This month, we introduced HERO® for Shopify, where stores of all sizes — from thriving chains to boutique pop-ups — can leverage the power of virtual shopping to grow their business.
Shopify-based retailers UNTUCKit and Credo Beauty are leading the charge, enabling online customers to shop virtually via text, chat, and video call with store teams through Hero’s technology.
At the height of the lockdown when all of its locations were closed, UNTUCKit tapped Hero to bring its in-store experience to customers online. Credo Beauty, meanwhile, was able to keep its entire workforce on payroll during store closures, connecting associates with customers to deliver virtual consultations to anyone, anywhere. Sales via Hero now account for an astounding 15% of Credo Beauty’s total revenue.
To understand exactly how Shopify brands like UNTUCKit and Credo Beauty are successfully bringing the in-store experience to online customers, we invited Director of Sales and Clienteling at UNTUCKit, Kaitlin Gottlieb, Director of Retail at Credo Beauty, Cathy Arens, and Senior Product Marketing Manager at Shopify, Kevin Donnelly, to join a virtual panel moderated by Hero Founder Adam Levene.
Revisit the entire conversation and check out four key insights below:
1. Shoppers are seeking out independent retailers. While industry experts predicted a shift towards independent retailers over the next 10 years running on platforms like Shopify, COVID-19 brought about this change overnight. “Consumers are shopping online and locally more than ever. They’re turning to independent brands they can rely on to get them the product on time,” says Donnelly.
Hero’s newly launched partnership with Shopify helps independent retailers meet this unexpected demand by delivering the friendly, personal experience customers have come to expect from local stores through 1-on-1 chat and video calls.
2. Industry leaders offer a seamless omnichannel experience. What sets nearly all leading retailers apart from the rest is their capacity to offer the in-store experience to customers near and far. Gottlieb is quick to point out UNTUCKit’s ability to service fit through video calls, a difficult challenge for any apparel retailer that’s led to unprecedented customer enthusiasm.
Even when foot traffic picks up again, it’s clear that a premium virtual shopping experience like the ones offered by UNTUCKit and Credo Beauty — both powered by Hero — are here to stay.
3. There’s no substitute for human connection. Despite whisperings of bots and self-service replacing the role of the store associate, there’s simply no substitute for human connection. “I’m blown away on a daily basis by the amount of customers that write in and share their experience,” shares Arens, who was able to move 60 employees to a work from home basis while extending chat hours from 8am to 10pm. Store managers know their associates are their strongest brand ambassadors and with Hero’s technology that knowledge and passion can be delivered face-to-face to anyone in the world.
4. Selling beyond the four walls. COVID-19 has forced the retail industry to reimagine the role of the associate. From covering the shopfloor to preparing online orders for contactless curbside pickup, the value of associates becomes greater and greater as they learn more aspects of the business. That’s why it’s imperative to support associates through their growth with intuitive tools that feature built-in emotional and monetary incentives, allowing associates to expand their reach.
“The motivation factor for our employees is that they get to connect with customers beyond those four walls,” says Gottlieb. “Clients take time out of their day to say ‘thank you so much for allowing Lauren in Boston to chat with me. She changed my life. She helped me select products. She shade-matched me perfectly.’ It’s amazing,” expands Arens.