Canadian luxury shoe retail brand Aldo operates globally and omni-channel, but has only recently begun using data to create a single view of its customers across all channels, improving the brand’s ability to create a good customer experience.
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Erwin Hinteregger, Aldo’s chief marketing officer, explains at NRF Big Show 2017 that the retailer was founded in 1972 with the aim of becoming a “people company” focused on creating “love, respect and integrity” for its customers and staff.
He says it is not enough today just to have a “good culture” and adds: “We are not just a retailer any more.”
As a global enterprise that is more than 40 years old, Aldo has had to adapt to the growth of technology in the retail space, not just by going omni-channel but by offering a personalised customer experience too.
With 2,000 stores across 100 countries, online sites servicing many regions, contact centres and mobile sites, there are many touchpoints for consumers to interact with the brand.
The company has three brands, of which Aldo is the best known, and at the core of its value system is the desire to create “customer delight” through interactions with its brands.
In a bid to “truly understand the customer”, Aldo began using Salesforce to interpret its customer data to drive a more seamless, personalised customer experience.
The Aldo group implemented Salesforce Service Cloud to move its customer data to a single platform, and then used Salesforce Marketing Cloud to target customers as individuals during marketing campaigns.
As consumers become more demanding and fickle, Hinteregger says the shift towards omni-channel was also a move away from acting solely as a retailer towards acting as a brand.
“If you look back at the last 40 years or even the last five years, the retail space has changed,” he says. “There was a big change within the company to shift from a retailer to a brand-first organisation.”
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The brand wants to offer coherence and consistency across all its channels, he says, as well as create “memorable moments” that keep customers coming back.
The idea of a single customer view was originally implemented in the retailer’s call centres. Now Aldo stores have beacons that sense when a customer is nearby, and invite them to look at an item already viewed on their personal devices.
Consumers can also make appointments online to go into a store and try products out, enabling stores to ensure they have what the customer wants.
“We know that a customer is actually in the store because there is a beacon that identifies the customer,” says Hinteregger.
Stores also know which items customers have selected to try on, and in the future, Aldo aims to use Salesforce to break down data silos within the organisation to get a clearer view of customer journeys.
“What keeps me up at night is continually enhancing customer delight,” says Hinteregger.
Using in-store data
Aldo has been introducing mobile devices for consumers and sales associates in its stores to collect even more data.
The brand has many data points from which it can collect information, and it aims to improve the intelligence gained from this in future. “We have only analysed 1% of the data we have available,” says Hinteregger.
Omni-channel retail has led to bricks-and-mortar stores acting more as showrooms where consumers can try products before buying them.
Hinteregger admits that the introduction of in-store technology, as well as moving towards personalisation, has made the group’s stores a focus for an experience rather than just a sale. Since these changes began, the brand has seen a 131% increase in conversions to sales from store visits.
Targeted email marketing
The data insight gained through Salesforce led to Aldo deciding to send fewer marketing emails, but to make the ones they did sent more targeted at particular customers.
By reducing the frequency of emails, but increasing their relevance to the customer, the brand saw its email-derived revenue grow by 70% after a 40% reduction in the amount of emails sent. “Don’t bombard the consumer,” says Hinteregger.
In the future, the firm aims to build internally used applications on the Salesforce App Cloud to streamline internal operations and make it easier to distribute stock to ensure it is all sold.