Many brands are exploring innovative technology to deliver an integrated retail experience.
Loom is an independent men’s multibrand fashion store in South Africa, represented in two cities: Johannesburg and Cape Town. Loom has lots of top brands on its racks including Fred Perry, A.P.C., Comme Des Garcons and limited edition items from Nike and many others. One of its key challenges is introducing new brands to the local audience. However, it is very hard for independent retailers like Loom to stay on the map with only a limited local audience. Loom has no budget for TV ads.
BACK ON THE MAP
Loom gave iKineo, the agency responsible for this campaign, a broad brief. Essentially Loom wanted to ‘get on the map’ and find something that would separate them from others. Talkability and overall buzz were needed to increase the stores’ retail traffic.
“We must think of very interesting ways to bring online offline and vice versa. The way we approached this was really putting the user experience at the centre. Start with a completely fresh approach on user engagement,“ – Joshin Raghubar (iKineo Chairman & Founder) on the approach.
iKineo took this brief and set some key objectives before creating the campaign. They were inspired by the fact that Loom is the ‘pioneer retailer’ for great brands in SA. They put this brand storytelling centre-stage and came up with innovative ways to make it more engaging for the customers. The key question for this campaign was: ”How to bring online offline and vice versa?”. The agency went on to create a technology which took the customer experience up to a whole new level.
CUSTOMER CURATED CONTENT
The customer experience was completely reimagined. It took two nights to build a very advanced technology platform for Loom’s windows. The idea was to enable ‘customer- curated content’. Three items were chosen for the windows. These items had interesting product features which were at centre in the experience. The windows were 24/7 interactive. NFC technology enabled customers to manipulate the products inside the windows with their smartphones and make purchases through a mobile site. By activating NFC on their mobile, people could, for example, make the ultralight Fred Perry raincoat fly in the wind or take a closer look at Nike’s weaving technology. And the engagement didn’t stop there.
TILL SLIP WITH A POINT
Inspired by BERG’s ‘Little Printer’ (www.littleprinter.com) the till slip was no longer just a piece of paper. Every till slip had information about the things that were going on around and outside Loom.
For example the consumer received tips on what to wear according to the weather outside.
Joshin Raghubar talks about the functionality of the till slip: “In a way the till slip became a loyalty card. But it was useful for a number of things. One being able to link to your personal profile, look at your transaction history, etc. Secondly, it helps you to see what is happening around the store (linked with social media). So it is a useful personal engagement as well as a useful source to see information about what is going around the store.”
Pushing the technology even further, RFID technology was woven into selected product tags inside the Loom store. ‘LOOM-O-VISION’ detected when a product had been picked up and displayed a mix of relevant brand content. This made the shopping experience more personal and deepened the relationship with the customer, who received a personal approach from Loom. Coming back to the ultimate task behind the campaign ‘linking offline-online’ http://www.loomshop.co.za was developed to a new level as part of the User Experience.
MAKING IT NICE FOR THE CUSTOMERS
As the target group consisted of a specific range of customers, the small things like packaging and additional artwork were vitally important. Loom wanted to deliver a unique and exclusive experience. A nice touch was added by using specially crafted compact packaging. Each size featured a different pattern, screen-printed on the inside of the lid. Additionally, Loom commissioned a selection of designers and illustrators to create posters to celebrate the opening of their new online store and the physical Cape Town store.
A STRENGTHENED RELATIONSHIP
“It is very interesting to make a store with customer curated content,” explains Joshin Raghubar.
Although the conversion rates were relatively low, this immersive retail campaign certainly achieved what it had set out to do. Loom is now the hub for retail innovation in South Africa. Customers were engaged by the technology and the brands that were introduced. Through this activity, Loom strengthened the relationship with its core customers. Following a change of ownership, Loom is reviewing its use of technology in and out-of-store, but it promises to continue to bring fresh experiences to its customers.
TELLING BRAND STORIES
The campaign proved that people are willing to take time to interact with new brands. The more engaging and interesting the customer experience – the better.
Joshin Raghubar comments: “One thing that we learned was that the consumers are really interested in the stories behind the brands. And the brand story becomes a very important part of the purchase decision.”
THE CUSTOMER MUST BE IN CHARGE
Today, there is a growing trend in retail to use technology to improve user engagement and customer experience. Customers are now at the centre and they are really interested in anything new and intriguing.
“We must think of very interesting ways to bring online offline and vice versa. Start with a completely fresh approach on user engagement,“ – Joshin Raghubar about the approach.