Lucchese Bootmaker, a custom bootmaker and retailer founded in 1883, has deployed a very 21st-century solution to the challenge of connecting online consumers with its expert in-store personnel. A platform offering live video conversations between shoppers and salespeople, with the latter able to access data including the consumers' recent browsing history and the contents of their shopping carts, has helped the retailer maintain its traditional of personalized service even as COVID-19 forced the shutdown of its brick-and-mortar stores.
While only 1.9% of all web visitors are currently using the service to connect with a salesperson, those that do are converting at high rates: 29.7% of this group made a purchase, and their Average Order Volume (AOV) increased 62%, climbing from $450 to $715. The solution, from Immerss, rolled out in December 2019, just a few months before the coronavirus shuttered non-essential retail stores.
Even before the pandemic struck, however, Lucchese saw this solution as an effective way to enhance the shopper journey. The company operates nine retail stores, mostly in Texas, but “we have a significant number of customers that live all over the U.S., so we looked at this as an opportunity to virtually connect with customers who are out on a ranch in Montana or in New York City,” said Shannon McGimsey, Director of Retail at Lucchese in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.
“The personal connection that we deliver in our stores, and at all levels of our organization, is what’s differentiated us from any other bootmaker,” said McGimsey, noting that the company hand-crafts the boots it sells in a factory in El Paso, Texas. Lucchese products also are sold at retailers including Boot Barn, Sheplers and Cavender’s.
When customers initiate contact, they are asked a few questions and then are connected to a store associate’s tablet device. The Lucchese employee can “see what the customer has in their shopping cart and what they’ve been looking at, and then can suggest other items that might meet what they’re looking for,” said McGimsey. While both the associate and the customer can add items to the online shopping cart, only the customer can complete a transaction.
“We don’t have to be there for the entire shopping transaction,” said McGimsey. “Sometimes people reach out to us in the middle [of their web site visit] with questions, or they leave their shopping cart and then go back into it.”
Multiple Ways To Communicate With Customers
Immerss also offers an outbound module that allows sales associates to reach out to individuals on their contact list. This solution has messaging built in that can be delivered to a customer’s email or SMS text inboxes. “The seller sends a link to their client with a note saying ‘This is way for you to get a hold of me, how’s 3 p.m. today?’,” said Arthur Veytsman, CEO of Immerss in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The sales associate can reach out, schedule appointments, send pictures or a link to a specific collection, so it’s an ongoing communication module as well as a direct call.”
The Immerss platform also supports one-to-many livestreams that can be used for trunk shows. This module also supports chat functionality and serves as a shoppable video. “We plan to add more features, including more data tracking,” said Veytsman, adding that the company’s next goal is to become integrated into the Shopify system.
“Our platform has an open API, so we can integrate with e-Commerce platform solutions,” said Veytsman. “If the client has a CRM solution it can connect to that, so the salesperson would have access to data such as how long the person they’re talking to has been a customer, their overall purchase history, the last time they made a purchase and the most expensive item they’ve ever purchased. Because the salesperson can see that data, they’re ‘armed’ even if they don’t have a previous relationship with this shopper.”
While the platform had been in place before COVID-19, “we did see a spike in widget usage with the pandemic,” said McGimsey, adding that the length of individual calls has “gone up significantly.
“People missed coming into our stores, and this helps overcome social distancing,” he explained. “We like being able to use technology to keep connected and give customers the live shopping experience.”