While it is already a well-known fact that physical and digital retailers cannot and must not be in conflict with each other, it is just as true that a direct line can be created between these two “factions” so that they can work together towards a common mission: to sell. And this has given rise to services that offer authentic sideline experiences in order to enjoy the brand in an original and different way. The concept of Customer Journey is practically all of this, offering unexpected and innovative ways to really get to know what you are buying and, consequently, wear it with greater awareness. An example? Some storekeepers have created an App that allows the end customer to find the nearest boutique that stocks a specific product so as to finalize the purchase at a physical sales point, while others are designing ad hoc presentations for tourists to capture their attention with the added value of made in Italy. And there are also companies that are either planning to open single-brand stores or restyling their e-commerce to involve retailers more closely in their world and make them more prepared and competitive. The “journey” has already begun and promises continuous surprises!
COI, Commercio Oreficeria Italiana
WHO: FADI AYSHOH, RETAIL DIRECTOR
WHY: SINCE 1954, A TRUE POINT OF REFERENCE FOR FOREIGN AUDIENCE PASSIONATE ABOUT MADE IN ITALY JEWELRY
WHERE: FLORENCE, ITALY
When it opened in 1954, it was supposed to look like a sui generis project, one of those shooting stars destined to disappear in a short time. Instead, COI, Commercio Oreficeria Italiana headquartered in via Por Santa Maria 8, has slowly become a point of reference for wealthy tourists passing through Florence, thanks to constant word of mouth that has made its fame grow so much to seize the attention of Gold Art. Since 2019, this elegant multibrand jewelry store - Marco Bicego, Fope, Tavanti, Falcinelli Italy and Serafino Consoli are among the most requested brands – has been owned by the group from Arezzo, and from this year it also boasts two windows inside two highly strategic locations, considering the target, namely the Savoy and Four Seasons Hotel. At first glance, we might even think that it is a boutique like many others, were it not for the fact that the sales team is specifically trained to illustrate in a short time the aesthetic and technical features of the manufacturing creations that find in Made in Italy a great added value of appeal to foreign audience. So, you go in, attend a brief explanation on the single brand based on the tastes and requests of the customer or group that has previously booked the visit, and then you buy. The whole thing in a short time, calibrated according to the needs of those who are in Florence for a leisure stay, but enough to do everything with peace of mind. Such experience often builds customer loyalty, so much so that Gold Art has decided to create a “virtual” figure of personal shopper for those who want to continue shopping from home, on the coi-firenze.it website.
WHO: FRANCESCO JUNIOR ROMANO, FOUNDER AND CEO
WHY: THE FIRST SOCIAL SHOWCASE IN THE WORLD OF CLOTHING THAT CREATES AN ONLINE CONTACT WITH THE BUYER
WHERE: ANZIO, ROME, ITALY
Francesco Romano, or rather Junior. And rightly so, this young man from Anzio is keen to emphasize his "junior" status because, at only 29 years of age, founding a start-up that has been chosen by Back To Work 24 for a crowdfunding operation to be sponsored on all social media as of January, is certainly a proud morsel to put on one’s plate. Francesco describes the genesis of Buyu as follows: «My family has two jewelry stores and I have been personally involved in them for seven years. As a retailer, I am no stranger to the many problems that have arisen with the spreading popularity of e-commerce. Having a passion for high tech myself, I therefore started thinking about how to put online at the service of physical retail. And the result is Buyu, which at the moment only concerns fashion but sooner or later, it will also involve the jewelry sector. What is it exactly? Fundamentally, it is an online shop for retailers, who can create their own space, free of charge, display their products, publish photos with details about size, color, brand, etc.… Then the customers come into play. When searching for a certain product, they can immediately find out which store in their vicinity has that product in stock. It’s a blend of different types of social media that helps local commerce and encourages the customer to return to the physical seller where he or she can also receive specific advice. A utility service at zero cost, unlike customer profiling services which are on demand and therefore subject to payment. An example? A big brand may know what its overall best-selling product is but, to date, not what its most sought-after product is in each area. Buyu does. And that changes everything because it will know precisely how to encourage the purchase with no margin for error.»
WHO: BIBI VAN DER VELDEN, FOUNDER
WHY: A LUXURIOUS IDEA OF A COSTUMER JOURNEY TO BE EXPERIENCED DIRECTLY IN THE LIVING ROOM OF YOUR HOME
WHERE: AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
«Buying fine jewelry is like taking a unique journey. When you find the piece that perfectly reflects your personality, it’s the same feeling of discovery and excitement - like stumbling across a hidden gem,» states Bibi Van Der Velden on the on-line store Auverture she founded, where you can view and buy the creations of a sophisticated array of independent designers. Her statement is certainly true of “The Jewellery Box”, the platform’s new customer journey proposal, which adds an extra dose of luxury to the phygital concept, creating an accurate and creative link between the online and offline experience. “Keep the pieces you love, we collect the rest” is the call to action that accompanies the initiative, revealing its exclusivity. Here’s how it works: after answering an online quiz, a team of in-house experts prepares a jewelry box with a series of jewels, selected according to the customer’s personal taste, and delivers it directly to their home. Once you have received the jewelry box, simply scan a tag to find out more about each piece of jewelry or make an appointment with one of the experts for advice during the trial. There are no additional costs or insurances involved. Once you have chosen your purchases, the rest will be collected and returned to the sender: how to turn simplicity into a luxurious gesture.
WHO: ALESSANDRO SARACINO, FOUNDER E CEO
WHY: A SECOND GENERATION E-COMMERCE THAT INTEGRATES ON-LINE AND IN-STORE EXPERIENCE
WHERE: VALENZA, ITALY
The retail world is about to receive great news from Crieri. Firstly, and decidedly at odds with the general mood of the market, the opening of a series of flagship boutiques in the main Italian cities in 2022. Secondly, an e-commerce model that we could define as two-level. In fact, the Valenza-based brand’s new e-shop will be up and running by the end of the year and, in addition to allowing customers to make purchases in the usual smart way with delivery directly to their homes, they will also be able to integrate the virtual experience with the physical by completing the purchase in the nearest boutique. This will guarantee the customer a more tangible immersion in the Crieri world with additional information about the collections and individual pieces and therefore the chance to make a more informed choice. It will then be the retailer’s task, and pleasure, to entice the esteemed “guest” with special discounts, a small welcome gift or customization of the product according to requirements. A “support” task which integrates physical and digital and through which the retailer will be rewarded by the company by sharing the profits of the purchase that started online and was finalized in the boutique. And that's not all. The site will also have a reserved area for buyers which will developed “in levels”: the more the buyers use it, enriching their profile with content, the more they will be able to obtain extra quality. An example? Uploading photos or giving feedback on customers' reactions and comments on the various pieces, will allow access to the next level, eventually arriving at the Crieri Academy, with its array of webinars and full immersion activities with the sole purpose of facilitating sales.