Tech Forum: Aldo Group’s Gregoire Baret on Using Tech to Drive Loyalty and Human Connection

·3 min read

The Aldo Group is evolving what it considers a traditional omnichannel business approach with a fresh take on data, sales staffing and consumer experience.

“The big part we are really focusing on more than ever is the connection between store associates and the consumer. We have a very strong objective to strengthen that relationship and grow our associates to be the best and improve the quality of their face time with our shoppers,” said Gregoire Baret, the footwear retailer’s vice president for consumer experience.

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Baret, who noted that his job is focused on, “identifying, piloting and rolling out relevant ways to improve the shopping experience and grow loyalty with our consumer,” said that a lot of Aldo’s strategy centers upon what the brand calls an “omni associate.”

Aldo now uses its stores as local distribution centers and ships out all e-commerce orders from a customer’s nearest shop. “This gives us a lot of benefits, with the speed of delivery, we are closer to the consumer and of course now it makes the store the very central part of our e-commerce platform,” Baret said.

This is just one facet of a larger strategy to grow the link between Aldo’s e-commerce site and stores. The company continues to develop programs and applications that strengthen that bond.

“Our observation of omnichannel that we have seen in the past is that it’s a sequence that starts with e-commerce and leads consumers to the store. What we are building is not about a sequence flow but as a combination — the ability to use channels all together so they amplify each other,” Baret said.

So far, there are programs that map out consumer spending within a certain mile radius of a store, which Aldo refers to as a “trade zone,” which can also keep tabs on repeat purchases and patterns. There’s also an application that associates can use to search for product availability and other styles that could suit a consumer’s needs.

“We are removing the friction between our different channels and focusing on traction and building a human connection. Of course, e-commerce is one of the first places you check for product availability, that’s naturally driving traffic to the store. But I would say more than 50 percent of our sales coming through email are now going to the store,” Baret said.

This is partly due to Aldo’s new programs that “invite you to try a product [in person].”

Aldo’s e-commerce site is now retrofitted with a live chat feature, but the company has decided to take it a step further to encourage traffic to its stores.

“You might have a question or are not sure what to get, you can start a chat and if you need to, you can connect as a livestream and have an associate walk you through the collection. They can set it aside for you in a store to try on in-person,” Baret said.

“We are just driving that experience with more connections, but it’s also efficient business-wise, we are driving a conversion rate [online] that’s closer to our usual store. It’s far beyond the conversion rate of a typical e-commerce site, and it’s better informs planning and inventory for the future,” he said.

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