Laura Canada


Laura Canada fashions a great customer experience with richer personalization

Laura Canada has been a Trailblazer from day one. Founded by Laura Wolstein in 1930 before women in the country even had the right to vote, the Canadian womenswear retailer was an instant hit with customers. The friendly, familiar, and customized service that defined the first Laura boutique is still a core company commitment today.

“We pride ourselves on really getting to know our customers,” said Marco Nobert, Vice President of CRM, Digital Marketing, and eCommerce for Laura Canada. “Our sales associates give such good personal service that it’s like going shopping with a friend.”

With Salesforce, Laura Canada can bring this same level of personal service to its digital channels. “We want customers to feel connected to our brand even if they never visit one of our stores,” explained Nobert. “With Salesforce, we can personalize everything from marketing emails and website pages to live chats with customer service agents.” 
Wolstein’s grandson, Kalman Fisher, took control of the business in 1973, and has built on her trailblazing legacy: there are now more than 140 stores in 70 cities across Canada, as well as a thriving online business. The retailer has two core brands that offer a curated wardrobe collection to outfit her for the everyday – and the exceptional – moments that matter. Laura caters to women regular, petite and plus-size. Melanie Lyne, on the other hand, caters to the modern woman, offering fashion forward pieces to complete a wardrobe suited for workdays and special occasions; an elevated take on classic style – high-quality, contemporary clothing for every occasion. Both focus on occasion dresses, a speciality that Laura Canada hopes to expand along with its growing online presence.

As its retail footprint has grown both through new physical stores and digital channels, Laura Canada needed to ensure it could deliver a personalized customer service at scale. A fragmented approach to ecommerce was first on the transformation agenda along with creating a responsive site for the Laura brand. “We wanted to move to a single platform for both brands to eliminate duplication of effort and provide a more consistent customer experience,” explained Nobert.

The transformation needed to happen fast. With ecommerce increasingly important to the retailer’s bottom line, Laura Canada wanted to ensure it maximized the online shopping spend from the 2016 holiday season. And with Salesforce, it did just that. “We signed the contract in April, and had new Laura and Melanie Lyne sites running by October. Salesforce dramatically increases our speed to market,” said Nobert. 

With Salesforce, we have the flexibility we need to bring new features and integrations to market quickly and easily.”

Marco Nobert, Vice President of CRM, Digital Marketing, and eCommerce, Laura Canada

Richer online experience increases ecommerce sales by 400%.

The sites, which feature gorgeous product photography, a shared cart, and enhanced product detail page, to name a few, are founded on Commerce Cloud. The improved online shopping experience has contributed to a massive 400% increase in ecommerce sales in three years. “We’ve elevated the look and feel of our websites and it’s changed the perception of our entire brand. The different segments of Laura customers now see a personalized home page based on their previous browsing history,” said Nobert.

Commerce Cloud has provided the foundations for Laura Canada to make other changes, such as an enhanced site navigation, header and footer, as well as launching the ‘ship from store’ functionality. More than a third of products are now shipped via this service, which has unlocked a new revenue stream. Integration between Commerce Cloud and the retailer’s order management system are key to supporting this service and its overall ecommerce operation.

Speed to market was a key driver not just for the launch of the new sites but also for ongoing changes. A staging environment helps Laura Canada test proposed new features and makes scheduling and executing promotions easier. “With Commerce Cloud, we can automate when a promotion launches rather than someone manually pressing a button when it starts and finishes, which could be at midnight!,” said Nobert.

Personalized emails drive customer engagement and online sales.

Laura Canada uses Marketing Cloud to update customers about these promotions as well as keep them engaged during their online shopping journey. “With Marketing Cloud, we can send automated emails to welcome new customers, remind them about abandoned shopping carts, and alert them about price drops for certain products,” explained Nobert.

Laura Canada plans to take personalized customer communications one step further with Journey Builder in 2020. Enriching email communications is key; around 30% of online sales are prompted by messages sent via Marketing Cloud.

Visibility of all customer interactions enables a faster response to queries.

Customers also engage with the two brands via live chat, email, and phone. All these interactions are logged in Service Cloud, which is used by more than 12 customer service agents at the Laura Canada contact center. “Service Cloud makes our agents much more efficient. It reduces manual data entry and provides a single view of the customer, which enables agents to answer queries more rapidly and accurately,” said Nobert.

As a result of these efficiency gains, agents can now handle 120 cases compared with 40 previously. But this is not a measure of success for Laura Canada: customer satisfaction is the number one priority across every channel.

This focus on the customer experience prompted Laura Canada to introduce a trailblazing app that enables in-store advisors to make personalized recommendations based on previous purchases. With Einstein, the retailer can make similar recommendations when customers are browsing online. “We want to make the shopping experience interactive, easy, and fun, so that people become regular visitors to both our sites and stores,” added Nobert. 

Laura Canada brings new customer services to market quickly and easily.

As online shopping and sales gain momentum, Laura Canada needs to ensure it can cope with peaks in demand. “With Commerce Cloud, we have the scalability to deal with traffic spikes on key dates in the retail calendar, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said Nobert.

Laura Canada wants to keep enriching the customer experience - especially online. Salesforce Accelerators and Trailhead help the ecommerce team learn about new Commerce Cloud features and spot new opportunities. The retailer plans to implement Salesforce Customer 360 towards the end of 2019 and create single customer identities for both store and online purchases.

“With Salesforce, we have the flexibility we need to bring new features and integrations to market quickly and easily,” said Nobert. “It enables us to improve the customer experience across all engagement channels.”

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