Will Apple’s texting tool create more personalized shopping experiences at Burberry?
Burberry has partnered with Apple to roll out a new chat service, which will allow its high-value and mobile-first customers to text directly with store associates.
Called R Message, the invite-only tool connects Burberry’s R World internal app for associates to its customer-facing app. Invited customers can text to make in-store appointments, receive personalized recommendations and purchase products.
Associates can also use the app to access real-time inventory data and a newsfeed with company updates, advertising campaign images and press mentions.
With selling floor associates often set in their way, the newsfeed is designed to motivate usage. Burberry said one reason for the tool is that digital-savvy customers often know more than associates.
“You’ve got highly skilled associates who know how to serve in a luxury way, but even for a great associate, there might be 10 percent extra that you can give them by giving them the right information at the right time,” Burberry’s VP of digital commerce Mark Morris tells Vogue Business. “Customers now know much more about what they want, and to be at that service level where you can give credible advice, you need the basics.”
R Message is being piloted in Burberry’s flagship store in Manchester, England.
Surveys find text messaging growing in acceptance as a business communication tool for increasingly mobile-first consumers. E-mail is seen as outdated and lacking immediacy while phone calls are too intrusive.
Businesses are using texts to handle appointments and alerts, such as letting customers know their table is ready at a restaurant or their car is ready for pickup. Nordstrom, Walmart and Rent the Runway are among other retailers that have been experimenting with chat to support shopping and style advice.
According to the State of Texting 2019 report by ZipWhip:
- Sixty-seven percent of people would rather use texting for appointments, reminders and scheduling than e-mail or phone call.
- Seventy-four percent respond to business text messages within an hour.
- When consumers need something from a business, the same 74 percent prefer to talk to a real person rather than a chatbot.
- Burberry and Apple want to improve brand-client relations – Vogue Business
- Apple and Burberry develop ‘R Message’ chat tool for personalized shopping – 9to5mac
- Apple working with Burberry on ‘R Message’ retail messaging app – Apple Insider
- Rent the Runway begins testing concierge texting service – Glossy
- Jetblack key to Walmart’s AI response to Amazon – The Wall Street Journal
- Nordstrom customers can now shop by text – RetailWire
- State of Texting 2019 – Zipwhip
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: In what ways is text messaging emerging as a shopping tool? Is in-store texting of customers compatible with the traditional customer-facing focus of associates?