Since October, Swarovski has been using its Oxford Street store as a test bed for everything to do with the customer journey.
This means all the brand’s ideas for how to engage with consumers and provide an experience that will lead to conversion are being trialled in Swarovski’s Oxford Street home.
At the forefront of everything taking place in this store is the consumer. And the mission is simple: improve the customer journey and find out what can be done to win sales during difficult times on the high street.
When asked if the test bed has been working, Swarovski’s managing director, Hayley Quinn, responds “yes and no”, but as a whole, the growth in the Oxford Street store has been “nearly treble” the company average, she tells Professional Jeweller.
Quinn reveals: “We have very heavily invested in the sales team in terms of quality and the quantity, and they are driving a 25% higher average sale. The return rate is significantly higher and the spend on our loyalty programme is 15-20% higher than it is elsewhere, so we are starting to get the types of results we wanted.”
Innovations have included selfie walls and virtual reality concepts, both of which have been encouraging consumers to interact with the brand in-store and online, and bespoke products designed with the location and type of people likely to visit in mind.
These have all worked extremely well, with groups of tourists snapping pictures in store and sharing photos on social channels, and the Big Ben Tower becoming a bestseller for the whole of the UK business.
Swarovski also introduced a Sparkle Bar where customers can charge their phones. This concept has enabled staff to showcase products to consumers who are happy to be sitting in store while their phones gather juice for the day.
“The whole concept behind the store was – let’s test every idea, innovation, and concept that we can come up with in a store and wait and see what happens,” shares Swarovski UK managing director, Hayley Quinn with Professional Jeweller.
“Is it working? Yes and no. But actually where it doesn’t work we are learning what elements the consumer responds to and what elements the consumer doesn’t. It is really about testing consumer interaction and the consumer journey. How do we get customers to want to come to store and spend longer in a store and to spend? And then also how do we get them to integrate between online and offline much more seamlessly? So a lot of the things like the selfie wall and virtual reality is really about encouraging this omnichannel interaction.”
Swarovski will continue to experiment with the customer experience in the Oxford Street store, and in turn roll out ideas that really work in other locations, but the next phase for the brand’s retail arm is to make sure everything is seamless behind the scenes.
This will include looking at Epos, mobile payment and efficiency solutions.
“The first step was the investment in the customer-facing element, but now we’ve got to do some quite big investment in some of the behind the scenes,” explains Quinn. “You cannot underestimate the importance of this. Consumers are fickle; you can offer them the greatest experience but if you haven’t got the product that they want or the item they ordered online, if you don’t get the basics right, it is game over.”