I just experienced really great customer service that got me thinking about the little things we can do to make a big impact on customer loyalty.
Premium tea retailer will modernise its retail operations to give customers seamless experiences using our Infinity unified commerce platform
We’re thrilled to announce that Unilever's retail tea business, T2 Tea, has selected Triquestra as its strategic partner for the transformation of its retail system.
T2’s goal is to create immersive and frictionless experiences for customers across online, in-store and mobile channels.
Infinity will be installed as T2’s point of sale with the power to create a central hub for the brand’s inventory and customer loyalty across eCommerce, wholesale and a growing global footprint of over 100 stores across APAC, Europe and North America.
A key factor in T2’s decision was Infinity’s maturity – it’s a proven unified commerce platform that will scale and adapt to shifting consumer expectations and new technologies and give T2 the flexibility to quickly extend support to new stores, channels and markets.
Established in Melbourne in 1996, T2 Tea is a premium tea brand that prides itself on quality products that are beautifully packaged and presented through engaging and immersive in-store experiences. In addition to its global retail outlets, T2 operates a thriving wholesale business selling teas to restaurants, cafes, gourmet food stores and airlines, and has eCommerce channels spanning direct to consumer (t2tea.com), marketplaces and wholesaler third-party sites.
We will support T2 in all areas of retail operations and management, including point of sale, inventory, customer data, order management and loyalty. Infinity will integrate with T2’s other technology solutions, including Oracle NetSuite, Salesforce Commerce Cloud for eCommerce, and HighJump Warehouse Advantage for warehouse management.
Integration of in-store and online channels
“To keep pace with new technologies and changing consumer demands, we decided to bring everything together with a unified commerce strategy,” says Rohan Penman, T2’s Global Head of Technology.
“Following an in-depth software review process, we selected Triquestra as our strategic partner to help achieve that vision. Triquestra already supports retailers with a strategy of omnichannel innovation and provides best-in-class products and processes, a broad unified commerce portfolio and a referenceable track record of success with multi-store retailers across multiple geographies.
“Infinity will give us a single hub for our channels, reducing integration complexity and manual overheads, while increasing efficiency and accuracy,” Rohan adds. “It will also be our platform for growth and innovation, helping us to deliver evolutionary innovations that will accelerate our business agility and competitive advantage.”
Immersive and frictionless customer experiences
Our CEO, Kelly Brown, explains: “T2 shares our vision, with a single-minded focus on creating immersive and personalised experiences for customers. It has mastered the art of creating magical in-store experiences, through storytelling and adventurous in-store displays that encourage visitors to discover and experiment.”
“We’re looking forward to supporting T2 in its next phase of growth as the company harnesses new technologies that help to put innovation at the core of everything they do.”
A springboard for innovation
T2’s transition to Infinity will be a phased approach that starts in Australia and New Zealand and extends to Singapore, North America and Europe. Infinity will provide point of sale and a central hub for inventory and customer data to give customers ‘endless aisle’ access to T2’s entire inventory from any channel or touchpoint, as well as new payment options and fulfilment services such as click-and-collect and ship-from-store.
If you’d like help to unify your brand experiences, get in touch. We’d love to chat about how Infinity can help you create personalised and frictionless experiences for customers across all channels.
If it’s time to make a unified commerce approach a top priority to connect, simplify and innovate, this adoption model can help you build an ecosystem of technologies, tools, processes and experts.
Ensure you can accurately manage your inventory levels across all your locations and customer touchpoints by centralising your inventory information in near real time. This step is as much about business process, training, discipline and compliance, as it is about the software you install.
With a unified inventory management system in place, you can guarantee you’ve got the right inventory available in each location, without carrying the cost of overstocking. You can also react to trends quickly, and forecast demand based on historical data, sales forecasts and seasonal variations.
Once you’ve got control over your inventory, you’re free to increase your purchasing channels with certainty.
Exposing, rather than replicating, inventory and customer data from your platform to each and every channel means everything stays in sync. Your staff and customers will have consistent product visibility and can expect fluid and accurate interactions, whether in-store, on mobile or online.
And with real-time data on stock levels, you’ll be able to see where inventory is located, find the lowest cost or fastest fulfilment route, and provide better promotions.
Now it’s time to build genuinely meaningful customer experiences. You need to mix emotional and rational factors to connect and build relationships.
Rational value is the starting point for a great customer experience. It meets each customer’s very logical need for price and product so that they feel they are ‘getting’ value. It’s also the functional experiences you offer, such as convenience, fulfilment, flexibility and speed.
To make customers ‘feel’ valued, you want to tap into aspirational motivations and fulfil their deep, often unspoken needs. Personalised communications, recommendations and offers, rewards for spend and tailored in-store experiences fall into this category and are a great way to surprise and delight – especially if the experience is unexpected.
By using APIs to expose data and functions, and easily plug in and deploy new services, channels and devices, you’ll reduce integration and maintenance overheads, increase real-time accuracy and enjoy virtually limitless scalability and agility.
These improvements in IT efficiency and availability let you shift your team’s priorities to innovation. By using agile methodologies and creating a community of third-party apps and systems working together in an ecosystem, you can drive critical strategic initiatives and continually innovate.
The end result is the ability to create extraordinary customer experiences that help to capture market opportunities, generate additional revenue and build brand advocacy.
Contact us if you have questions or would like advice on any of these unified commerce stages. We can examine your pain points and make recommendations to help you solve problems and find new opportunities that deliver frictionless customer experiences and differentiate your brand.
For more on unified commerce and why it’s the future of retail, download our ebook.
If the beginning of the year means it’s time to re-evaluate your retail systems, start here.
No matter the scale of what you want to accomplish – boosting POS functionality, getting a single view of inventory, or starting your unified commerce journey to connect POS, inventory, fulfilment, order and customer data – you need a partner with the right people, processes and technology. A partner who understands retail’s demands and can give you the system that will improve customer happiness, staff satisfaction and your bottom line.
Here are important indicators of a good technology partner plus questions to ask
Look for a partner who’s been around retail for a while, with a sound platform, business model and proposition. They’ll need to understand your fast-paced, data-intensive environment where any significant level of downtime is unacceptable.
Their people will have the capability to help you plan and implement your projects so they suit you right now and into the future. When you choose a partner with a mature platform, they can focus on delivering innovation because the core functionality you need already exists.
Make sure your partner has a recent and proven success record for planning, implementing and managing complex, large-scale deployments across multiple stores, multiple formats and multiple geographies.
Do they have stable and well-tested strategies and technology or are they just adapting existing supply chain and fulfilment models? Ask if they’ve worked with related technology, systems and service providers. And how their capability integrates with eCommerce, payments, supply chain and finance software.
Request case studies or references and ask about the consultancy, customisation, deployment, training and support services they provide.
You want a partner who’s got the people and processes to move fast, while cultivating an environment where innovation flourishes. They should use agile methodologies and have experience working with agile retailers.
Get evidence of their history of responsiveness and their ability to assess and quickly correct any unforeseen issues. Ask how they’ve managed things for a client when faced with unexpected changes, a competitor’s action or customer demands.
Choose a partner that can give you a broad and holistic portfolio, perspective and experience. One that gives you all your core requirements out-of-the-box plus the ability to customise and easily add new functionality.
For the best customer experience, you need to intrinsically link inventory, fulfilment, orders, supply chain and planning. You don’t want to be tied to a point player that can only provide portions.
Your partner should let third parties connect to their technology via APIs and cultivate a community with those parties so you can give customers more shopping, payment and fulfilment options.
You also need to know that your partner has a strategic roadmap and investment committed for new capabilities.
Look for a partner that’s an Australasian business, focused on our region’s potential to succeed. A local partner means you can have more influence on the product roadmap and enjoy direct engagement with people on the ground who are committed to your success (and not distracted by offshore business activity). And a mid-size partner is more likely to view you as an important customer of influence. It’s far better to be a big fish in a small pond (and not have to fight for attention as a small fish in a big pond would).
If you’d like a benchmark to rate your current or potential technology partner against, contact us. For more than 23 years, Infinity has been dedicated to the development, implementation and support of retail systems. We’re renowned for being both pioneering and reliable. You can count on us for consulting, platform implementation, integration, training and support that helps you get great results.
Updated July 19, 2019
Are you looking for new ways to build trust, loyalty and repeat sales?
Creating delightful, personalised customer experiences is the third stage of your four-stage unified commerce journey. Here we look at how to invest in fresh, value-added experiences that appeal to today’s consumers.
To learn more about the first and second stages of unified commerce, check out our earlier blogs on how to get an accurate and single view of your inventory and extending your brand experience across all channels.
Today’s retailers know that changing customer behaviours and disruptive technologies have altered the dynamics of customer loyalty.
While loyalty used to be closely linked to price and proximity, now it’s awarded to the brands that offer the best experiences and personalisation. Customers want individual content, communications, offers and rewards based on their preferences and purchase history. They expect to be recognised across all channels, no matter whether they walk into a store, phone a call centre or shop online.
Is customer experience important to decision making?
And when 73% of people say customer experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions (just behind price and product quality), that’s a massive opportunity to create more authentic and frictionless experiences that strengthen your customer connections.
However, many retailers struggle to get this connection right.
There’s a growing disparity between rising consumer expectations and the reality of what they encounter online, on apps and in stores. According to Accenture, 50 percent of consumers say they turned to a competitor after having a bad customer experience. And 41 percent say they stopped shopping with a company because of ‘poor personalisation.
And after Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and heightened awareness of consumer rights via GDPR, data privacy and security are more important to consumers than ever. Retailers now face a ‘privacy paradox’ - they’re caught between the need to use data to provide better consumer experiences and the risk of violating consumer privacy.
So how do you create meaningful relationships without overstepping personal boundaries?
Who’s doing it best?
Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program has over 10 million members and helped propel Sephora to the number one speciality beauty retailer in the world.
Why? It’s the experiences that the program offers at all levels. These include personalised product recommendations tailored to each customer based on shopping history, through to exclusive products and events, invitations to the Sephora Beauty Studio and early access to products and sales.
Not only do these offers motivate customers to purchase more products, they also make customers feel valued, foster loyalty and turn shoppers into brand advocates.
Here’s how you can do it:
Implement a fully integrated loyalty programme that gives you a 360 degree view of your customers. By looking at their purchase and browsing data, you can work out which types of experiences motivate them and develop timely, relevant and tailored rewards that surprise and delight. Be sure to offer personalised experiences across all your tiers, not just the top levels.
Who’s doing it best?
Multi-store bricks-and-mortar retailers that are taking advantage of their store networks to compete with Amazon and the online giants. While many eRetailers rush to build distribution centres, beef up their data analytics to anticipate orders and even test delivery by drone, bricks-and-mortar retailers already have the power to enable same-day delivery.
By turning their stores into customer-facing fulfilment centres that deliver purchases from stores to consumers in a few hours, they are creating a new retail battleground.
The savviest retailers are combining drop shipping with third-party logistics (also known as '3PL') to offer warehouse-to-door or even manufacturer-to-door. They no longer need to transport and store inventory in a costly warehouse and can efficiently and quickly scale by adding new suppliers and products that help win new customer business.
Here’s how you can do it:
With a unified commerce platform, you can choose the logistics and fulfilment options that are most efficient for your customers and most profitable for you.
Infinity’s order management system provides visibility across channels and ensures consistent and accurate stock, customer, purchase history and loyalty information in any channel. You can then offer same-day delivery by using APIs to partner with fast-shipping providers that let you connect to existing courier services and optimise delivery routes from your stores.
Who’s doing it best?
Target’s mobile app is a good example of how to combine mobile and in-store experiences. The app uses GPS to help in-store customers find what they’re looking for quickly. And beacon technology can alert shoppers to discounts as they move about.
Physical stores are evolving into showrooms that feature merchandise to be touched, felt and tried on, then ordered and shipped to shoppers' homes. Showrooms have always been popular with certain industries (such as bespoke clothing or furniture), but the format is taking off with online and bricks-and-mortar retailers as well.
Samsung’s ground-breaking flagship experiential store - Samsung 837 - goes even further. It’s a 56,000 square foot playground with interactive art, virtual reality, lounge areas, a recording studio and a three-story, 96-screen display wall. It doesn’t try to sell visitors anything - instead it encourages them to explore, learn and have fun. By focusing on activity, not product, the store has attracted accolades and been labelled one of the world’s top three brand experiences.
Here’s how you can do it:
By providing a single view of inventory and customer data, unified commerce gives you the freedom to design and implement new in-store customer service technologies and experiences. Imagine the customer satisfaction when you can offer shoppable screens, connected change rooms, or mobile apps that self-checkout. They all let customers easily locate products, find their order status or get personal recommendations.
Who’s doing it best?
Many retailers start online, building websites that provide individual product recommendations based on a combination of the customer’s behaviour, CRM data and AI. They then create customer communications that include personalised recommendations, with emails released at a specific time when each individual is most likely to engage with the communication.
Sephora’s use of AI and VR spans online, in-store and app shopping. Knowing that the vast choice of products can be overwhelming for customers, Sephora developed a variety of tech options to make shopping more fun and more efficient.
Customers can try on makeup virtually using AR, match their skin tone to a foundation with AI and sample a fragrance via a touchscreen and scented air. And this is just the start, with Sephora saying that five or ten years from now every aspect of a customer’s experience, from what they see to the products that are recommended, will be customised, based on face shape, sales history and stated preferences.
Here’s how you can do it:
You can use APIs to easily create or add new apps, systems and services, fast. You can partner with startups and tech companies outside the retail industry to take advantage of new capabilities and deliver results at a speed and scale that would be unachievable within a traditional omnichannel model. You’ll also need to cultivate the necessary digital skills by partnering with or hiring talent from marketing, product development and technology industries to help source, develop, evaluate, test and ultimately launch new offerings and technologies for shopping in-store and online.
Our next blog is about stage four of implementing a unified commerce platform - how to use APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to deliver truly innovative offerings to customers and build a competitive advantage.
If you’d like help to build genuinely meaningful customer experiences, get in touch. We’d love to help you achieve greater agility, faster growth and better margins.
For more on how to give your retail business the flexibility and agility you want, download our ebook.