Hobbs adds to CX with digital appointments

British luxury fashion brand, Hobbs, has partnered with OneStock, the leading modern and agile Order Management System (OMS) provider, to enhance its omnichannel customer experience (CX) with improved click-and-collect services and in-store and virtual appointments.

Founded in 1981 in London, Hobbs has become synonymous with contemporary yet timeless style, offering luxury fashion shoppers affordable modern designs, feminine tailoring and heritage craftsmanship.  As a fashion business that puts customer experience at the front and centre of its operations, Hobbs wanted to extend the omnichannel services it offered to its shoppers, especially in the light of the new demands and evolving expectations of post-lockdown shoppers.

Original research of over 2,000 UK shoppers in OneStock’s latest report ‘Omnichannel Study: How retailers can serve the post-Covid shopper’ showed that post-lockdown shoppers increasingly want quicker order collections available in stores, with half (50%) now wanting retailers to offer fast-track click-and-collect services.

Partnering with OneStock, Hobbs was able to create a unified view of stock to improve its click-and-collect services, so that customers could pick-up their online orders in-store faster, driving ambient store footfall and boosting cross- and up-selling opportunities.  Using the intuitive employee interface of the OMS, store associates can now use the solution to build click-and-collect orders, based on real-time inventory visibility of the most immediately available stock across its sales channels – whether that’s in the store itself, in a nearby store or concession or in its online warehouse or distribution centre (DC).  With store staff able to orchestrate up to 100 click-and-collect orders per day, Hobbs has improved its speed of online fulfilment to the store, whilst reducing costs and shipping delays.

Hobbs has also used the OMS to power enhanced personal shopping capabilities, both in-store and online, in response to a growing demand for one-to-one appointments amongst its customers, a trend that came out of post-lockdown buying behaviours as retailers looked for ways to allow social distancing in-store whilst building in customer experience.   A recent survey by Qudini of 2,000 UK shoppers showed that 69% wanted to be able to book appointments in-store, rising to 93% amongst higher income households and luxury shoppers.

Launched across all of its 59 UK stores, Hobbs’ appointment service now allows customers to book a personal shopping experience online and fill out a digital questionnaire to personalise their visit, detailing their clothing size, budget, style preferences and what they’re shopping for.  This allows the store associates to prepare style suggestions matched to the customers’ preferences and shopping mission based on available stock in that store, as well as curating inspiration from the retailers’ online catalogue for any suitable styles not available in-store.

Hobbs also rolled out the appointments service virtually – allowing shoppers to enjoy a curated, 1-2-1 luxury shopping experience digitally from the comfort and safety of their own home via a Zoom video link.  Orders are then placed by the personal shopper and fulfilled to the customer’s home address.  This became especially important for customer engagement during the covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns in Winter 2020-21 when stores were closed, but demand has remains even as stores have unlocked.  Now 35% of all Hobbs appointments are digital.

Since non-essential retail reopened on 12 April 2021, Hobbs’ in-store and online appointment services have become a valuable new sales channel for the fashion retailer, generating over £187k of additional turnover.

Caraline Money, Group Retail Director – TFG Brands London, commented:

“At Hobbs we strive to give all our customers a unique and exclusive shopping experience.  Working with OneStock has allowed us to ensure that we offer the best possible services for our customers by offering them personalised appointments, whether it’s online or in-store, and Click & Collect delivery options.  OneStock understood our needs immediately and have been able to offer excellent advice throughout our collaboration.”

Romulus Grigoras, Founder and CEO at OneStock, commented: “While customer experience is important for all retailers, nowhere is it more of a must-have than in the luxury sector, where hyper-personalised, highly curated and exceptional levels of customer service are expected as a given.  This means forward thinking, customer-centric luxury brands, like Hobbs, are having to reimagine how that exceptional service plays out across its channels, whether that be through fast and convenient sore collections or personal 1-2-1 shopping experiences.”

“By unifying stock visibility centrally, orders can then be picked from any channel, meaning retailers can extend their available ranging and fulfilment options to improving customer convenience, conversions and customer-life time value,” Grigoras concluded.

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