Brands in the luxury product category have always been priced at a premium – understood to be due to their higher quality and positive reputation. Today however, the battle is on for these brands to differentiate and it’s coming down to their ability to deliver an outstanding, hyper-personalized customer experience that will win and retain their high value customers.
In this age of hybrid commerce and omnichannel retail, customers research, purchase and seek post-purchase support not just in the physical store, but in their homes and on their phones. This multi-channel shopping experience has really challenged retailers, forcing them to explore technology and opportunities to take their customer relationships to the next level.
Doing so however, can be difficult – but some have already succeeded. I’m going to let you know how!
** Fun Fact: 3 of 4 of the top retail chains in Europe rely on Solace as their EDA partner. **
The secret sauce is a new(ish) approach to data movement and connectivity within globally distributed retail companies: event-driven architecture. EDA has been adopted by most of the world’s largest retailers as the foundation of their digital transformation journey.
To follow are a couple of customer stories I wanted to share that exemplify how luxury retail brands are using EDA to give their customers VIP experience, even as their shopping, purchasing and ownership experience spans in-store, online and mobile channels.
A leading British luxury fashion brand struggled during Covid to shift inventory/sales to virtually 100% e-commerce, and allocate inventory between online and in store. Post pandemic, the brand struggled to achieve a consolidated view of inventory across channels, which is necessary to allow fulfilment of orders from nearby stores or their central distribution center which would optimize their stock levels for efficiency.
This was the result of their systems – primarily ERP and order management – which share information via direct/API/point-to-point/synchronous/tightly-coupled connections and which were built before their customer interactions changed when COVID hit. Nothing was real-time, systems were a nightmare to maintain, and they were always applying a ‘best guess’ factor to forecasting inventory levels and locations instead of knowing with certainty where their beautiful bags and accessories are.
By adopting EDA and implementing an event mesh as a foundation for streaming real-time data between front and back-end systems, they’ve broken down barriers between data silos and are getting all kinds of operational data, including SAP data flowing in real-time across applications, environments, and geographies.
This has given them a reliable up–to–the moment understanding of where their inventory is – and where it needs to be – so they can maximize sales in whatever channel or region presents the best opportunity for profit and customer satisfaction at a given time.
A European conglomerate that produces and sells diverse luxury goods — jewelry, watches, leather goods, pens, firearms, clothing and accessories – wanted to get real-time data flowing across a global network of maisons and retailer partners so they could personalize the customer experience with a new customer-centric, real-time omnichannel retail business model.
The company’s clients were demanding more choice, newness and a ‘see-now, buy-now’ experience driven by the popularity of digital and ATAWD (anytime, anywhere, any device) commerce. At the same time, they still wanted a personalized touch, styling advice, curation, and access to the voice behind the brand.
Unfortunately, they were struggling to understand and leverage customer activity and preferences based on not just purchases but page views, conversations with in-store sales reps, returns, warranty issues, etc. They wanted to capture, synthesize and present all of that data so they could have richer conversations when welcoming them to stores, offering early access to new products, inviting them to VIP events, etc.
To do this they used EDA to create a new retail model that provides a superior route to market for their brands, while delivering better economic performance than the traditional luxury business model. Specifically, they used Solace Solace PubSub+ Platform to build an event mesh that links applications running on-premises and in several clouds. This event mesh facilitates the flow of information about transactions and other events and conversations occurring across thousands of factories and stores, both physical and virtual. Watch the video below to hear more about this story.
With real-time customer interaction data at their fingertips, the business model is propelling their brand’s customer experiences to a new level of luxury by offering customers a seamless online/offline experience. The company has also improved their understanding of the customer journey and client preferences, to such a degree that their maisons can adapt rapidly to changing levels of demand or differing ways clients want to interact.
With these examples in mind, the real-time distribution of data (whether it be customer data, inventory, online shopping transaction, POS interactions … to name a few) has become key to unlocking the next generation of successful digital transformation for retailers.
Keen to learn more about what event-driven architecture could do for your organization, and how to get started building an event mesh? I’d highly recommend you check out Solace EDA Solutions for Real-Time Retail webpage and give this whitepaper a read.The Architect's Guide to Real-Time RetailThe 6 steps necessary to architect a scalable, real-time, event-based ecosystem for retailers expanding their global, multichannel footprint.