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Gucci goes mobile with in-store service appBy Tricia Carr
Italian label Gucci is turning to mobile to enhance its in-store shopping experience with an application that aims to provide a higher level of service for luxury consumers via employee-handled wireless devices.
The fashion house is equipping its store associates at select locations with Apple iPhone 4S devices that contain a mobile point-of-sale program that lets employees process sales, email receipts to customers, access the Gucci Style app and use a translator and currency converter on the spot. The brand is gradually implementing the app in select branded stores in the United States, Europe and Asia.
“Gucci is known for really understanding the needs of their customers through every portion of their experience,” said Kimmie Smith, editor in chief of Kitten Lounge, New York.
“Taking away the uncomfortable moment which takes place when parties have to go to the designated checkout area and continue a conversation creates a break with the natural flow that took place on the sales floor,” she said.
“Gucci applying this mobile program allows a consumer to talk to a salesperson without having to be in physical transition from place to place.”
Ms. Smith is not associated with Gucci, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Gucci could not comment directly before press deadline.
Gucci is implementing its mobile initiative to improve the overall shopping experience and assist its employees in better serving consumers, per the label.
Sales associates are now able to spend more time on the sales floor and assist consumers with company support at-hand.
This mobile program is a move towards the removal of traditional cash registers, per Gucci.
Gucci’s mobile point-of-sale app
The technology was developed by Micros Retail.
Stores armed with the enabled iPhone devices can now allow employees to process sales and email receipts to customers without using a cash register.
The app will increase the speed of payment, claims Gucci.
In addition, sales associates can give consumers access to Gucci.com while they are in the store via the iPhone devices.
All in-store devices have access to the Gucci Style app, which lets consumers shop the featured looks directly from their mobile devices (see story).
Handing off mobile technology to employees seems to be a tactic to increase brand awareness among sales associates while simultaneously allowing them of offer better service.
Employee devices will also have apps such as Google translator, Google Maps and a currency converter that they can use to converse with customers.
“This program keeps the shopping experience focused, efficient and very conversational,” Ms. Smith said. “It breaks down the barrier of having a counter between the individuals and keeps everything open.
“This allows the consumer to enjoy the magic of the shopping experience at Gucci without the checkout portion being included,” she said.
Shopping for technology
A recent study from the Luxury Institute found that while 67 percent of affluent smartphone owners use mobile commerce, they prefer the in-store experience (see story).
Gucci is testing these waters by using mobile point-of-sale technologies to keep the physical shopping experience relevant.
The brand is also refraining from leaving this latest new technology only in consumers’ hands. It seems to be keeping up its human interactions to achieve brand affinity.
This could be a good move considering that consumer may not want to fiddle with devices and apps while in store.
Gucci seems to be consciously rolling out the program, a good move to analyze consumer response.
The program was previewed by more than 400 store managers from around the world in Rome at the Gucci worldwide managers meeting in March.
The app’s pilot program began at the Gucci flagship store in New York. The brand also did trials with the technology at its Paramus, NJ, and Orlando, FL, locations.
Gucci flagship store
Later this year, the mobile point-of-sale program will be active in 15 U.S. stores and approximately 30 between Asia and Europe.
The mobile program will continue to expand in 2013.
“Although there will be a percentage of consumers that may be hesitant at first, when this is seen as the norm, this will be embraced by all,” Ms. Smith said.
“Luxury marketers understand that the ultimate luxury is time,”she said. “Each moment spent shopping should be optimized for selling and building a relationship.”
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York
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