Galeries Lafayette is a French retailer that operates 65 department stores in France and all over the world. Long before the pandemic struct, they developed a clienteling solution that puts the human aspect at the center of the communication experience.
Ramona Tudosescu, the Head of Innovation and Store Omnichannel for Galeries Lafayette, joined other experts for a live webinar recently, about preparing for reopening in the post-COVID landscape. She said having a “head start,” so to speak, on digital engagement and transformation helped immensely when COVID-19 struck.
“We were actually lucky to have the solution before the confinement happened because our objective from the beginning [as we built a new flagship store] is to build intimacy at scale,” she said. “Delivering those kinds of personalized experiences not just for 40 to 50 clients but for 40,000 clients who are all accessing that level of human interaction with the store at distance.”
Like most retailers, though, Galeries Lafayette is facing occupancy and physical restrictions as stores reopen. Galeries Lafayette plans to deal with this with a two-pronged approach to client journeys, Tudosecu said.
The first strategy is to support the mode and method of shopping that each individual customer prefers, rather than trying to force all customers into one or two specific flows, she said.
The second strategy, focused on customers who prefer a live shopping experience, is to use communications to prepare both the customer and the staff on what to expect the moment when the customer will be in the store.
“The clienteling tool that we developed with the help of the Twilio communication APIs allowed our staff to have functionalities such as shared client profiles, to be able to work in a team, to be able to switch from one channel to the other according to what the client wants, but also where the client is from,” she said. “We did have all that strategy already going on, so when COVID happened, we actually went back to the basics of retail, which is contacting all clients, reassuring them, and offering them appointments.”
Talking about what the future holds in terms of applying innovations, Ramona said that Galeries Lafayette is focused on blending brick and mortar and e-commerce to create an omnichannel experience for its customers. They are also looking at technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to enhance the remote shopping experience.