Retailers know that time-starved consumers want to avoid long lines at any cost, but also don’t want shoppers to miss out on exceptional retail experiences, which are driven by informed and passionate store associates.
Alex and Ani, a lifestyle and accessories brand, is creating more compelling yet convenient shopping experiences by leveraging mPOS in stores. Since implementing iPod Touches touting a checkout application co-developed by Mobiquity, the retailer has seen a significant improvement in sales, as well as customer satisfaction and engagement across all store locations, according to Joe Lezon, CTO of Alex and Ani. During the 2012 holiday season alone, Alex and Ani increased sales by 318% over 2011 as result of the mPOS tools.
“Our mobile POS strategy has allowed us to completely change the customer experience within stores,” Lezon said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We empowered our store associates, or Bangle Bartenders, to fully assist and educate our customers on Alex and Ani products.” Using consumer-grade mobile devices to provide this source of empowerment, Lezon explained, has allowed Bangle Bartenders to help customers “from the time they enter a store, until they depart.” This, in turn, encourages store associates and consumers to form one-on-one relationships, which adds extra value to the brick-and-mortar store.
The mPOS strategy now is utilized in all 28 Alex and Ani stores nationwide. Each location has transitioned from approximately three stationed POS terminals to as many as 25 mobile devices dispersed throughout the store. Lezon noted that this strategy has ensured more efficient checkout processes and decreased wait times, and led to “extremely positive” feedback from consumers.
Designed to act as a fully-functioning POS solution, the new mobile checkout technology seamlessly integrates with Alex and Ani’s POS system to allow Bangle Bartenders to service customers completely. With the devices, associates can process credit and gift cards as well as cash transactions then either print or email receipts to shoppers.
Alex and Ani plans to continue to “look at enhancements for the mPOS strategy that will streamline the checkout process even further,” Lezon said. “Going forward, we are looking at ways to reduce the time it takes for customers to check out.”
Educating Consumers Across All Touch Points
In addition to the mPOS strategy, Alex and Ani focuses on educating and communicating with consumers across channels regarding the brand’s core belief, which hones in on enlightenment driven by environmental sustainability.
“Alex and Ani is a lifestyle brand dedicated to creating products of unparalleled quality and beauty that also promote consciousness and unity,” Lezon stated. “Our design aesthetic underscores the idea that what is pure and natural is most beautiful, which supports how we create our products, all of which are handcrafted from recycled metals.”
To effectively convey this mindset, Alex and Ani taps community feedback and customer interaction to determine the optimal channels and strategies to utilize. Moreover, the marketing and digital strategy departments constantly gather web research, information and suggestions to apply to the brand. Based on feedback accumulated, the team utilizes thorough A/B and multivariate testing to personalize content and merchandising across all customer interaction touch points. Social listening and monitoring tools also are used to pinpoint customer sentiment and analyze feedback.
Lezon explained: “All products relate differently to each person, and our brand speaks to consumers across all demographics, in every age group and across all belief systems. Having the dynamic ability to change the way products are viewed based on information we know about a customer provides a higher conversion rate and average order value, but also creates a better customer experience.”