Creating Online and In-Store Traffic Through Omnichannel Partnerships

How Little Burgundy is using unique partnership and omnichannel strategies that help convert more customers in-store and online.

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Although many brands were forced to invest a bit more into their ecommerce operations in 2020 than they expected, many still have brick and mortar stores that need attention, too. Foot traffic is down at local malls and on Main Streets all over the world, but there is a way to bring people back to that in-store experience.

Audrey Gauthier is the Vice-President of Marketing and Ecommerce for Little Burgundy, a multi-brand footwear retailer owned by Genesco, and she believes that an omnichannel approach and some creative partnerships are the answer to this widespread problem.

Gauthier explains that customers that are comfortable with both in-store and online shopping will ultimately be your highest-value customers, so finding ways to convert in both areas is going to be a major challenge for brands everywhere. Little Burgundy is facing that challenge by focusing on partnerships with everyone from local artists to banks to malls and other retailers in order to bring more traffic in-store while also providing new and exciting online shopping experiences.

But no matter how a customer interacts with Little Burgundy, Gauthier says one thing remains constant.

“Regardless of the channel, we really need to provide the very best experience we can to our customer,” she says.

And the Little Burgundy experience is unique. Although the company is a multi-brand retailer, Gauthier explains that all of its local shops have a personality of their own.

“We really tend to do things locally and try to connect with local communities,” she says. “Our stores look a bit different from every region. We try to partner also with local influencers, local artists, and ambassadors. So, I would describe us as, really, a multi-brand retailer that carry brands like Dr. Martens, Converse, Vans, brands that you can get in a lot of other retail stores, but even though we’re multi-brand, we really have a strong artistic brand DNA.”

That artistic DNA is the glue that holds Little Burgundy together across its stores and online channels. It’s also the main identifying factor when it comes to brand recognition.

As Gauthier says, having an edgy style and look with a bit of local flair is what Little Burgundy shoppers look for and connect with when they engage with the brand.

“We’re really trying to have our ads running, but really with a strong artistic direction,” Gauthier says, “It’s really important for us, and I think it’s one of our strengths as a multi-brand retailer to be able to tell a story to our blog, our newsletter, our in-store window, with our own tone of voice, even though we’re going to market Dr. Martens, Adidas, Nike, like any other brands.”

When the story gets told to the millions of Little Burgundy customers and throughout the stores in local markets, naturally there will be feedback. At Little Burgundy, that feedback is always welcome. In fact, Genesco, which owns Little Burgundy, has made it a priority to implement transparent channels of communication that allow in-store associates to share feedback with marketing and ecommerce teams, and anything in between. The belief is that when there are open and transparent lines of communication through all levels of an organization, improvements that have a real impact can be made much easier. When an in-store sales associate can easily present feedback she received from a customer to the ecommerce or marketing team, that customer insight which may have gone unnoticed before can instead be turned into a new solution or campaign.

“I feel that transparent communication that we have within the company is such an eye-opener for everyone, actually,” Gauthier admits. “And there’s just a lot of transparency between what’s actually happening from the sales floor to the office decisions that are being taken.”

One of those decisions goes back to creating the best possible experiences for customers wherever they interact with Little Burgundy. Many brands want to have great design, awesome events, sales, and content that draws customers in. But, ultimately, what customers want is to have confidence that what they order will be delivered correctly. In order to accomplish this, Gauthier says that going back to the basics is something that all eCommerce professionals should think about.

“I think there’s a lot of good A.I. solutions and a lot of good front end customization, but most of the retailers still have a little bit of trouble with their backend and just decreasing their numbers of cancellations or [with] shipping faster or having a good return process,” she says. “So, the improvement we’re doing is more in terms of inventory management and being more reliable in that sense. That’s not the prettiest thing that we could see on the website or things like that, but it’s really something that on the long end. It’s just going to give confidence to our customer that we’re able to commit to a fast delivery or that if you order from us, you’re actually going to get through your product and it’s not going to get canceled.”

To hear more from Gauthier, check out her episode of Up Next in Commerce.

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