Hero is striving to take clienteling to a new level. The firm, launched in 2015 by Adam Levene, is working with Harvey Nichols, Heal’s, Ted Baker, Annoushka, LVMH, Richemont, John Hardy, Tailored Brands and John Varvatos to transform “offline retail space into smart stores of the future.”
The company works with brands to equip store associates with technology that turns them into “digitally connected brand champions” while enabling them to “sell, earn and build relationships both online and in physical stores, expanding their reach to a global audience and also creating sales opportunities beyond traditional store hours,” the company noted.
The success of the platform is driving new partnerships (Credo just inked a deal with Hero earlier this month) while also requiring the company to bolster its executive ranks. This past month, Hero named noted fashion and luxury executive Marc Hruschka as president of luxury strategy and partnerships. Hero said in a statement that Hruschka, who was the former president and chief executive officer of Chopard as well as chief commercial officer at John Hardy USA Inc., has made the “jump from traditional pillars of luxury to a retail tech start-up environment” where he can execute “Hero’s vision and mission to save retail.”
The move comes at a time when retail may need a bit of saving. For example, Amazon, overshadowing all corners of the market, took half of last year’s online holiday sales while continuing to expand into apparel and luxury. Its presence is forcing traditional luxury players to adopt new tactics to woo shoppers, which includes using clienteling technology.
For its part, Hero’s platform fosters interaction between store associates and customers via messaging, pictures and video in a way that elevates the traditional form of retail selling. It’s clienteling enhanced by increased personalization that is done in real time and can focus on sizing, styling and product availability.
Pearson Poon, executive director at Harvey Nichols, said the platform helps improve the customer experience by “closing the service gap between online and in-store” which is a “critical part of our retail strategy.” Poon said working with Hero allows the brand “to offer our online customers the same level of luxury, personalized service that they would experience at our Harvey Nichols stores.”
Mark Brashear, president and ceo of John Varvatos Enterprises said “combining offline and online retail, Hero is unique in helping us transform how we engage with our customers.”
According to Alistair Crane, Hero’s chief executive officer, the platform reimagines the entire “omnichannel sales experience.” He said it aligns the store-level associate with the online site in a way that aims to “delight the shopper.” It is also delighting retailers’ chief financial officers.
Crane noted that retailers can add $38 million in additional annual sales by using Hero. “Retail brands using it are also seeing average order values increasing significantly,” he said adding that companies on the platform are experiencing AOV gains of about $300. For sales associates using Hero, new sales are triggered every 20 minutes on average and they can subsequently earn $840 more each month, according to Crane.
Hruschka said this aspect of Hero resolves the issue of sales associates who have no reason for helping shoppers in stores make online purchases. “For many sales associates, there’s no incentive to facilitate an omnichannel experience,” he explained. “Hero changes this by helping them make more money.”
Meanwhile, customers who shop through Hero “convert 10 times higher than those that don’t,” the company said. “When customers shop using Hero, they spend 63 percent more than those that shop alone. Customers that connect to a store using Hero are three times more likely to visit a store after buying online.”
These metrics are helping put a spotlight on the platform. Earlier this month, Hero said “clean beauty” retailer Credo launched the platform. The goal for Credo is complicated, but the company said Hero is making the execution easy.
Credo said it is looking to help “new customers understand how to try effective, nontoxic beauty products with a Credo Clean Swap.” The “swap” is a guided merchandising program that helps shoppers know the difference between products while finding the right match. It’s complicated, Credo said, which is why the company hires “licensed aestheticians and makeup artists” in its stores to provide “easy, fun and educational help” while aiming to have the “same level of expertise found in our stores on our web site.”
This approach to align the in-store experience with the online is why Credo described Hero as the “perfect partner to take what works exceptionally well in our stores, and translate it to new customers on our web site.”