TECHNOLOGY

Joann collects customer feedback—in real time

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A fabric and craft retail giant has a new tool that is helping it improve the customer experience across all channels.

Joann has deployed a solution that provides a real-time view into actual customer feedback across its 870 stores, e-commerce site and mobile app. By implementing the new tool, the retailer can now collect holistic, actionable customer feedback in real-time.

The solution, the Medallia Experience Cloud, supplements Joann’s existing analytics and CRM systems. It captures feedback across all channels and centralizes data from customers across all stores, online and the call center. The technology processes one customer comment every minute, giving associates the information they need to take action, and improve the customer experience.

Early results already show high engagement from Joann customers, with an initial 50% open rate and 20% survey response rates for solicited feedback. Team members are able to consistently monitor their stores’ comments, and an average 75% of actionable incidents are closed within 72 hours.

The company is continuing to explore rolling out the platform across other channels, including its buy online, pickup in-store and education programs, according to the retailer.

“Although we’ve served the craft industry for 75 years, we are constantly learning from our customers and looking for new ways to improve their experience,” said Steve Miller, senior VP, marketing & e-commerce at Joann. “To align and engage our tens of thousands of team members across the nation, we needed Medallia’s powerful platform that offered a holistic view of the customer experience, as well as the ability to easily see, drill down and take action on specific incidents.”

Miller noted that Joann recently launched a new concept store, which features new experiential offerings, merchandising and custom services, “and getting clear feedback on those changes will help determine how we move forward.”

The store, which opened in June in Columbus, Ohio, combines technology, dedicated community and learning spaces and new custom services.

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TECHNOLOGY

Online furniture retailer debuts ‘mixed reality’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Wayfair is offering a new kind of immersive shopping experience.

Through a partnership with Magic Leap, the online furniture retailer is launching a mixed-reality (MR) commerce experience. Using what the company describes as the first-ever spatial computing web browser, called Helio, Wayfair is creating a new visual environment that integrates physical and digital objects in real-time.

The technology will be a featured bookmark within the Magic Leap One, Creator Edition computing platform. Shoppers can also access the Wayfair MR experience by visiting next.wayfair.com in the Helio browser. As customers launch Helio, they can place the browser anywhere in their space, and then launch Wayfair’s MR experience. Shoppers can interact with and view true-to-scale products, then pull items into their physical space. Merchandise can be moved and rotated, to see how products fit into their living space.

“We are setting a new precedent for a truly immersive shopping experience leveraging the power of mixed reality and the ease of Web,” said Steve Conine, co-founder and co-chairman, Wayfair. “Together with the MR experts at Magic Leap, Wayfair has developed a completely new way to shop for home with a spatial browsing experience that will shape the next evolution of retail.”

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Amazon adds a twist to its Whole Foods Market grocery delivery service

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon just made a big move in the grocery deliver battle.

On Wednesday, Aug. 8, the online giant launched grocery pickup, a service that enables Prime members to pick up their order at a local Whole Foods Market store within an hour — without leaving their car. The program is currently offered in Sacramento and Virginia Beach. More cities will be added throughout 2018.

Prime members place their order via the Prime Now app and choose the pickup option at checkout. Customers use the app to alert their local store that they are on their way, and associates begin preparing the order. Upon arriving at the store, customers park in a reserved pickup spot, and a Prime Now shopper will place groceries into their car within minutes.

Customers can choose free pickup within an hour on orders of $35. A $4.99 fee applies orders ready within 30 minutes.

“Amazon, synonymous with home delivery, is leveraging its grocery brick-and-mortar investment as it battles for a greater share of wallet,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus, a provider digital grocery solutions.

Curbside delivery is another option Amazon is using to get groceries into shoppers’ hands faster. The online giant also offers free two-hour deliveries from Whole Foods stores in 24 cities.

The curbside service also takes a swipe at rivals Walmart and Target, as well as supermarket operators, including Kroger, Publix and H-E-B, which also offer drive-up grocery pickup options.

“Not only at Amazon and Whole Foods, but among grocery retailers in general, there’s a great deal of experimentation going on to see what sticks with consumers,” added Mercatus’ Perrier. “What’s becoming clear is there’s no one path to retaining customer loyalty. To compete today, grocers need to offer a selection of services and fulfillment options that cater to a variety of shopper preferences.”

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