Young consumers are more technologically connected and eager to browse and learn about products online and via mobile devices. To ensure these tech-savvy shoppers are equipped with the digital resources they desire to make educated buying decisions, best-in-class retailers are implementing cutting-edge technology in brick-and-mortar stores.
Saturday, a new brand developed by Kate Spade New York, embodies a product aesthetic and in-store experience designed to address the wants and needs of younger shoppers, according to Kyle Andrew, SVP and Brand Director for Kate Spade Saturday. The merchant partnered with Control Group to adopt an in-store tablet strategy that seamlessly blends the brick-and-mortar and digital experiences. Control Group is an innovation strategy firm that combines technology and design to help retailers optimize and grow their businesses.
Kate Spade and Control Group collaborated to develop an in-store iPad strategy that helps create a more seamless and compelling experience for younger, hyper-connected shoppers, according to Andrew. Specifically the tablets were added to serve two core objectives:
- Merge the web site and brick-and-mortar store: “We want to publish web site content in stores so that it can be accessed easily when consumers are near a specific product and have a question,” Andrew said. “If a shopper is standing next to our denim wall and needs pricing information, for example, she can access it quickly using the iPads.” Consumers also can swipe through the tablet devices to access photos of models wearing different apparel fits, colors and patterns, allowing shoppers to have a complete vision of how items look, Andrew noted. Other content available on the iPads includes interviews with Saturday designers, product combinations and recommendations, and other resources regarding apparel, jewelry and handbag collections.
“Depending on how much information consumers want, they can go deeper into the content and overall brand journey,” Andrew said. “It’s a great way for a shopper to get information about the product in her own way, on her own terms. The tablets also are a great tool for sales associates who want to provide customers with additional support when required.”
- Replace paper signage: Kate Spade spends an “exorbitant amount of money” updating signage across all locations, Andrew stated. With comprehensive product data now available through in-store iPads, the retailer no longer has to print signage, and can “get information to stores easily, as well as update product and sale information instantly across all locations.”
Testing, Learning And Evolving
With three stores throughout Japan — including the flagship location in Tokyo — Kate Spade Saturday will continue to tap customer feedback and research to refine and optimize the in-store tablet strategy.
Currently, each Saturday location has approximately ten devices, Andrew reported. However, the total number of tablets, their placement in stores, and the content available may be modified as more stores open during 2013.
“The idea is to continue testing, learning and adapting, so we can keep evolving,” Andrew said. “I’m sure we’ll make mistakes, learn a lot and change a lot, but that’s how you do it right. I’m not as interested in technology for technology’s sake, or because it’s cute, fun or the latest thing, but to provide a customer experience that is easy, seamless and fun.”
Kate Spade partnered with Control Group to design the iPad experience on a custom-built and flexible management platform, which will allow the retailer to accommodate additional mobile devices, stores, countries, languages and media as the brand expands and evolves.
“Control Group provided us with a variety of ideas, and definitely understood our brand and aesthetic very well,” Andrew reported. “Team members weren’t trying to impose ideas based on what other brands were doing. They were open and clear on the fact that we already created the brand and just needed to communicate it effectively to our customers.”
Developing The Saturday Brand
While consumers across age segments covet Kate Spade New York for classic styles and distinct patterns, price-points for the brand are not very realistic for most Gen X and Y shoppers, according to Andrew.
Kate Spade created Saturday because younger consumers “loved the Kate Spade New York brand, but they weren’t ready for some of the sophisticated styles and higher prices,” Andrew explained. While the Saturday brand offers products at lower prices, it still follows the same values of Kate Spade New York: To provide colorful, bold and playful apparel and accessories.
Andrew added that although Saturday is a standalone brand with separate stores and a different e-Commerce site, there are many similarities between Saturday and Kate Spade New York: “They share many of the same core values but express them in a way that’s more appealing to a younger [tech-savvy] consumer who wears more versatile styles and can’t afford to buy a different outfit for every occasion.”