High-end fashion retailers and luxury brands will pull out all the stops to please VIP customers when their stores reopen – and many will use appointment scheduling software and a virtual queuing system to do so.
We recently surveyed 2,000 US consumers to get a better understanding of their shopping behaviors during Covid-19, and here’s what we discovered:
- 86% of consumers who normally visit luxury brands were avoiding visits to stores in the weeks leading up to the lockdown.
- 83% of consumers who normally visit fashion and apparel brands were avoiding visits to stores in the weeks leading up to the lockdown.
These insights suggest that the vast majority of luxury and high-end fashion customers will still be sceptical about making unnecessary trips to stores even after the lockdown is lifted unless brands can build customer confidence and help put their minds at ease.
Here are four ways high-end fashion retailers and luxury brands are ensuring social distancing for their customers while creating VIP experiences using appointment scheduling and queue management software:
1) Establishing virtual queues and one-to-one appointments for VIP customers
Instead of asking their customers to line up in queues outside of stores, many retailers are investing in retail queue management software that allow customers to join a queue remotely and come back when their turn draws near. This helps reduce the risk of customers contracting the virus, limits the number of customers in store, and creates a more pleasant waiting experience.
However, many high-end retailers plan to create special queues for their VIP customers as well, enabling a faster, streamlined waiting experience for their most loyal patrons.
Another option many luxury brands are using is asking customers to book a time slot to enter their store using appointment scheduling software. This way store teams can monitor how many customers are in their store at once, and stagger visits throughout the day, as well as create a seamless shopping experience for the customer. For VIP customers wanting expert advice or support, many retailers are using the same software to create personalised one-to-one appointments with store associates when they visit.
2) Creating contactless curbside click and collect
For customers wanting to pickup an item they have bought online without entering the store, many high-end fashion retailers are investing in curbside click and collect check-in software.
This approach allows customers to check-in from outside the store using their smartphone device and alert store associates via SMS, email or weblink to let them know they have arrived. The item(s) are then brought out to the customer at the car park, curbside or store entrance, creating a quick and contactless pickup experience while limiting the number of customers waiting around in store.
3) Drastically reducing the number of customers in-store
Many essential retailers such as banks and supermarkets have done a great job at honing their in-store customer journeys and finding new ways to reduce risk, such as looking at busy or tight spaces where customers can easily come into contact with one another and finding ways to counter the problem.
They have also quickly realized that, while stopping walk-in customers from being able to enter a store when they please isn’t ideal, it creates a much better and safer experience for everyone in the long run. That’s why many high-end retailers are drastically reducing the number of people allowed in store to create a calmer atmosphere where customers feel comfortable shopping – which is especially important when making expensive purchasing decisions.
4) Building personalized relationships online
Covid-19 has essentially flipped retail on its head. Previously, stores were places where you could build relationships with consumers by creating powerful and inspirational experiences that encouraged people to learn more about your brand, while online channels were for making purchases or discovering more details about your products.
But in today’s Covid-19 environment, consumers are entering stores to quickly make a purchase or pickup a product (if they’re visiting stores at all), while the online environment has become the place where consumers are open to building relationships with brands.
Many leading luxury retailers have realized this and are enabling customers to book online video appointments with sales consultants for services like fashion or styling advice, or to discover more about their products. They are also engaging consumers by creating online events for everything from product launches to virtual runways.
While Covid-19 has created a lengthy list of challenges for high-end and luxury brands, now is a greater time than ever for retailers to strengthen and refine their omni-channel retail offerings and invest in streamlining their in-store experiences.