Case study: BCBG Max Azria checks out customer engagement chic

Fashion retailer BCBG Max Azria is stepping out in omnichannel chic with digital in-store solutions and localised web presence

Luxury fashion retailer BCBG Max Azria is kitting itself out in omnichannel chic by implementing digital solutions in-store and localising its web presence.

The BCBG brand, which is 25 years old, is tackling two ends of the omnichannel spectrum – ensuring its global customers have a great online experience, while introducing digital in-store technologies for high-street customers.

Alex Golshan, VP international for e-commerce and omnichannel at BCBG, says the retailer’s biggest growth is coming from e-commerce as it continues to improve its online presence in multiple countries. It currently sells online through standalone retail stores, as well as through department stores, franchises and partners.

BCBG has recent rolled out Demandware’s Digital Store Solution (DSS) on iPad minis in its US stores as well as its e-commerce website, allowing it to incrementally localise its brand in different countries.

Over the last 10 months the retailer has begun offering free shipping to over 100 countries, while rolling out the website in various languages including French and Spanish; German and some Asian languages are planned for the near future.

Store staff use the DSS-loaded iPads as a selling tool on the shop floor, allowing customers to browse the entire BCBG catalogue. Tying in Verifone’s payment capabilities, if a customer wants an item which is not in the current store, they can order and pay for it through the iPad on the Demandware platform.

“We rolled it out last November as we wanted to get it out before the holiday season, and it was a very aggressive project with quite a few enhancements we need to put into it,” says Golshan. “But we’re hearing really good customer stories. When people come into the store and we don’t have the right size or colour, they can find it and order from the web channel.

“The exposure of where we have products and how we get it to you – we want that to be painless. And when you come into the store, not only can you see everything we have, but we can get it to you really easily.”

The biggest priority, he says, is to make sure the brand’s presence is the same whether customers are shopping in store, online or on their mobile phone. “And today with most retailers, customers don’t get that. If you buy online, you can’t return something in-store; buy it in Bloomingdale's, and you can’t return it elsewhere.

“You want to get to the point where it doesn’t matter: you buy online, return online, to the store – basically, this whole idea of buy anywhere, return anywhere. And we don’t want you to worry about it being cheaper online; you want to have the confidence it’s the same price.”

Digital innovations

As well as rolling out Demandware’s cloud solution to help localise its retail offering abroad, BCBG is looking to implement a number of digital solutions to improve customer experience both offline and online.

We're also looking at using RFID-triggered videos in the changing room to give you inspiration on how to complete the look

Alex Golsha, VP e-commerce, BCBG

“We want to make it easy to shop online,” says Golshan, pointing to the possibility of taking customers’ measurements and including them as part of their online profile.

“When you go from brand to brand, or even from one product line to another within the same brand, sometimes you’re not sure of the fit,” he explains. “We’re seeing a trend where customers are ordering three consecutive sizes to their home because they don’t know which one fits, and they’ll probably return two of them.”

Meanwhile, in the UK, the brand is in the initial stages of partnering with publishing house Condé Nast to allow readers of magazines like Glamour and Vogue to purchase items through the magazines' digital editions.

"We're also looking at using RFID-triggered videos in the changing rooms," adds Golshan. "We have so much digital photography and video of models from all our lines. If we could take that stuff and tag it with the products and as you went into the fitting room we would know through RFID exactly what you’re taking in and then stream into that room all these different outfitting ideas.

“And I think that’s what you do when you look at Vogue or something – you’re getting ideas, sometimes you know exactly what you want, sometimes you get inspired by looking at something. What we want to do is give you all this inspiration on how to complete the look.”

This project too is in its early stages, but BCBG is hoping to trial video streaming around Christmas 2015.

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