House of Anita Dongre designs seamless omni-channel shopping experiences with Salesforce
House of Anita Dongre stitches together online and offline customer data into a single view, enabling targeted marketing, engaging ecommerce, and faster service.
When Anita Dongre set up her fashion house in 1995, all she had was two sewing machines and the support of her family. With that alone, she would establish and grow the eponymous House of Anita Dongre (HOAD) into one of India’s biggest fashion empires.
Today, HOAD is synonymous with impeccable Indian craftsmanship and modern global designs. The company has several distinct brands – Anita Dongre (bridal, couture prêt, menswear), Anita Dongre Grassroot (organic clothes), AND (western wear), AND Girl (for a younger clientele) Global Desi (ethnic wear), Global Desi Girl and the newly launched Itse (effortless ethnic wear).
HOAD has invested heavily in offline retail, with 260 exclusive brand stores and 745 multi-brand large format stores in India alone.
“Customers still want to touch and feel an outfit before buying it – that hasn’t changed with COVID-19,” observes Kavindra Mishra, MD and CEO, HOAD. “What has changed is the need for omni-channel retailing. More customers are going online to discover and engage with our brands, even as they visit our offline stores to experience and purchase our products.
“We aim to offer them a connected experience across both mediums.”
House of Anita Dongre
Untying the knots in customer experience
Previously, HOAD’s ecommerce and offline retail businesses operated in siloes with multiple disparate systems and separate customer databases. A fragmented view of the customer made it difficult for teams to deliver consistent experiences. Also, the company’s ecommerce website kept experiencing downtime issues.
The existing CRM tool was used more as an earn-and-burn loyalty program solution. It couldn’t be used to segment customers or run targeted campaigns. Then COVID-19 hit, pushing HOAD to explore opportunities in digital marketing. Instead of continuing to create one ad campaign per season for print and outdoor, they began producing multiple, on-going campaigns for digital.
All this convinced the leadership team of the need for a single, integrated solution to stitch together online and offline customer journeys into a unified experience.
“COVID-19 taught us that the best way to stay connected and top-of-mind among consumers was to engage with them digitally,” says Mishra. “But to do that, we needed the right systems and tools. Salesforce was the perfect fit.”
Today, HOAD has digitally transformed its marketing, ecommerce, and service processes. The company’s entire front-end – including its website, order management processes, CRM, PoS system and customer service program – is powered by a single platform.
“With Salesforce, we’re breaking down the walls between online and offline to create a unified customer view,” says Mishra. “So, whichever platform our customers visit – our website or our offline stores – we can offer them a seamless omni-channel experience.”
Tailoring marketing messages to each customer’s needs, and boosting sales
Using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, HOAD has united all its engagement platforms around the customer. The marketing team now has a connected customer view to deliver the right messages with the right context on the right channels.
“Almost 85% of our sales come from offline customers - but earlier, we could only communicate with them through SMSs,” says Mishra. “Now, with the integration of offline and online data, we can also target them on digital channels with highly relevant ads.”
With Marketing Cloud Advertising, teams can deliver 1-to-1 ads at scale on the customer’s preferred channel. Powerful insights on customer engagement and behaviour flow in through Salesforce Einstein. Using this data with Marketing Cloud Personalisation, teams can customise every marketing message.
“For instance, we now know which customers are deal-seekers based on their shopping behaviour,” explains Mishra. “So, if we’re hosting an end-of-season flash sale online, the ads are specifically directed to our deal-seeker audiences.”
The marketing team also uses Marketing Cloud Engagement to segment audiences, and then trigger personalised customer lifecycle management (CLM) campaigns. So, if a customer’s loyalty points are about to expire, they’re automatically sent a customised reminder communication. This has boosted redemption rates significantly.
“Gone are the days of carpet-bombing customers with mass communication,” says Mishra. “Today, audiences only receive messages that are targeted to their needs.
Targeted SMS campaigns have increased HOAD’s average transaction value (ATV) by 38%, when compared to offline sale ATVs. They’ve also contributed to 8% of online sales. And are showing a 0.5% conversion rate, together with email campaigns.
Now, WhatsApp campaigns are resulting in even higher conversions.
“The more we grow omni-channel engagement, the higher our fresh sales on the website,” says Mishra. “In an average month, 30% of our sales come from full-price products.”
Cross-selling has also improved since teams have better visibility into customers across brands.
“Earlier, we didn’t know if an AND customer was also a Global Desi Customer,” says Mishra. “But now all that data is available in a single source of truth. This makes it easier to cross-sell products and increase our wallet share.”
Data from PoS and ecommerce platforms flows straight into Tableau Analytics. Here, leadership can measure marketing ROI based on how much sales each campaign generated, where those sales came from (online or offline), and which categories converted better.
“We now know that our CRM campaigns contribute to about 25% of sales,” says Mishra. “That’s helping us set more realistic marketing targets.”
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Weaving a customer-centric approach to ecommerce
HOAD also uses Salesforce Commerce Cloud to optimise ecommerce experiences across the Anita Dongre, AND, Global Desi and Itse websites.
“Our websites look brighter, sharper and more appealing,” says Mishra. “Plus, downtime issues have been minimised. So, customers have a great, engaging shopping experience.”
Customers can go online to pre-book a HOAD outfit from an upcoming collection – or place a customised order (e.g., a bridal lehenga). Payments are simple and seamless.
“Previously, teams had to email payment links to the customer, and manually track payment instalments,” recounts Mishra. “But now, the entire process is automated. This makes it easier and quicker for customers to shop and order with us.”
HOAD has also integrated loyalty and gift programs with Salesforce. So, customers can easily purchase and redeem points or vouchers online. “By improving the ecommerce experience, we’ve increased online sales by 3x,” says Mishra.
The online platforms are also helping HOAD drive more traffic to their offline stores where teams can build a more personalised, human-to-human connection with customers. For instance, through a click-and-collect option that enables customers to block an outfit online, and pick it up at the nearest store.
HOAD now wants to take omni-channel retailing to the next level.
“Let’s say a customer on the AND website puts an outfit in their cart, but leaves before purchasing it,” says Mishra. “When they next visit our offline store, we should be able to tell them, ‘Here’s the outfit you picked online. Would you like to try it on in-store?’
“That kind of connected service makes for a truly exceptional customer experience.”
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Fashioning connected service experiences
Online customers who want to know about the status of their order, shipment or refund can call the HOAD service centre. Through Salesforce Service Cloud, agents can view the customer’s complete purchase and service history on a single screen to resolve their queries quickly.
Customers can also opt for digital service through WhatsApp, enabled by Salesforce Digital Engagement.
Soon, HOAD will integrate Salesforce Social Studio with Social Customer Service. So, agents can monitor and resolve service-related issues straight from the company’s social feed.
The goal is to improve conversions even further among existing customers. “Customer loyalty is no longer a given,” says Mishra. “We have to keep innovating and challenging ourselves to elevate customer experiences.”