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More than a third of Hobbs’ personal shopping appointments now virtual

A shopper collects her Hobbs purchase in-store. Image courtesy of Hobbs/OneStock

More than a third of personal shopping appointments at Hobbs London now take place online, after the fashion retailer reimagined its customer experience in the wake of pandemic.

The retailer, founded in 1981 and ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research, has put more focus on omnichannel services in the wake of Covid-19 and accompanying lockdowns. 

Hobbs responded to growing demand for one-to-one appointments post-lockdown by improving its personal shopping service, offering appointments online as well as in-store. The retailer’s appointment service now enables shoppers to book personal shopping online, filling out a digital questionnaire with details including their clothes size budget, style preferences and what they are shopping for. Staff can then prepare suggestions that match shoppers’ preferences, shopping mission and what is available in the store, while also adding inspiration from items that are not in store but are available online. 

The new virtual service adds to that by offering style suggestions via Zoom. Agreed styles are then ordered by the personal shopper and delivered to the customer’s home.  This service grew in popularity over the winter of 2020/21 and now 35% of Hobbs personal shopping appointments are digital. Since non-essential retail reopened in April, in-store and online appointments have generated extra turnover put at more than £187,000. 

The retailer also boosted the speed of its click and collect service. Both services are now operated using OneStock’s order management system (OMS). The system gives a unified view of stock that meant shoppers could pick up their online orders in-store faster, since store staff can now more easily see where stock is located – whether in a warehouse or distribution centre or a nearby store or concession. Staff can now organise up to 100 click-and-collect orders a day. OneStock’s own research questioned more than 2,000 UK shoppers and found that 50% of shoppers now want to collect their online order in-store using fast track services. 

Caraline Money, group retail director at Hobbs’ parent company TFG Brands London, says: “At Hobbs we strive to give all our customers a unique and exclusive shopping experience. Working with OneStock has allowed us to ensure that we offer the best possible services for our customers by offering them personalised appointments, whether it’s online or in-store, and Click & Collect delivery options.”

Romulus Grigoras, founder and chief executive of OneStock, says: “While customer experience is important for all retailers, nowhere is it more of a must-have than in the luxury sector, where hyper-personalised, highly curated and exceptional levels of customer service are expected as a given. This means forward thinking, customer-centric luxury brands, like Hobbs, are having to reimagine how that exceptional service plays out across its channels, whether that be through fast and convenient store collections or personal 1-2-1 shopping experiences.

“By unifying stock visibility centrally, orders can then be picked from any channel, meaning retailers can extend their available ranging and fulfilment options to improving customer convenience, conversions and customer-life time value.”

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