One app helps make retail sales staff Customer Experience Officers at Luxasia

The technology enabled a cultural shift at Luxasia, transforming not only the customer experience, but the employee experience too.”

Avis Easteal, Regional Head, Consumer, Luxasia
 
 

Customer friendly app replaces unfriendly systems and poor quality checks

Luxasia links luxury beauty brands such as Bvlgari, Ferragamo, Guerlain, Hermes, La Prairie, Prada, and Peter Thomas Roth, with customers in Asia.

It had been a traditional distributor focused on providing product, back office support, staffing and logistics to help brands flourish in the Asian market. In response to increasing consumer demand for connected and personalised experiences, Luxasia has shifted to building a highly tailored, data-driven customer experience. 

Prior to this shift, Luxasia had been relying on legacy technology that was inconsistently implemented across countries and product data capture was of variable quality. This led to difficulties in reconciling out-of-stock data and identifying consumer preference.

Information on the brands customers purchased, what brands they were loyal to, who was a prospective customer and who was a lapsed customer were difficult to understand and extract. With not enough hard facts, reports were hard to interpret, impacting productivity.

 
 

From back office to front of house

“Data capture is everything,” explains Avis Easteal, Luxasia’s Regional Head, Consumer. “With data we can see what our customers like, what they don’t like, what they are likely to be interested in and how they move around the product portfolio.” 

Traditionally, the point of sale is where data is captured. But Luxasia doesn’t own the point of sale in all stores. They had to come up with a new way to access data while building the skills and information available to the sales advisors. 

The vision for a new app rose from this drive to collect, analyse and activate the wealth of data passing through the counters. To achieve this, the app had to become a core part of the customer experience and add value for customers. With the app, Luxasia aimed to engage customers, enhance the service experience and provide further opportunities to upsell.

 
 

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A bespoke app for a personalised experience

In Heroku, Luxasia found the platform it needed to build an app that would change the face of its data collection. 

“It was critical that we have a stable, reliable platform given how important the app is in store,” Easteal explains. Because Heroku could be completely customised, Luxasia could tailor the app very specifically to its needs and ensure it reflected the Luxasia identity. 

Seamless integration with Marketing Cloud brings together consumer, sales, brand, marketing and product data for a comprehensive view of the business from every angle. 

Ease of use was of primary importance, as customers would key in their own contact data in-store. 

“I wanted an app that my mother could use,” says Easteal. “She is not very tech-savvy and our vision was for something so user-friendly that any customer could use it without feeling flustered.”

When art meets data

“A lot of our sales are about service,” says Easteal. “And that service is a real art – matching an item with a customer is an intimate experience when it comes to beauty products.”

Add data to artful service, and you have something magical. With 85-90% of customers willing to provide data in return for tailored service, product updates and a birthday gift, Luxasia created a rich mine of information. The new app puts that data at the fingertips of in-store staff. As a result, Luxasia has seen its consumer database grow by 20x since the introduction of the app.

With it they can see what brands the customer likes, what they’ve bought before, what their average spend is per visit, and whether the products they are considering today will complement current products.

The app has also made staff more mobile. No longer choosing between being trapped behind a counter or engaging properly with customers, they can take their tablet around the store. 

Gone too are the lists of promotion codes that staff had to remember – the app collates and presents only the information relevant to that day’s campaigns. With the touch of a finger, staff can deliver the right information to the right customer at the right time.

The power of one: from salesperson to ‘CEO’

Any reticence the new technology was met with in stores was quickly overcome – the app transformed not only the customer experience, but the sales experience. 

“We have a philosophy at Luxasia based on the power of one,” Easteal explains. “With one more piece of data, you can get a customer back into the store one more time, get one more item in their basket, achieve one more reward.”

Because the app shows staff when and which purchases were made by a customer, they can see products for cross-sell and upsell, and the new technology capabilities are linked to KPIs and commissions. 

Easteal says the app solidified important change at a cultural level. Beauty Advisors became Customer Engagement Officers, and their new titles linked their roles directly to the mission of customer engagement. 

Or as Easteal puts it: “not just to make a sale but to make the right sale”.

A joint effort

The app was first trialled in Singapore. Retail operations staff worked on the project through the design, test and rollout stages and joined customer engagement officers for the in-store trial so staff and customers could give feedback from the frontline. 

“Our people were taking it to other counters and saying ‘Look what we can do!’,” Easteal says. “And when that feedback came in, I knew we’d cracked it – we had a world-class product on our hands that our users loved.” 

Luxasia doesn’t plan on slowing down when it comes to data analytics. Automated journeys, machine learning, predictive analysis and more customer insights are all on the cards. 

“Now we know what a customer bought and when. Next we want to know why they bought that and what else they’ll buy.”

 
 

Recipe

 

App

Luxury beauty app

Ingredients

Heroku

Retail operations

Consumer team

IT

Project management

Brand managers

Finance team

Consultation with retail staff

Salesforce vendor

Method

 

“80% is understanding, 20% is building,” Easteal says. Make sure you understand your business before you start cooking.

 

Create a comprehensive list of all the data you need: customer, sales, stock, brand, store, salesperson.

 

Get together the relevant teams including retail operations, consumer team, IT and finance to define how data will flow and the key app functions.

 

Focus on essential functionality – defend scope creep.

 

Get input from your sales staff about how the app could make their lives better.

 

Keep it simple. Easteal explains: “If it has 100 functions, people have forgotten 80 before they get out of training and five more on the way home.”

 

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