Customers of TUMI, known for its premium travel products and accessories, expect a high level of service when they shop in the store. To augment the knowledge of the sales staff, the operator of an independent TUMI store has deployed an iPad-based application from Kokley that can help customers and associates narrow the selection of styles and colors of luggage, briefcases and other items.The retailer is using two stationary iPads — one at the POS and another at the front of the store — to allow shoppers to find the right match from more than 600 products; perform registration services; and send email gift hints and reminders. TUMI also can use the system to glean data on buyer behavior.
“It is a great tool that customers can use explore the wide range of products we offer on their own or it can be used by associates as they work with customers to help them choose just the right item,” said Demian Wendrow, Director of Operations for The London Harness Co. & TUMI, which operates an independent TUMI store in Wellesley, Mass. The luggage company operates approximately 200 corporate stores.
The system, which was installed in the second half of 2012, proved valuable during the past holiday season, Wendrow said. For example, “We were working with a gentleman who wanted a specific briefcase for Christmas. We were able to send his wife a note, letting her know the particular style that he wanted. That is a great feature. It also allows us to do follow up. We can remind someone that they haven’t picked up the gift yet and let them know exactly what the recipient wants.”
One requirement, stressed by TUMI, was that the system had to be intuitive and easy to use for both customers and associates. “People are becoming more and more comfortable with the technology as so many people now have iPads and tablets,” Wendrow explained, adding that the iPad’s high-resolution touch screen makes it attractive. Additionally, the iPad kiosk, also developed by Kokley, fits in with the store’s upscale environment.
A Thoughtful Design
Before designing the application, TUMI supplied Kokley with detailed product descriptions and a thorough list of travelers’ top considerations and questions. Some of the typical questions to help narrow the choices revolve around the type of travel, the number of wheels and material preferences.
Wendrow stressed that “asking the right questions in the right order” helps to quickly filter an overwhelming choice of products down to two or three. This is a practical number for associates to bring to the customer so that they can examine them more closely. While the company has an extensive product catalog available online, he explained that the iPad experience simplifies the selection.
While customers and sales associates were slightly wary of the system at the beginning, Wendrow noted, they now appreciate the value of the technology. “Customers come in to the store instead of going online for a reason. They come to talk, to touch, and to have a one-on-one customer experience. This brings the live salesperson and the technology together for the customer.”
Wendrow and his staff anticipate even greater efficiency and customer engagement when the Kokley system is integrated with the store’s POS and inventory management systems, which is expected to take place later this year.
Currently, it takes a separate computer, a log in and approximately 10 clicks to look up inventory on hand, and Wendrow noted that the integration should streamline that process. The integration with the POS system will allow shoppers to complete the entire transaction at the kiosk.