For Deckers Brands, “omnichannel” isn’t just a buzzword or catchphrase. Across the entire organization, which houses a variety of brands including UGG, Mozo, Ahnu and Teva, omnichannel is “an integral part of our culture of innovation and our retail strategy,” according to Dave Powers, President of Omnichannel at Deckers Brands.
The company has continually invested in omnichannel technologies and principles for more than five years now.
“We view omnichannel as a long-term strategic initiative,” Powers said in interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Our omnichannel efforts and quality products are leading not only to a deeper engagement and interest among a wider group of consumers, but also an increased conversion across our retail and e-Commerce channels.”
Most recently, UGG unveiled a new high-tech store at Tysons Galleria in Washington, D.C., which was developed in partnership with Control Group, a New York-based technology and design consultancy. The store also is serving as Deckers’ second innovation lab. With an additional location in Santa Barbara, Calif., the labs allow team members to test different omnichannel models, merchandising strategies and other tactics that can be implemented across all brands.
“We want to use technology as a way to elevate the consumer experience, create a simpler shopping experience and as a way to connect and build a relationship,” Powers said. “The consumer is at the center of everything we do and we’ve built an organization focused on delivering compelling products to consumers through seamless shopping experiences.”
The Washington, D.C. location was crafted to perfectly merge digital and physical shopping experiences, while honing in on the UGG lifestyle and brand. Noted by Powers as UGG’s first-ever technology-driven store, the location is 2,110 square feet in size and includes nearly 230 SKUs as well as an “endless aisle” experience.
“We believe that Tysons Galleria is located in an area that complements our other UGG and Deckers Brands locations around the world,” Powers said. “The D.C. consumer is very tech-savvy and Tysons Galleria has solid foot traffic with a heavy concentration of local shoppers, as well as area tourists.”
A Connected Customer Experience
All UGG sales associates will be armed with iPads, allowing them to better address product questions, provide customer support and complete online purchases for items not available on the store floor.
“Over the past five years, we have seen a lot more shopping taking place online and on mobile devices,” Powers explained. “More recently, we’ve seen that while consumers enjoy the convenience of online shopping, they also still want to be able to touch and try on products. Our infinite UGG products, an ‘endless aisle’ of merchandise not found in store, is the ideal way to allow consumers to come into the store to preview the product and get the right shape, size and color delivered right to their doorstep.”
To ensure associates are up-to-date on the store’s features and capabilities, UGG has rolled out an extensive training program, Powers said. That way, the retailer can “ensure that all of our associates are not only trained on how to use tablets effectively, but also on the other in-store technology to ensure that consumers can take advantage of all of the advanced features.”
In addition to the endless aisle experience, UGG rolled out radio-frequency identification (RFID) in the store, which allows consumers trying on merchandise to view a variety of branded content. The RFID tags trigger the digital content and publish it on four 65-inch high-definition (HD) screens. As a result, consumers have real-time access to product information, style tips, videos, marketing campaigns and product recommendations. Shoppers also can use the HD screens to text message product links to their personal phones.
“RFID technology is mutually beneficial for both Deckers Brands and the consumer and allows us to fully maximize the potential of our brands,” Powers said. “Our investment in RFID is principally related to the shopping experience, but we are also continually looking for ways to strengthen our data and inventory tracking capabilities. We are looking to use the best technology to improve the shopping experience, as well as help to manage our resources more efficiently.”
Throughout their store visits, all consumers will have access to complimentary Wi-Fi, so they can easily connect to their social networks and other mobile tools and resources.
“By providing free Wi-Fi in the store, we are making it that much easier for consumers to share the fantastic experience that they are having in our stores with their friends and social media followers,” Powers said. This, in the end, “will have an overall positive effect on their in-store shopping experience.”