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Debenhams boosts footfall with personal shopping appointments system 

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Debenhams, one of the world’s top international department stores, has significantly increased in-store visitors by rolling out an omnichannel appointment system that allows customers to book personal shopper sessions in 88 key stores through their mobiles.

Debenhams has offered an industry-leading personal shopping service for over twenty years. The challenge was that awareness and new user growth were extremely low.

Debenhams knew its in-store personal shopping sessions were one of the key ways to engage with its highest value customers, but the experience surrounding booking was holding it back.

Donna Hudson, Senior Marketing Co-ordinator at Debenhams explains: “While the customers who regularly used our personal shopping service knew it was a great experience, the booking system didn’t reflect that. We needed a premium system to give customers a premium service.”

Behind the scenes, the booking process was managed through a legacy infrastructure that had been put together in the very early days of the store’s online efforts.

This system wasn’t designed for a new mobile-savvy shopping audience and it didn’t integrate smoothly with the look and feel of the Debenhams website. On top of that it had no capacity to reveal the data of how customers used the service, data which could prove to be invaluable for the business.

Head Office also had no realtime visibility of booking performance and adding, updating or amending appointments was tricky. Even Staff found the system frustrating and inefficient, with complaints it was unable to convey the true value of personal shopping sessions and couldn’t be linked to the department store’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

Glenn Shoosmith, CEO of BookingBug says: “The Debenhams Personal Shopper service is a great example of how brands can build closer connections with their customers. Building real loyalty still happens most effectively offline. This is where BookingBug comes in. We bridge the gap between online and off, increasing the important interactions with the highest value customers”

Bringing the customer closer

Since integrating BookingBug in 2016, there has been a 25% uplift in bookings for Debenhams’ personal shopping service, with the amount of online bookings doubling in this period.

Availability is now checked automatically and updated in real time. On top of this, customers can subscribe to SMS and email reminders to ensure maximum convenience for them and higher attendance rates for the team.

All bookings, from all channels and stores are managed through BookingBug. Thanks to an integration with Zoho CRM, Debenhams can now consolidate all this information and generate reports to accurately measure and track performance levels and have visibility of the value of bookings in a way that wasn’t possible before.

This allows head office to ensure the service is adequately resourced during peak periods and take key steps to build a more meaningful relationship with their customers.

Hudson explains the impact of this with customers: “More personal shopping appointments means more customers than ever are receiving the ultimate, VIP treatment with Debenhams. This grows their loyalty and helps them become advocates for the unique, differentiated and exclusive experience we work hard to offer. After 12 months live we haven’t experienced a second of downtime and feedback from staff and customers has been excellent. We also now know that when the time comes to consider offering additional services, such as bra fittings or beauty sessions, we have a robust platform and audience to power it. Before BookingBug we couldn’t have been sure we’d see real results or have been able to measure the impact.”

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