In late 2014, Bluebird challenged us to make to make a retail experience that would show off their BP30 and BM180 ruggedized enterprise mobile devices. As the NRF Big Show has the latest and greatest in retail technology, we knew we had to do something “different” to stand out.
After considering varying solutions that included beacons, RFID tags and interactive kiosks, we decided to do something that we had never before seen in action: a real-time clienteling interaction between a consumer device and an associate device. And with that, the Bluebird Golf Shop Clienteling Experience was born.
Our Clienteling Solution
The Scene: A golf shop, stocked with Nike and TaylorMade golf swag
The Associate App: Native Android application on a BP30 or BM180
The Consumer App: Native iOS application on an iPod Touch
1. The consumer walks into the store, and a friendly associate greets them.
2. The associate scans the consumer badge with the iPod and instructs the consumer to browse the store.
3. The consumer scans item QR codes with the iPod to add golf swag to their cart.
4. The consumer initiates the checkout flow and browses the list of available associates.
5. The profile of a selected associate displays a couple of tidbits about the associate, including their golf handicap.
6. When the consumer sends a checkout request to the associate, the associate chooses whether to check out with them or not.
7. When an associate accepts the request, the associate owns the consumer cart. They can scan something else into the cart or initiate the MSR checkout process.
And voila, they are done.
Developing the Apps
Once we felt we had a solid game plan for the clienteling experience, we turned it over to our developers to build it. While the application flow was pretty straight-forward, the interactions between the two apps, and the issue of shaky network connectivity at NRF, required careful planning and execution.
Even as we did testing on Saturday before the conference, Rick had to make a few tweaks to the system to account for the network interference.
Below is the technical architecture of the clienteling experience.
The Big Show
The show doors opened, and a non-stop stream of “customers” came to the booth. As soon as one customer finished the flow, our “associates” recycled back to give another show attendee the Bluebird Golf Store Clienteling Experience. It was exciting and exhausting, all at the same time. At one point, Rick was guiding nine people at once through the store.
Every BlueFletcher was proud of what we brought to NRF, but we were not prepared for the enthusiastic reaction that we received for our apps. Multiple people came time and time again to see the experience, each time bringing a different co-worker. And even more surprising, a lot of people asked us where our technology had been deployed already. They thought that our proof of concept was an actual sell-able system!
Throughout the conference, we had a lot of people ask us “Could you add this feature,” or “What about integration with that system?” Really, there are myriad possibilities for where the clienteling experience could evolve after this. Here are a few that we have thought of:
- Launch the app upon store entry using beacons, QR code scanning, etc.
- Allow associates to “hand-off” consumers to other associates or departments
- Keep a history of consumer/associate interactions to allow for continuity between visits
- Integrate with social media to embellish associate profiles or display consumer preferences
- Trigger location or preference-based notifications based on consumer behavior
- Integrate with CRM systems and Loyalty programs
- Include SMS and email features to allow associates to communicate with clients remotely
There are so many things that can be done. It really depends on the business case for individual retailers to define what else should be developed.
Bluebird challenged us to show off their devices, and we rose to the occasion. People were impressed at how seamlessly the Bluebird 2D barcode and MSR scanners fit into the clienteling process. Beyond that, we delivered a unique experience that set the booth apart from the rest of the NRF vendors (No really, people told us that!).
Did you see us at NRF? Did you like what you saw? If you want to get some more details on the clienteling application or you want to see what other mobile work we have done in the past, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And after 10 hours of standing up in the booth each day, we are ready to rest our weary feet. Seeya at the Big Show next year!