Bill Zujewski, EVP MarketingThe ambit of retail operations today extends beyond a typical retail storefront as it leverages enterprise mobility solutions to personalize the in-store experience and offer customers multiple shopping options—ship-from-store, ordering online, or line busting. A major element of deterrence in creating these enhanced in-store customer experiences hinges on digitally under-equipped store associates servicing well-informed customers with access to mobile devices. With a focus on provisioning store associates with mobile technology that bridges this digital divide, NY- and Toronto-based Tulip Retail assists brick-and-mortar stores with building immersive brand experiences. The firm’s solutions help the store retailers with maintaining a substantial competitive advantage over online retail players. “Retailers today are keen on augmenting their in-store digital capabilities and this will be the year of investing in store associate-specific solutions,” reckons Bill Zujewski, EVP-Marketing, Tulip Retail.
Out-of-the-box Mobile Apps Built on a Foundational Retail Platform
Conforming to their motto of “inspiring customers beyond the store”, Tulip’s retail solutions have been crafted to holistically transform in-store experiences by connecting with customers and quantifying their engagement and buying patterns. In addition to delivering mobile retail applications, Tulip also offers a foundational retail application platform for integration and rapid development. Tulip’s flagship offering—a Mobile Store Associate App—is built on a unique Mobile Application Framework, offering a responsive UI design, seamless integration and customizability. In addition to offering associates with real-time access to product information and inventory, the mobile app gives them timely access to the head office communications and announcements. The app also offers one-on-one customer interactions allowing an associate to reach out to a customer and process transactions on the spot with an omnichannel cart and a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS).
Improving Outreach with Digital Clienteling
With online retailers luring customers with promotion tactics and content marketing strategies, digital clienteling has evolved to be a pivotal element in facilitating in-store sales. A prominent aspect of Tulip Retail’s next-generation retailing solution is clienteling, offered in a data-and personalization technology-driven way. According to Zujewski, people are unique and so they should be treated uniquely when they visit a store.
Designed with the objective of empowering the store associates with an easy-to-use mobile solution, Tulip’s Mobile Associate App makes product, inventory, or customer information readily accessible to them. This in turn helps the associates to focus on an active outreach meant to foster relationship-building with customers. For instance, with the help of a feature called Closet, a sales associate can view pictures of the outfits bought by a customer during the last 12 months. This results in a lot of in-store personalized experiences translating into more intelligent conversations as the associates gain a better understanding of customers to help build a relationship. Eventually, the customers will realize that they're getting the preferred treatment because of this exclusive relationship. “The availability of mobile applications for pulling data encourages store associates to assume the role of advisors and style guides,” explains Zujewski. “Understanding a customer’s unique tastes and preferences allows associates to personalize customer recommendations and be more valuable.
The availability of mobile applications for pulling data encourages store associates to dedicatedly assume the role of advisors and style guides
An Omnichannel View for Assisted Selling
Built specifically for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, the Mobile Associate App provides store associates access to multiple pre-built tools for an omnichannel view of a customer’s profile. The mobile app offers a dedicated suite for assisted selling, which gives an associate full access to the product catalog that holds information about omnichannel inventory, promotional offers, and product reviews to help a customer choose the right product. The app also allows associates to conduct daily tasks such as merchandising, inventory tracking, scheduling, and product training.
By consolidating data from diverse sources such as, customer profiles, product catalogs, inventory, Ecommerce and order management, the Mobile Associate App offers store associates with a smooth unified user interface. Crafted using user-centered and responsive design principles, the platform is iOS compatible and has an integration hub and connectors for the most common retail systems, to connect multiple back-ends to their database. “Along with our out-of-the-box apps, we provide a development platform for clients who want to integrate business-specific solutions,” informs Zujewski. In one instance, Tulip helped a customer with consolidating 4-5 disparate in-house applications by offering a suite of capabilities on a single UI. In addition to offering a unified look and feel by re-platforming and unifying the disparate deployments, Tulip managed to generate a tremendous increase in ROI, in addition to an upsurge in the App usage by employees by 60 percent.
Fostering Greater Customer Interactions
With the major release of their clienteling suite earlier this year, Tulip Retail integrates their SMS feature with cloud-based communication platforms such as Twilio while integrating with Microsoft Office for emailing solutions. As a part of an ongoing project for one luxury brand, the firm will provide the client with a structured way to communicate along with an audited history of what the employees are conveying to their customers. This will eventually curb the instances of “rogue clienteling” where the store associates would start the communication on their own accord with their own devices and accounts. “We provide associates several pre-written email and SMS templates, whereby the interaction is recorded and stored in a more controlled and productive environment to provide retailers with improved visibility into the communication process,” explains Zujewski.
With a laser focus on the retail arena, the firm has in a short span established its presence as a premium technology provider with an impressive list of clientele featuring prominent brands— Toys’R’Us, Kate Spade, Coach, Frye Boots, Bonobos and more—across the retail industry. “Investing in technology for retail associates, will help stores to transition from a product-centric and customer-centric to a relationship-centric selling model and expand their reach for a valuable retailing experience,” concludes Zujewski.