Most retailers still struggle with creating a seamless omnichannel experience. But there are a few leading brands that seem to have figured it out.
Among them is Ralph Lauren. According to a new report on the integration of digital and physical experiences within the luxury retail industry, Ralph Lauren scored better than any other major brand in terms of its integration and overall omnichannel experience.
But the apparel brand’s success stood out against a pack of competitors that was mostly disappointing in its integration to this point. The ContactLab report’s findings were consistent with past research that shows omnichannel shoppers spending more per-purchase than single-channel shoppers.
Despite the financial incentive, integration of digital tools into the physical space is underwhelming.
“It is surprising to see that not many luxury brands are optimising the relationships they can have with their customers,” says ContactLab CEO Massimo Fubini. “Luxury brands are faced with competition with online retailers and so need to up their game in order to take advantage of the online sphere.”
Following The Template For Success
Ralph Lauren may be leading other luxury brands in its digital and physical integration, but it’s not as if the retailer has stumbled upon some secret recipe. The company is only taking advantage of technologies available to every retailer.
ContactLab’s report points to unique features of Ralph Lauren shopping experiences, which include interactive mirrors and changing rooms, as touchpoints that merge the digital and physical worlds. When shoppers walk into a Ralph Lauren store, they find a seamless omnichannel experience come to fruition — especially when compared to alternative brands.
When trying on clothes, shoppers can use a changing room touchscreen to request alternative items, different sizes, or even send photos to friends outside of the store, according to Net Imperative. It sounds space-age, but such technologies are readily available to any brand ready to make the investment. As smart changing rooms become more commonplace, consumer expectations will rise accordingly.
Other mobile touchpoints in stores, from clienteling solutions to smart shelves and mobile POS, have a similar effect on the consumer experience, and they help build a truly omnichannel environment. Even as an industry leader, Ralph Lauren’s experience is not perfectly seamless. But it’s well ahead of the rest of the pack, and it’s managed to turn a universally available technology into a unique selling point.
It will take years for the industry to develop a mature omnichannel experience in stores. But retailers making the transition now are seeing a fundamental change in how consumers view their stores.
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