Drapers Fashion Forum 2017. See you there Thursday, 12 October

We'll be at Drapers Fashion Festival on Thursday, 17 October. We look forward to catching up and hosting you during our presentation with MATCHESFASHION.COM at 3pm.

Retail stores are in the middle of a perfect storm as physical and digital collide. During this session, you’ll see things from a customer's perspective, immersing yourself in a journey of discovery. We’ll explore the challenges faced by sales associates when striving to provide exceptional customer experiences, while also looking at the changing role of stores and new standards for customer engagement.

Top Retail CRM Provider 2017 - Retail CIO Outlook Magazine

Proximity Insight are delighted to be recognized by Retail CIO Outlook as one of the top 10 retail CRM solution providers for 2017!
Retail CIO Outlook

To be considered for inclusion, companies had to “showcase in-depth expertise in delivering innovative CRM solutions that boost operational efficiency for retailers”. At Proximity Insight, this's what we are all about. We understand the importance of enabling in-store touch points and view this as a significant opportunity for the retail sector. In-store transactions account for 80-90 percent of all retail sales and that figure is projected to remain consistent for the next decade. We help our clients produce dynamic clienteling business tools that help sales associates navigate the entire customer lifecycle, and drive sales by providing the best customers to contact, along with the right channel, messaging and timing that will resonate.

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NYC NRF 2017 Wrap Up

NRF 2017 in New York City was bigger and better than ever, with over 35,000 attendees and 500 exhibitors. All the usual technology vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, IBM and Intel were there to demo the latest offerings to retailers from all over the world. After the acquisition of Demandware (now Commerce Cloud), Salesforce is quickly becoming a serious player in the retail space, and their presence increased dramatically at this year’s show.

The theme this year was a typical one: the future of retail and how the environment needs to shift to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving consumer.

In his keynote, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich described how customer insight will transform retail by creating opportunities to predict customer behavior. This will reinvent the store experience and transform how retailers utilize analytics.

"Data is at the heart of the customer relationship, and it’s driving transformation."
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All About Me: The Value of Customer-Centric Focus

By Craig Crawford
First Published by AATCC News


Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, shopping has become a 24/7 experience. Digitally-savvy consumers research before purchase, and share their experiences—good or bad—socially. Consumers expect to shop frictionlessly anytime, anywhere, and on any device with free shipping, free returns, and receive assistance in real time online or on the phone. They also expect to order online and pick up in store.

As brands align behavior in the physical and digital spaces, it makes sense that they become “customer centric”—putting the customer at the center of everything they do to create the best customer experience.

“Most brands struggle today to deliver a positive experience from sale through service,” explains Billy Loizou, Chief Marketing Technologist at Digital Logic Marketing Solutions, an Australian-based digital marketing agency that specializes in online and offline campaigns for medium to large-sized companies. According to Loizou, “89% of customers are leaving brands due to a bad customer experience.”

“Organizations are no longer just focused on the ‘increase in ROI.’ They are now also conscious of two other metrics: ‘Customer Satisfaction’ and the ‘Willingness to Recommend.’ The close link between service and marketing is now apparent,” he explains.

Kester Dobson, Head of Technology for London based Harris + Hoole, a specialty coffee chain aiming to “Bring Better Coffee to the High Street,” agrees.

“Brick and mortar retailing and hospitality brands have historically been focused on sales/labor ratios, product margins, and operational efficiency,” Dobson says. “While many brands talk about customer-centric experiences, it’s only lip service until you accept that all this ‘customer experience stuff’ could have a detrimental impact on some of these finance KPIs. The brands that succeed here accept the long term benefit of investing in the customer as part of a relationship, not just a series of transactions.”

“It’s no surprise that companies who invest in a ‘customer-centric’ strategy are seeing amazing results in their overall business KPI’s,” Loizou says. “The best brands in the world provide their customers with a memorable experience. That experience creates an emotional connection which will stay with the customer for life.”

“The CEO of ao.com [London-based Appliances Online] spends two hours a day responding to customers, signing letters,” says Will Dymott, Head of Data and CRM at Practicology, a London-based consultancy focused on eCommerce and multi-channel retailing. “Their whole business was reinvented when they put their focus on the customer,” he explains. “Instead of figuring out the best offer, now they work on giving the best service. Case in point, the call center staff have the ability to send flowers without approval if an order is messed up.”

“On every project, we build out from the customer,” explains Jeremy Wilson, Practicology’s Chief Commercial Officer.

In 2011, Burberry was considered an early adopter of ‘click to chat’ (the ability to have real time chat messaging with a sales associate) and ‘click to call’ (the ability to schedule a call back from a sales associate when it is convenient for you) technologies. Today, brands that don’t offer these plug ins as well as ‘click and collect’ services are viewed as laggards. (‘Click and collect’ allows a customer to purchase online and pick up in-store instead of being charged for shipping).

“Click and Collect is a convenience our customers want,” explains Cathy McCabe, CIO Jaeger, a London-based fashion brand and retailer of menswear and womenswear. McCabe also looks after customer strategy for Jaeger, since technology touches every part of the brand vision.

“Buying online and trying on in-store gives the customer the confidence she needs when shopping for clothes online,” McCabe explains. “And it gives us the opportunity to learn more about our online customer in-store.”

Jaeger has recently launched an in store clienteling iPad app. Shortlisted this year for three Drapers Digital Awards and two Retail Week Customer Experience Awards, the app allows sales associates to see a customer’s purchase history and ecommerce wish list, make recommendations for purchase, and send personalized emails to customers.

“The real shift here is that brands now have the ability to create and maintain relationships with their customers through digital tools like clienteling,” says Steve Orell, Partner-Operations of New York-based Proximity Insight, creators of the clienteling app used by Jaeger.

Fifteen marketing industry insiders in the Direct Marketing News 2016 Marketing Outlook eBook (Part 1) cite personalization, customer insight, and technology as pivotal to successful customer relationship management.

“To remain competitive, brands must be proactive in their understanding of their customers and reach out to them in personal meaningful ways,” Orell says.

“Personalization can take so many forms—everything from a clustering algorithm picking the product it thinks you’ve missed in your shopping journey and sending you a pic, to a sales associate saying ‘Hey, it was great to see you last week, those new Valentino flats just arrived and look amazing—let me know if you want us to hold on to a pair for you!’” he explains.

“For the higher tiers of engaged customers, we’ve shown the second type of personalization is at least 20 times more effective than the first. The downside is that it utilizes more resources. There’s a lot of value to be captured for brands that get the math right and have a combined strategy. I think the most powerful examples of personalization will always be humanistic—but that doesn’t mean an unsystematic approach. Proximity Insight is making some pretty big bets based on that premise.”

Providing in-store sales teams and customer service representatives in call centers with “one single view of the customer” is well beyond the traditional boundaries of CRM databases and loyalty programs, Orell says.

In this years Drapers and RetailWeek Personalization Report, a survey of retail executives highlighting how retailers are embracing personalization to drive sales and loyalty, 37% said they still cannot synchronize the customer experience across channels and devices. Inflexible ecommerce platforms were the number one barrier to success (followed closely by budget and human resource to implement).

The Proximity Insight app leverages thesalesforce.com CRM platform.

“Platforms as a service, software as a service, and apps that make use of APIs to surface data allow everyone in the brand to take action. These actionable insights allow for personalized communications,” Orell explains. “Dialogue is what relationships are built on.”


Check out our new retail clienteling video

Proximity Insight takes the flood of corporate data and puts it into the hands of those on the ground in an intelligent, easily understandable, and instantly actionable way.

From our mobile platform, 1) retail sales associates can manage all client contact through email, text, and social media, see all client interactions with brand across every channel, and review sales goals; 2) managers can assign tasks to associates, see how each associate is performing, and see how their store is performing; 3) Corporate can communicate information on new products and press, review store performance, and see the customer journey and sales attribution from micro to macro.


Alluring Logic acquired by Proximity Insight

Alluring Logic acquired by Proximity Insight

I am excited to announce that Alluring Logic has teamed up with Proximity Insight to continue innovating within digital marketing, clienteling and CRM. Alluring Logic was founded to help retailers drive brick & mortar traffic through personalized communication with clientele. This is a great opportunity for complimentary services to execute on an overlapping vision. I will be joining Proximity Insight's product management and design/engineering teams, working closely with founders Kris Moyse, Steve Orell, and Matt Lacey.

We aren't planning any immediate changes to Clienteling, so it will continue to look and feel like usual for existing users. Over the coming months, we'll explore new ways to help retailers extract insights while making their data more actionable for sales associates. We'll also seek overlapping business development opportunities between other solutions providers, including and not limited to POS, CRM, and e-Commerce platforms.

Alluring Logic Clienteling

The acquisition strengthens Proximity Insight's offering by bringing additional retail technology experience and support, giving the Company flexibility as its solution evolves over time.

"Alluring Logic brings a wealth of retail omni-channel knowledge, having built an enterprise Clienteling platform from scratch, leveraging both Microsoft and open source technologies. These insights gives us technical flexibility as we look to continue innovating within retail. Additionally, Alluring Logic's client-prospects will add momentum to our customer development."- Kris Moyse

We're trilled with the opportunity to contribute to the most advanced and user-friendly Clienteling platform used around the world. In the meantime, check out the latest news as we've been short-listed for 5 awards across Draper and RetailWeek for the use of technology and customer experience! https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/five-nominations-craig-crawford

Dane Arpino
Co-Founder, Alluring Logic

We're Nominated for two prestigious Drapers Digital Awards

Nominated for Best Customer Experience and Best Startup

Proximity Insight and Jaeger have embarked upon a journey to completely transform the way in which staff engage with our customers and each other. Our objective: to provide a seamless personalized customer experience spanning from online to shop floor.


How the initiative achieved its objectives

To achieve true personalization for our clients, delivered our first-of-its-kind social and brand platform, structured with three core pillars: Client Book, Dashboard, and Community.

The Client Book delivers online-shopping-level customer insight to sales associates in real time on their iPads. Now, when our associates interact with clients on the shop floor, they can review every past interaction from every channel to inform a shopping experience. After the client leaves the store, we guide associates to continue the conversation meaningfully using email, text, and social media.

Our Dashboard is revolutionary because it aggregates data from all sources - not just financial, not just operational, but everything our staff need to make the best decision with all key information at their fingertips.

Through Community, our internal communication hub, staff contribute to the heart of Jaeger by sharing insights into new products, shop operations, manage tasks, and receive pertinent brand messages instantly through the chat feature. Staff now see what’s happening across Jaeger in real-time.


How the initiative put the customer first

We put the customer first by addressing their needs on a perfectly personal level. None of our sales associates will mistakenly try to sell a customer a shirt that she already owns. This means more than avoiding a mistake. Meeting a client with a pure understanding of what she doesn’t need, or what she might be interested in, breeds a priceless type of trust.  When the Jaeger customer comes to us, she knows we will not let her down.


How the initiative advanced the brand

The satisfaction of our associates is a key part of Jaeger’s success, and staff surveys show the tool is having a significant impact in pilot stores.

Meanwhile, customers have never received service on a shop floor like this. How do we know? Customer engagement surveys, increase in like-for-like sales, reduction in lapsed customers, and the ability to observe and progress where the client is in our customer lifecycle.

Through our initiative, Jaeger has moved to the front of the industry in client engagement and a true omni-channel view of the customer.Together we aim to keep pushing the boundaries in merging physical and digital shopping to provide best-in-industry customer experience.


The Drapers Digital Awards reward and celebrate best practice across a wide number of disciplines in fashion's digital and ecommerce sectors. The winners will be announced at the glittering black-tie awards ceremony on April 28, 2016 at Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane.

Pilot retail application looks set to renew region’s brick and mortar

By Jason Lawrence
Originally Published on the SalesFix Blog


The first Salesforce Retail Clienteling application in Asia Pacific has arrived. Recently launched, this brand new application looks set to transform bricks and mortar retailing across the region with powerful, on-the-spot customer data that creates a totally customised in-store experience.

This application is launched by SalesFix Pty Ltd., a Brisbane based specialist partner in business process improvement, in partnership with Salesforce ISV Partner Proximity Insight. Together they will deliver the very first Retail Clienteling application to Comvita’s retail store staff in New Zealand.

Following other premium brands such as Max Mara, Burberry and Jaeger, Comvita understands a key element of the future of bricks and mortar shopping is providing a superior in-store and personalised experience for customers.

Through the new Retail Clienteling application, Comvita’s retail staff associates will be able to access powerful, real-time customer data such as spending history and past interactions across multiple channels (retail or e-commerce) . As a simple, customer-facing interface, the Clienteling solution will enable extensive product information to be accessed by sales staff who can then share this with their customer.

A further benefit is the ability for the stores to be connected to other departments, stores and teams such as customer service, to have a single view of the customer regardless of location. It will mean retail staff will be able to view all customer issues no matter where they were raised i.e whether by email, in person or online.


The Retail Clienteling application is being piloted in New Zealand. Following the pilot, it is likely to be rolled out to another three countries in the APAC region and in the corresponding language: Japan, Korea and Hong Kong

Jason Lawrence, CEO for SalesFix said, “Proximity Insight brings a breadth of expertise in the new frontier of brick-and-mortar retail clienteling, where sales associates have real-time access to powerful CRM data through mobile devices. This is just one of the strategic partnerships we have formed to better serve our customer Comvita and the broader retail sector.”




About SalesFix:

SalesFix is a specialist partner in business process improvement. With a strong understanding of business systems and a commitment to improve business results, SalesFix help their customers enhance business effectiveness and improve customer satisfaction.

SalesFix is a Salesforce implementation, integration and service specialist with multi-disciplinary business expertise spanning management, accounting, services, marketing and sales. Their Salesforce experience exceeds 10 years and the team is highly trained and Salesforce certified.

Headquartered in Brisbane, SalesFix serves more than 60 longstanding companies across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe.


About Proximity Insight:

Proximity Insight is a Salesforce ISV partner that develops connected technology tie-ins to Salesforce to push the boundaries of CRM, Digital Marketing, and the in-store experience.

Their Dynamic iPad Clienteling OEM Product delivers real-time customer data to store associates where it matters on the shop floor. Actionable insights create a stronger selling relationship than ever before to drive revenue and performance. Combined with location-based technology and a consumer app, the power of revolutionary retail is instantly in everyone’s hands.

Proximity Insight is highly specialized in retail, creative, and CRM disciplines. For two years they have had permanent offices in the Silicon Alley district of New York City and in Melbourne, Australia. Their physical presence recently expanded into London.


About Comvita:

Comvita (www.comvita.co.nz) Comvita (NZX:CVT) is a global natural health company committed to the development of innovative products, backed by ongoing investment in scientific research. Comvita is a world leader in Manuka (leptospermum) honey and freshpicked Olive Leaf Extract, which are at the core of the Comvita product range.

Comvita has approximately 50% of honey supply under direct ownership or control, with the balance of supply from long term contractual and partnership arrangements. Comvita pioneered the development and use of medical grade Manuka honey and was the first to receive FDA approval (2007). Comvita partners with US wound care company Derma Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:DSCI), the global licensee for Medihoney® specialist wound care products, which are used in hospitals and medical centres around the world.

Comvita’s freshly picked Olive Leaf Extract is grown, harvested, extracted and bottled at the world’s largest specialised olive leaf grove, with over one million olive trees. Comvita sells into more than 18 countries through a network of branded retail locations, online (seven country specific e-commerce websites) and third-party outlets, and hasover 500 staff located in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the USA.


About the Author

Jason Lawrence is Managing Director and Senior Consultant at SalesFix. He established SalesFix in 2010 in Brisbane, Australia. Jason is an experienced senior manager and business analyst, with excellent commercial awareness and the ability to interpret business, sales, and financial and management issues. He is a highly experienced Salesforce.com Consultant and Salesforce.com Developer. Prior to moving to Australia, Jason worked for 20 years in the UK as a Management Accountant (ACMA, CPA), identifying process improvements and translating these into solutions for the IT departments to develop. After a couple of years as a Salesforce user, Jason realised he could deliver many of these solutions using the Salesforce1 Platform®. Jason has become well known in the Salesforce ecosystem and has been awarded the prestigious “MVP”(Most Valued Professional) award from Salesforce.com in recognition for his knowledge, skills and contribution he has made to the Salesforce Community. Being no stranger to mentoring, Jason is the leader of the Brisbane Salesforce User Group and regularly attends mentoring sessions in association with CoderDojo Brisbane.

How Belief and Disbelief (Nearly) Destroyed Retail

I remember when e-tailing, as they used to call it, appeared on the world wide web. It was around the same time that banner ads discovered a purpose, a call to action. Buy! Buy! They would scream at you, hoping the noise and supposed romanticism of being able to source the world for the exact thing you wanted would drown out the uncertainty brought about by horrible, doubt-inflicting UX and, at that stage, a fairly undeveloped shipping industry that relied on the government’s offerings to deliver that costly, sight-unseen offering safely to your door.

Companies that figured out their online sales portal early, like Apple, Amazon, Zappos and Blue Nile, injected confidence and faith into the purchase process. Meanwhile, seeing this happen before their very eyes, the industrious folks at FedEx and UPS quickly realized their business could triple overnight if they too got their shit together. OK, it wasn’t that quick, but point is, online sales across every category – even diamonds – took off, leaving retailers barely enough time to even see their own wounds, let alone lick them.

What does an animal do when backed into a corner?

What does a man do when faced with death or survival?

Whatever it takes.

And that ‘whatever’ was to build out the most potent online sales portals they could. They could see the script in front of them: retail would continue further and further into the abyss. But, like a Jaguars fan, they refused to accept that things were going to get worse before they got better.

This sent retailers scrambling. Desperation sends one to dark places, and most in this case involved the tantalizing bait that is a percentage off sign attached to a large number – and lay-offs. Finding a customer service professional in most retailers is harder than finding a vegetarian burger in Idaho. Small spikes in sales kept corporate retail executives employed. But little did they realize the irreparable damage massive discounts were doing to their brands.

People stayed away from storefronts in droves, believing, correctly, that there was a better deal online.

To suggest people were jaded with the retail experience would be like suggesting Alaska is “frigid” in January.

Adding aftershocks to the e-tail tsunami, the early social networks like MySpace and Friendster, and, later, Facebook, didn’t just permit us to interact and develop ‘relationships’ without face-to-face interaction, they gave us the tools to do just that. This naturally spilled into our brand relationships, which started to lose their pulse. The less human interaction the better. The fewer clicks to purchase, the better.

Meanwhile, VPs of e-sales were heralding the new age of retail and cashing their bonus checks, funded by the decimated overheads of bricks and mortar – and less staff.

If that wasn’t enough, e-tailers dissolved, one-by-one, the final barrier to purchase – “What if it doesn’t fit? What if she doesn’t like it?” – with free returns.

The nail wasn’t just in the retail coffin, it was through the other side and fastened shut with Gorilla Grip.

That was the belief, anyway.

Survival is a funny thing, though. It makes you do things you didn’t think you’d ever do again.

Like turn back the clock. Jump into that DeLorean and hit the 1990s again.

But with new weapons.

By design or luck, a cultural pendulum was swinging back to human interactions. People woke up. Consumers became participants. No longer just faceless purchasers and a set of random numbers, people, participants, desired more than their data points suggested.

“Where is the customer service?”

How do you think many retailers responded, when they’d effectively been hibernating for nearly a decade as nothing more than expensive supporting actors?

They came up with Houdini-like solutions that were sparse and prohibitively expensive. More than one VP of Retail suggested re-adding bodies to the sales floor. The bean counters were enormously unimpressed. CEOs couldn’t see how increased retail sales forces could be more effective at their jobs without expensive training programs.

Ironically, it was technology that brought the flux capacitor out of mothballs. The tech geeks saw an open opportunity that was too juicy to ignore.

The artillery they needed was there, in the form of reams of data.

Participants’ tastes weren’t just calculated in what they bought. Right in front of them they could see their aspirations: what they looked at. What they dreamed of buying.

What they hadn’t yet bought, but might one day.

Past, current and future retail behavior could be predicted– based on their online habits.

Dogs are cats. Black is white. The Jags win a Super Bowl.

Armed with this data through iBeacons linked to SalesForce data, like ours, customer service professionals can serve up the pulse of a brand that participants have been missing, itching scratches that participants don’t even know they have yet.

**It's not about more sales people, it's about smarter sales people.**

The power of belief perhaps shows her potency most when she is the opposite. Disbelief that there is a way out, a better way forward, drives us to create what we never thought we could.

I guess us humans love a challenge, hey?Read more

Digital First: Baby, I Was Born This Way

By Craig Crawford
First Published by AATCC News


Just the other day, I asked my intern for a photograph of herself as a child for a presentation I was preparing for Jaeger. As a millennial, she was able to log onto several of her social media accounts and offer me a selection of photos right away. For her, access to data and images in the cloud is not a struggle—it’s a way of life. When I had to do the same task, I had to find and scan in a hardcopy baby picture.

This made me think: do brands that were born digital have it easier than those that weren’t?

While I worked at Burberry, we toiled to transform a brand that had more than 150 years of rich heritage. Our work began in 2009, and the journey still hadn’t ended in 2014 when I left the company.Burberry’s Digital Success wasn’t just about putting iPads in stores and iPhones in the hands of executives. It was about transforming ways of thinking, methods of working, and putting digital first. It was cultural change. And it was about being authentic.

Not all Burberry customers are millennials. However, today’s 20-somethings are the next wave, and as aspirational luxury consumers they now use their mobile phones as much as 40% of the time to purchase.

With no brick-and-mortar stores (and no plans to have any), ASOS.com (abbreviation for “As Seen on Screen”) caters to this trend and wins.

As the UK’s largest independent online fashion and beauty retailer, they sell 60,000 products for men and women in ways millennials shop: socially and digitally. As Seen On Me picks up customers’Instagram posts with #AsSeenOnMe (photos of themselves in ASOS looks) that can then be directly shopped from and shared, while personal stylists like James Welsh offer advice via YouTubeand chat with customers via Twitter. The latest evolution of the site now offers a catwalk video on product.

Consumer interactions are carefully monitored by a team of analysts, and when something works, it is scaled up. When something doesn’t, it is scaled down. (Women on average watch the catwalk videos twice, while men prefer 360 rotation views of product vs. catwalk videos).

Farfetch.com is another UK online retailer that describes itself as a global community of more than 300 visionary fashion boutiques for fashion-forward consumers. They divide labels into Luxe (high-end designers) and Lab (contemporary, experimental and emerging labels). Editorials offer celebrity-curated lists ofbest dressed hipsters with links to shop or insider scoops on fashion topics like Red Carpet looks.

It’s not just consumers who find Farfetch fabulous. Young luxury design startups find them amazing because of the SEO optimization and digital visibility they provide that the young hot brands can’t afford to do alone.

New York-based Khirma Eliazov, whose handbags are worn by celebrities on and off the red carpet, says she gets maximum exposure from Farfetch’s established digital footprint.
“My online sell through is now 70%,” Khirma explained, “but that wouldn’t be possible unless I had the wholesale presence I do at stores like Bergdorf Goodman. My customers want to first touch my product. I learned this at my first trunk show. It’s the emotional connection to the brand that people have that allows for growth.”

Perhaps this is why Farfetch acquired the 45-year-old London boutique Browns?

This store as gallery or showroom concept servesMatchesFashion.com well. This London-based retailer views itself as online first and sees its network of stores as galleries. The depth and breadth of the collection is available online, and sales associates use mobile point of sale (POS) stock look up tools to move stock to client locations for fitting and trial while a Proximity Insight Dynamic clienteling tool helps sales associates look after customers on a one-to-one personal level.

So digital, it would appear, isn’t easier, nor does it replace the physical. Instead, it is now a mandatory new way for brands to transact business as part of a balanced eco system of physical and digital experience that today’s luxury consumers and millennials demand.