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Dreamforce 2017: How John Varvatos Blends Digital With Physical

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It’s safe to say that the stories about retail stores dying are far from accurate. Transforming, yes; dying, definitely not. Experiential retail is going strong, and the John Varvatos store in San Francisco is just one of many examples of brick-and-mortar stores’ potential.

During a Store Tour event on the first day of Dreamforce, executives from both Salesforce and John Varvatos revealed how they are delivering an exceptional luxury experience for the modern male shopper.

In a visionary experience, using Salesforce Commerce Cloud, John Varvatos is blending the digital and physical by offering endless aisle capabilities; a seamless, mobile-optimized e-Commerce experience; and in-store clienteling capabilities. In addition, the store in San Francisco even has a full-blown barber shop to help consumers complete their looks.

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“There’s so much being written about stores going away and dying, but we are seeing this incredible resurgence of the store in an experiential way,” said Shelley Bransten, SVP of Retail for Salesforce. “John Varvatos is showcasing how they are bringing technology into the store to create a more connected experience.”

It all comes down to the customer, according to Anthony Davolos, Senior Direct of Marketing and Events for John Varvatos. “For luxury retail and John Varvatos specifically, it’s all about client first,” he said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “For us, it’s all about making sure we can help wardrobe the guy and put outfits together even if we don’t have it in store. And being able to save all the information about a client is important.”

Davolos also emphasized the company’s focus on delivering unique content that tells a story on its e-Commerce site. For example, the web site shows the brand’s seasonal fashion shows and allows customers to shop the clothing coming down the runway. “You can talk about a fashion show or a look book, but featuring a fashion show on the web site and allowing people to order the limited-edition pieces on the web site from it — that’s technology and retail working together hand in hand,” said Davalos.

As for the future of John Varvatos shopping experiences, the company recently began testing a chat feature on its web site. “Being able to talk to an associate who lives, breathes and wears the product every day — that person helping someone with a transaction online is invaluable,” said Davolos. Technology can also supplement the expertise and experience of people, he noted: “I’m excited about chatbots suggesting wardrobes.”

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