Humans of Commerce, HERO®’s monthly virtual event series featuring the people shaping the new world of retail, fashion, and commerce, continued with Kaitlin Gottlieb, Director of Sales & Clienteling, UNTUCKit on Thursday, March 18.
At the peak of the lockdown when all of its stores were closed, casual dress shirt experts UNTUCKit partnered with Hero to bring its in-store experience to customers online. Known for its expert style recommendations and fit guidance, UNTUCKit leveraged virtual shopping to connect customers with an associate in their nearest store via text, chat or video.
Watch the full webinar here.
Exactly one year after the lockdown first took hold, Kaitlin shared successes and learnings for connecting the physical and digital retail experience. The results of adopting virtual shopping were immediate and remarkable: 88% of customers shopping virtually followed through with a purchase within 24 hours of chatting, while 17% of customers returned to chat.
Kaitlin also touched on tips and tricks for bringing UNTUCKit employees up to speed on selling virtually, alongside the incentives in place to keep store teams motivated. Kaitlin even shared UNTUCKit’s best practices for delivering the IRL experience virtually.
To hear more about the success UNTUCKit has seen with virtual shopping and their plans for coming out of lockdown, Hero COO Natasha Franzen caught up with Kaitlin as part of the third installment of Humans of Commerce.
Revisit the conversation here and check out 4 key insights below:
1. Always ask yourself, “what’s in it for me?” Kaitlin and her team live and breathe the phrase, “what’s in it for me?”, or as an acronym, “WIIFM.” A rhetorical question designed to inspire UNTUCKit store teams to consider all points of view—the customer’s, the overall business’ and their own—these simple words help associates understand the value proposition of virtual shopping at its core.
“Hero really aligned with UNTUCKit’s ‘WIIFM’ for both the customers and our store teams. We could easily see the value in connecting online shoppers with in-store associates, letting in-store experts guide customers through fit, fabric and outfit-building.”
2. Don’t overlook the importance of training. When asked about the underlying preparations driving UNTUCKit’s success with virtual shopping, Kaitlin emphasized and reiterated the importance of training. Once UNTUCKit went live with virtual shopping, Kaitlin and her team kept reinforcing best practices while pivoting when necessary.
“The training and pre-go live phase was absolutely crucial. Practicing chats on the app, in particular, really helped us understand what the experience would feel like. We spent a lot of time building what the customer journey might be like. Once we were live we started refining the experience in real time, providing feedback from real chats to our teams to build on that early success.”
3. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. At the heart of the virtual shopping experience is a familiar rapport. Kaitlin made it clear that customers love the combination of chatting with a real person, while receiving photos and videos directly from their nearest store. It’s an effective formula that shows no signs of slowing down.
“We found texts in conjunction with photos and videos worked wonders, especially when sharing assets that are fit-related. Through this combination, we’re able to describe and show the difference between fits and recommend shirts based on occasion like, ‘is it for work or will you wear this shirt informally?’ Ultimately, visual examples directly from the store guided by an associate is what helps bring these products to life.”
4. Start digitally, continue physically. Emerging from the lockdown, Kaitlin discussed the importance of continuing to build relationships between customers and associates. While most began online through Hero, UNTUCKit is tapping the power of virtual clienteling to invite shoppers in-store, many for the first time.
“With the end of the pandemic in sight, we’re tapping the Contacts feature to keep building and fostering the relationships between associates and shoppers. We know we want to continue to drive lifetime value so we’re doing everything from inviting customers to their nearest store for a private event to personally offering them our latest ‘Founder’s Favorites’ promotion.”
5. Data drives decisions. Decisions drive sales. A live dashboard gives store teams insights into customer behavior in real time. For UNTUCKit, that means comparing performance over time and using those insights to impact strategy to leveraging increased site traffic to drive further sales.
“A live dashboard means we can react to increased traffic in real time. For instance, if we send out a marketing email and see a sudden increase in chats, we can shift associates online and close sales that otherwise might have been lost. Reacting in the moment is key in retail.”