Consumers’ savvier researching, browsing and buying strategies has forward-thinking retailers focused on merging communication and commerce channels to create a unified, 360-degree shopping experience.
Signet Jewelers recently collaborated with IBM to revise the e-Commerce web sites and digital marketing experiences for two brands: Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry. The new cross-channel strategy ― which includes new e-Commerce and mobile-optimized sites, enhanced account features, personalized search capabilities and more seamless social sharing features ― encouraged a 49% boost in online sales during 2012.
The new Kay and Jared e-Commerce sites provide shoppers with the tools for more consistent and personalized experiences wherever they shop: in a physical store, online or via mobile, according to George Murray, SVP of Marketing for Signet Jewelers.
“We take a holistic view when evaluating how to best interact with, engage and inform our customers,” Murray said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “This strategy has allowed us to expand the leadership we have developed in stores to create a true digital ecosystem, which incorporates our web sites, mobile retail options and social media platforms for a comprehensive solution that best meets the needs of all consumers.”
Recreating The In-Store Shopping Experience For Online Shoppers
Features integrated into the new e-Commerce and mobile sites include a chat capability, which instantly connects consumers to digital customer service agents. Additionally, both the online and mobile sites have enhanced navigation and search functionality, which helps consumers find, compare and purchase products more seamlessly. These enhancements are helping Kay and Jared recreate the brick-and-mortar shopping journey for online consumers.
“We focused on the development of new, custom features that would deliver a more guided, personalized shopping experience, as well as integrating enhancements to ensure added convenience for the user,” Murray explained. In addition, Signet added a new account function on both online storefronts, which helps provide “contextual credit information that gives customers clear and detailed reporting on their accounts, making it easier and more enjoyable to browse the sites and shop.”
As a result of the digital redesign, social media also is becoming a priority for Signet Jewelers. Along with establishing a stronger presence and generating conversations across social networks, Signet is enabling instant social sharing on the Kay and Jared web sites.
“To align our online and social media platforms, we have integrated elements that reflect how customers typically engage with brands through the digital space,” Murray stated. “Our web sites now make it easier for customers to share and discuss their favorite products with clear navigation that connects users to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.”
Creating An Optimal Cross-Channel Strategy
During the planning process for the digital redesign, Signet leveraged advanced customer experience analytics to determine key features and capabilities that would guide consumers throughout the buying journey more efficiently. The multi-phase plan to revise the Kay and Jared cross-channel shopping experiences began during the 2011 holiday season, with the bulk of the redesign work being completed throughout 2012.
Tapping a methodology established by the IBM Interactive team, Signet identified specific buyer personas, as well as shoppers’ unique browsing and buying tactics both in-store and online: from awareness to researching and completing a purchase, explained Paul Papas, Smarter Commerce Global Leader of IBM Global Business Services. “Everything is done through the lens of how to enhance the experience using digital, the brick-and-mortar store, mobile and social, and more importantly, to help retailers such as Signet identify ideal enhancements for their cross-channel strategies.”