commerce Anywhere’ initiatives Cue launched with the help of Emarsys recently.
Video styling sessions
It might be a pandemic, but fashionistas are still keen to shop for Zoom-worthy outfits, so last year, Cue launched personalised video styling sessions.
By jumping online, customers can book a one-on-one appointment to catch up with a stylist online or in-store, depending on their location. From there, customers are asked questions about what they’re looking for. Is there a special occasion coming up? Are they looking for a particular cut, style, colour, or product category?
To prepare for the session, stylists can also check out the customer’s purchase history and even take note of AI recommendations offered up through Emarsys, which can view customers’ user behaviour, clicks, online transactions, and email interactions. Armed with that information, stylists can then curate the perfect range of products for the customer before she has even joined the online session.
During the session, stylists can offer styling advice and chat about different product options and combinations tailored to the customer. And thanks to Cue’s endless aisle, stylists can even help customers purchase items from the business’ entire inventory – not just from the store they’re based in.
Since Cue launched its video styling sessions, 60 per cent result in a conversion, the value of which is five times more than average.
“They’re a highly engaged customer, there’s a lot of two-way dialogue. Some customers have even gone into their wardrobes and pulled out their best pieces to show the stylist. It’s really interactive,” explains Lenton.
“A lot of people feel more comfortable in their own environment. For different reasons, people can’t always get into a store and this opens up the opportunity for them to have a private styling session from anywhere in the world.”
Email contextual commerce
Thanks to Cue’s new contextual commerce initiative with Emarsys, customers can make an easy purchase via email in just two steps.
Through Cue’s enewsletters, customers simply click on a product they’re interested in, which will take them to a mini cart already loaded up with their preferences, such as size, colour, and the best delivery option. From there, customers can click on Apple Pay or Afterpay, then make their purchase using Face ID or PIN.
“When we shop online and check out, the idea of having to come up with a password or remember one is annoying,” says Lenton. “Then needing to get your credit card details out and typing in your address and your details – it’s painful and distracting and you can lose customers through that journey.”
In the past at Cue, if a customer was browsing online or in-store and decided not to make a purchase, she might have taken a photo of it and made a mental note of it for the future. The retailer had lost that connection with her.
But thanks to Cue’s new industry-first multichannel wishlist initiative, retailers can remain engaged with their customers and continue offering them value. Now, if a customer adds a product to her in-store or online wishlist, Cue can send through notifications when the particular item is on sale, if it’s out of stock or if it’s come back. Wishlists are also integrated into the POS system, creating a seamless experience for both customers and staff.
“The results have been huge. Cue has seen over $100,000 in incremental wishlist revenue, 75 per cent of which is happening in-store. That’s a customer who is coming into our store, added items to her wishlist, opened the comms, then gone back into our stores to purchase, which is really exciting,” Lenton explains, adding that open rates have been over 45 per cent for online, 75 per cent for in-store.
“For us, it’s not about putting digital into our stores for the sake of it. It has to drive value for the customer and it has to be a seamless experience. It has to reduce friction for our retail teams and that ultimately drives great customer experience.”