Case Study: Bonobos Integrates In-Store Tech for Seamless Shopping Experience

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Merchant: Bonobos
Location: Nationwide
Size: 30+ Guideshop locations
Platforms: Tulip Retail
Bottom Line: In-store mobile technology can help associates forge deeper relationships with retail shoppers.

In many ways, Bonobos has become a model for e-commerce startups. Although the New York City-based company started out as an online-only men’s retailer in 2007, it has since expanded its physical presence with real world stores spread across the U.S. Today, Bonobos shoppers can try on samples of products at dozens of local “guideshops,” where employees are available to answer sizing and styling questions in person.

But with that growth, comes challenges. Since early 2016, Bonobos has been working with Tulip Retail, a mobile application platform built for retail stores and sales associates, to develop a more cohesive experience for its guideshop customers.

“With rapid store growth, Bonobos needed a way to enable guides with the tools necessary to serve the customer,” explains Dominique Essig, chief experience officer at Bonobos.

Bonobos was interested in finding an in-store technology platform that could manage the entire shopping process, from the onset of an appointment through shopping the catalog, checkout, and post-appointment. And just as important, Essig says whatever platform she selected needed to integrate with Bonobos’ single customer profile in order to create a seamless experience for the retailer’s associates.

Prior to integrating Tulip Retail’s technology across all of its guideshops last spring, store associates—which Bonobos refers to as “guides” — had been using laptop computers to complete transactions. Using Tulip Retail’s platform meant changing over to mobile and allowing store associates to complete transactions from anywhere on the showroom floor.

“What we found was that customers were more focused on the transaction instead of the experience,” Essig says. “Once we moved to the mobile POS, customers started to see the value of the guide and the customer service in stores. Our team was able to focus on driving an orientation to the brand, help more with style and fit guidance easily.”

Store associates are assisted in that “style and fit guidance” with mobile iOS devices, which they can now use on the floor to quickly find products, inventory, and customer information. Tulip’s platform also includes a catalog module with real-time access to product details, reviews, and rich media. Essig says her company’s guides rely on Tulip’s mobile platform for everything from checking-in customers to completing purchases and managing returns and exchanges.

“All data from our POS goes back into our central data warehouse. So the opportunities are endless on how we use it,” Essig says. “We have been incredibly excited about the data and the programs that we have been able to create from a marketing perspective.”

Bonobos’ successful rollout of Tulip Retail’s technology last April came as no surprise to Essig. Bonobos had already completed a four-store A/B test prior to launching Tulip’s technology in all Bonobos guideshops, measuring sales, average order values (AOV), units per transaction (UPT), conversions, and overall satisfaction rates. Essig says the company saw higher employee satisfaction scores in pilot stores, in addition to a 12% increase in AOV, a 4.7% increase in UPT, and rising customer net promoter scores (NPS) for pilot stores.

Essig says the next step for Bonobos will be to include clienteling in its program in order to help store associates build even deeper relationships with customers using data and analytics.

“Our goal is to extend the relationship between guide and customer beyond four walls,” she says. “It should allow an even easier process to follow up with customers, as well as increase in-store and at home conversion.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.