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Lilly Pulitzer’s in-store experience blooms with mobile-enabled omnichannel push

Apparel brand and retailer Lilly Pulitzer is equipping store associates with tablets as part of a new push to improve the in-store experience and offer omnichannel capabilities, including mobile payments, with a goal of providing a customized shopping experience.

Consumers increasingly expect a personalized shopping experience specific to their wants and needs. Recognizing the growth in mobile adoption and use, retailers are looking to mobile to provide unique ways to enhance their digital and physical brand experience.

“Lilly Pulitzer recently collaborated with Target on a mobile and mobile in-store promotion that emptied store shelves,” said Bill Siwicki, vice president of mobile strategy and research at GPShopper. “That’s great, but, smaller retailers need to think for themselves, so to speak, to compete.

“Smaller retailers — and all chain retailers, for that matter — have to come up with their own imaginative mobile in-store tools and campaigns,” he said. “They have to create apps — the most essential tools for robust mobile in-store programs — and get their most loyal customers to download and evangelize the apps.

“Then they have to routinely come up with creative mobile tools and campaigns that grab their loyal customers. Once loyal customers really get into mobile-assisted in-store shopping that’s far more robust and location-based than the simple price-checking and reviews-reading of today, other customers will see, they’ll inquire, and they’ll hop onboard.”

Lilly Pulitzer is an iconic American apparel brand available in approximately 23 company-owned stores, 75 signature stores, independent retailers and department stores as well as online.

Tablet retail
Lilly Pulitzer is embracing mobile to give store associates access to enterprise-wide inventory and customer data right on their mobile devices. In turn, this well help improve the overall shopping experience for customers.

The brand has partnered with Manhattan Associates to implement its point-of-sale, clienteling, store inventory management and tablet retailing applications.

These solutions are integrated with Manhattan Associate’s Warehouse Management System to optimize warehouse operations.

Store associates will be able to facilitate personalized interactions using a 360-degree view of customer transactions to enhance customer service.

Mobile payments
The new system will also give store associates the ability to complete transactions anywhere from the store floor through a wide range of payment methods, including EMV, NFC, Apple Pay and more.

Additional new capabilities including being able to sell items in the store and enter “save the sale” orders with a single swipe transaction as well as deliver product finders, look books, interactive demos, multimedia content and documentation through tablets on the show floor.

The mobilization of the in-store shopping experience continues unabated, as consumers use their own smartphones for assistance and retailers equip store associates with a range of devices.

Earlier this year, Gap Inc. said it is equipping more of its stores with mobile devices to leverage employee training videos, highlight additional inventory for shoppers and emulate the experience of a flagship store in the hopes of driving sales (see story).

As more bricks-and-mortar retailers employ mobile and tablet devices to augment consumers’ in-store experiences, they must also be aware of features which customers find helpful, such as product reviews, and those that individuals find abrasive, such as digital display prices, according to a recent report from RichRelevance (see story).

“Chain retailers are not far at all along the growth curve for using mobile technologies to bring the wonders of web shopping into stores to assist shoppers and boost store sales,” Mr. Siwicki said. “Once a retailer has a mobile app, it enables the merchant to pinpoint the location of customers and send them location-based offers, guide them through stores, and do so much more.

“Mobile can transform the in-store experience, which can be outdated,” he said. “Some forward-thinking retailers have made great strides with mobile in-store, such as Wal-Mart, Michaels, Target, Charlotte Russe and others.

“But so many chains are woefully behind, as they once were with mobile commerce in general where web-only retailers led the way. But e-commerce, m-commerce, marketing and other executives at chains of all sizes are starting to see what can be done in-store with mobile.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York