Last week, we attended the ‘Online Innovation in a Crisis’ webinar, run by Internet Retailing. Matt Henton, Head of Ecommerce at Moss Bros, shared Moss Bros’ approach to innovating their customer experience and how it’s important to tailor the offering (no pun intended!) for customers.
No Trading? No Problem
Matt explained that Moss Bros made the decision to close the site to new orders which prevented customers from being able to add items to their bag and to complete the purchase.
He said: “Instead (of the usual website), we asked customers to leave their email address so we could get back in touch when we were trading. When we implemented this, we expected a 100% bounce rate of visitors to the site, but whilst what we saw was yes, an increase in bounce rate as a lot more of our visitors bounced after landing on the homepage, we were surprised. The most surprising thing to us was that largely people were carrying on as normal: navigating to category pages, clicking through to product pages… lots of our visitors were having normal customer journeys, they just weren’t able to add items to the bag.
“We then thought about how to capture that interest.”
Here’s how Moss Bros embraced this challenge and how they improved their digital customer experience.
1. Bag It for Later
Matt explained: “We launched “bag it for later” on the 30th March. The website made it clear that you could add items but not buy them that day and, when we reopened the site on the 13th May, we sent an email that recreated the content of the customer’s bag. On the 13th May, we saw a 50% conversion: it was 4 times the level we would normally expect to see, even 2/3 times more than we’d usually see on Black Friday.
“It was still incredibly small numbers that what we’d usually expect in this period, but finding a solution to capture demand was an easy way of getting back to customers and gave people the option to register their intent with us.”
2. Tailor Me
Matt explained: “Another innovative thing for customers to do was “tailor me”, our made to measure customised suiting option. We initially launched it in January this year as an in-store service offering but we took it online and allowed customers to build a suit, completely to your own specification.
“It also means if there’s a resurgence – and we have to shut our doors again – we can still offer a personalised service to our customers. By adding a “customise this suit” call to action alongside our standard ready to wear products, it allows the customers to go into the configurator, personalise the suit with a monogram, change any elements about it and truly make it their own. Then they can just enter their sizes and the suit can be made for them.”
3. Bring the Store Experience Online
Matt said: “Suiting is the most expensive item in a man’s wardrobe and it’s not a regular purchase. So, we wondered how can we tap into the expertise in store and offer it in our digital customer experience?
“Our store colleagues are back at work but they’re not especially busy as store footfall is dramatically down. So, we’ve started a virtual styling service, which is a good way of getting web visitors to book a visit in store. We also recognise a lot of customers aren’t available to go in store so we flipped that: customers can now book an appointment but for a virtual customer appointment. They receive a Zoom link, our store colleagues find out what they’re shopping for then, the store colleagues will start the zoom call and give the service that they’re famous for, but over a video call.
“As part of that process, the store colleagues can “build a bag” for the customer and talk them through how to measure themselves. They can add those items (that they’ve shown the customer during the appointment) to the bag for the customer, then send them a link which the customer can add or take anything away. The customer can then complete the sale as a normal transaction.”
An Opportunity to Reflect
Lockdown has brought many challenges to the retail sector, but Matt offered an alternative viewpoint.
He said: “We asked ourselves: how do we keep visitors coming back and engaging with the brand, even if the usual transaction isn’t possible? It’s forced a lot of brands like ours to look at digital experience, but also experience for the experience’s sake, rather than focused at a path to conversion.
“This wouldn’t normally have been on the agenda for this year, but it was promoted by thinking how do we offer that Moss Bros service in a digital way and to tap into the knowledge and experience that our store staff have got. In a strange sort of way, it’s been easier to be agile during lockdown. Whereas before we might have debated the approach to do something, this situation and the requirement to act quickly has been something that we’ve really been able to respond to. We’ve almost had to think like a start-up would think and pull together in a short amount of time.”
Matt said: “Every business and retailer has been affected by the pandemic – menswear in particular. In formalwear, we’re famous for weddings and race days – clearly those things have completely gone away since the pandemic struck. So, we’ve been particularly badly affected but I’m glad to say we are slowly starting to creep back and, with weddings returning, we’re expecting to see business start to come back. 2021 will be a busy year for weddings and family events with a lot of catch up, which feeds well into the future for our business.
“I really don’t know what the next 12 months will look like… I’m excited to keep this pace going but I think we’ve got some good examples of ways we can work better and focus more on the customer experience. Overall, it’s about understanding what the customers are doing. Understanding what the intent is when customers visit your site and using your best assets to deliver some engaging and fun customer experiences are fundamental.”
How Can OMIO PIM help?
OMIO PIM gives retailers and brands the platform to tailor their online content specifically for the channel that certain products are going to be sold on, giving an opportunity to change the tone or messaging to be in line with a certain customer segment. For example, the same product might be sold on John Lewis, ASOS and Amazon, but all three channels could have different types of customers engaging with and buying the product. Whilst it’s important to offer a cohesive customer experience no matter where the product is being brought from, it’s also vital to provide a personalised customer journey to increase the chances of conversion.