The emergence of the cross-channel shopper has left retailers scrambling to keep pace by implementing new methods of engagement via mobile devices and social media. While shoppers tap into smartphones and tablets to retrieve information and finalize buying decisions, merchants are struggling to strengthen one-to-one relationships with their loyal consumer base. Addressing this challenge, Signature Labs, Inc., has introduced the Signature mobile application for iPhone and iPad, developed to provide store associates and shoppers with detailed features and capabilities to create a more engaging in-store shopping experience.
The primarily goal of the new tool is to create a VIP retail experience both in and out of the store, according to David Hegardy, Founder and CEO of Signature. Furthermore, the multipurpose app for store associates and consumers was designed to create stronger relationships between shoppers and store employees.
“We built a two-part solution: for sales associates, we have a clienteling application for iPhones and iPads, while consumers have a personal shopping assistant app for iPhone,” Hegardy told Retail TouchPoints. “But the magic really happens when the two are combined, where consumers can experience VIP treatment and optimal customer service in the store environment. We wanted to focus on what is really important to a high-end retail experience — that relationship between shoppers and store associates.”
Through the Signature app, shoppers receive automatic notifications on their mobile devices. Alerts promote shopping events and new information such as updates on preferred items and brands, as well as new inventory arrivals. Upon entering a store location, consumers are greeted with a summary of new items, the latest fashions on the floor and any relevant sales events.
As retailers continue to shift to an omnichannel approach, many merchants are beginning to focus more on developing strong, long-lasting relationships with shoppers, rather than grabbing dollars. A number of retailers, including Seven For All Mankind are utilizing Signature to create this personalized approach to commerce.
“Retailers are trying to make a strong emotional connection with shoppers in their stores,” Hegardy explained. “In turn, the store is the start of the relationship. A retailers’ top challenge is to get shoppers to come back as many times as possible. Sometimes, that will mean luring consumers into stores for an event, which will re-charge a shopper’s enthusiasm for the brand. Other times, it will mean purchasing something online or via a smartphone. Retailers are looking at it from all ends.”
In an effort to strengthen the relationship between store associates and shoppers, the Signature app also allows consumers to track and receive alerts when their preferred salesperson is on location. This feature presents the opportunity for loyal shoppers to make appointments and leave messages for associates. Sales associates are armed with iPhones and iPads, providing them with instant access to the application and shopper information, at any time, leading to more cross- and up-sell opportunities.
“A good sales associate will remember shoppers’ names and something detailed about their preferences,” Hegardy said. “This tactic initiates the conversation and allows the consumer to feel relaxed and trusting of the associate. Then, not only might the shopper go get the suit, he may come out with the whole outfit. A good retail experience does that: it buoys up your self-esteem and makes you feel good about yourself. Store associates who carry this out effectively are calling the shopper in three months and recommending new items, turning a one-time transaction into a relationship.” Signature recently closed $1.1 million in seed funding and has signed a handful of retailers as paying customers and members of its Advisory Board. Currently, the company is rolling out pilot deployments nationwide, and plans to launch publicly with a roster of retailers during spring 2012.