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Activewear brand Fabletics has deployed Salesfloor’s customer engagement platform to personalize the customer experience and creating connected conversations across its sales channels.
From its founding in 2013 activewear brand Fabletics has been focused on providing exactly what the activewear customer wants in high-performance gear and doing so via customer engagement and hardcore listening.
Now that customer connection is getting even deeper and even more engaging.
Fabletics has partnered with Salesfloor, a customer engagement platform that combines virtual shopping conversational AI and clienteling to empower store associates in a quest to personalize the customer experience — whether the customer is browsing inside one of the brand’s 95 retail locations or online.
Customers can now get expert sizing insight, style advice and stock availability, online or in the store, from a store associate. On their end, store associates can better manage customer relationships and personalize recommendations via video chat, email and text.
It’s all about high-touch personalization and crafting customer interactions that will deepen customer loyalty while driving more sales. The brand’s VIP membership program currently boasts over 2 million members.
Fabletics, headquartered in El Segundo, California, joins the ranks of Saks Fifth Avenue, Holt Renfrew, Bloomingdale’s, Ben Bridge Jeweler and Chico’s in deploying the Salesfloor solution that promises to drive higher online conversion rates, increased basket sizes and decreased return rates.
The inside strategy
Fabletics chose Salesfloor given its leadership in the clienteling and customer/associate space, according to Ron Harries, SVP, head of retail at Fabletics.
“They have a proven track record of success, and their mission aligns well with ours at Fabletics. We have been leveraging our internal tools to engage with members and customers up to this point. Salesfloor will allow us to accelerate our strategies and engage at new levels,” he said in an email interview with RetailCustomerExperience.
Deploying the Salesfloor platform is tied to Fabletics’ philosophy that its members and guests are at the center of everything it does as a brand and every decision it makes as a brand.
“Our membership program allows us to engage in ways that are very unique to our brand, which is a critical part of our uplifting experience across all platforms and touchpoints,” said Harries. “We have always engaged through initiatives like our in-store fitness and community events, special shopping parties, etc. Our Salesfloor partnership will now allow us to have a more personalized, one-to-one relationship with all who visit our space.”
The platform allows the brand to empower the capabilities of 1,000-plus store associates to elevate the customer experience.
“We focused our efforts on explaining the new initiative and how each team member plays a part,” said Harries.
Fabletics worked with Salesfloor to develop interactive associate training across its learning hub platform and then closely monitored feedback to improve where needed.
In assessing the technology partnership, and its impact, Harries has just one regret.
“Our main insight, as of now, is that I wish we would have done this sooner.”
The need for customer engagement
Personalizing the customer experience requires customer engagement and the latter is “an indispensable priority for retailers,” according to Ben Rodier, chief client officer at Salesfloor.
“First and foremost, customer engagement drives customer loyalty. By establishing connections and nurturing relationships, retailers can create a sense of value and appreciation among their customers,” he said in an email interview.
“When individuals feel valued by a brand, they become loyal advocates who consistently choose that retailer over others. These loyal customers not only provide a steady revenue stream but also serve as influential ambassadors, spreading positive word-of-mouth and attracting new customers to the brand.”
Fabletic’s tech initiative comes at a time when shoppers are increasingly seeking personalized experiences. Nearly half of consumers, over 40%, are hungry for personalization in the customer experience and are willing to provide more data to get it, according to a Vibes survey that polled over 1,000 mobile-centric consumers on how they interact with brands on smartphones.
The top three types of personalization consumers find to be most useful are “recommendations and offers based on past behavior or purchases” (41%), “interests and preferences supplied to the brand” (40%) and “content and offers targeted to their current location” (34%), according to research from Airship, a mobile app experience company.
Customer engagement is also a powerful tool for differentiation in the extremely competitive retail marketplace.
“This differentiation is vital for long-term success, as it helps to secure a customer base that remains loyal even when faced with alternatives,” said Rodier, adding that by investing in understanding customers’ preferences, needs and purchase history, retailers can deliver targeted offers, personalized recommendations and tailored promotions.
“This level of personalization not only enhances the customer experience but also leads to higher conversion rates, increased average order value, and ultimately drives greater sales and revenue for the business.”
The Salesfloor platform, in addition to helping brands deliver personalized experience and digital communication channels, can elevate the store associate role to one of brand ambassador — which plays a key role in the personalized experience, said Rodier.
“Retailers can transform their store associates into brand ambassadors, empowering them to engage with customers, build relationships and provide exceptional service, creating a competitive advantage.”
Misconceptions in play
Retailers striving to create and sustain personal customer interactions often have some misconceptions about the technologies and tools that can help create a successful strategy.
One is that the technology will replace human interaction, yet Rodier said it is nearly the opposite impact as it enhances and complements the human element.
“Our platform empowers store associates to deliver personalized service and build relationships, leveraging technology as a tool to facilitate meaningful interactions.”
Another fallacy some retailers have is that technology can be costly, complex and time-consuming.
But Rodier said the reality is that it should be a smooth effort when working with the right partner and that while there are costs involved the potential return on investment can be very high — from improved customer satisfaction, bigger sales and stronger brand loyalty.
“That can lead to significant long-term benefits that outweigh the initial costs,” he said.
Associate buy-in key
The biggest hurdle in driving a personalized retail experience is the involvement of store associates who are on the frontline with customers — from helping them find needed product to checkout. Some associates could view tools and technology as a job competitor.
“By emphasizing the benefits and value that the platform brings, retailers can help associates understand how it amplifies their abilities and empowers them to deliver exceptional service. Providing proper training and support can alleviate concerns and encourage adoption,” said Rodier. “Clearly communicate how the platform enhances customer experience, drives sales and strengthens customer loyalty. By highlighting the benefits, retailers can create enthusiasm and encourage adoption among associates.”
In choosing a tech partner, Rodier recommends retailers ensure they are getting accurate information about a solution, conduct thorough evaluations and engage in open communication with a chosen provider.
“By doing so, retailers can fully understand the capabilities, benefits and potential challenges associated with deploying customer engagement technology, enabling them to make informed decisions and effectively leverage the technology to enhance their business,” he said.
The keys to success are assessing internal resources for needed capabilities in supporting a solution and aligning associate training to fully leverage capabilities.
“Fostering a collaborative culture is key. Encourage store associates and management to work together as a team, embracing the platform as a collective effort,” said Rodier.
Judy Mottl is editor of Retail Customer Experience and Food Truck Operator. She has decades of experience as a reporter, writer and editor covering technology and business for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews.