Paris, Prosecco and PR
Earlier this month I headed to St Pancras to follow our client Manhattan Associates on the Eurostar to Paris. They were getting ready to host their annual European customer event, Manhattan Exchange, and it was my job to look after the journalists and the Manhattan Associates Twitter feed. And with a media dinner, a press briefing, multiple journalist interviews and a hashtag to monitor, I had my hands full.
The conference kicked off with a keynote from the Manhattan Associates CEO, Eddie Capel and it was certainly different. Eddie talked through an interactive video that explained the entire integrated journey of a consumer, the warehouse, the product and the call centre, resulting in a very happy Mum on her birthday.
Imagine a busy working Mum looking online for ideas for an outfit for her upcoming birthday party. Stressed and losing inspiration, someone suggests the store associate might be able to hep her find something in-store. Armed with information about both past purchases and size/colour preferences, the store assistant can spend some time browsing the store with the consumer, iPad in hand, picking products from their online wish list, offering a list of recommendations, including some that are on offer, and points the customer directly towards the appropriate styles.
Suddenly that frustrating last minute search for inspiration, that would have likely ended in the customer wearing something from the back of the wardrobe, became a far more engaging and enjoyable experience – and one that, quite possibly, resulted in a higher than average spend and a returning customer. Win-win for both customer and retailer.
This was the ongoing theme of the whole day, with sessions from retailers and brands such as Vente-privee.com, Nike, ASDA, Clarks and Thomas Cook, discussing how to make the most of the connected customer. A popular theme was also one around the customer experience both online and offline, and for any retailer trying to keep up in an increasing pure play world, this is key.
ASDA talked about wait times for click and collect parcels, with Clarks discussing how it is important to offer the right personalised experience to the right customer. But one thing that they all had in common was the importance of technology in the ever-changing retail environment. Whether it be technology in the warehouse monitoring picking in real time, or iPads in the hands of the store associates, arming them with a huge array of product inventory to sell and the personal profile of every customer; embracing innovative tech was definitely key.
But it wasn’t all work and no play. We did end the conference on a high with a delicious dinner and celebratory prosecco on board a river cruise down the Seine. Fun had by all!
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