Challenging Peek & Cloppenburg Omnichannel Experience 

If you are in charge of customer experience and revenue this is a relevant story for you, no matter if you work in retail or any other industry.

I walked into Peek & Cloppenburg in Stuttgart city just for browsing. As I found a highly discounted trench coat I asked, if I can get this shipped home because I was about to go out and did not want to carry a bag.

I was excited because the answer was yes. But the store assistant said it will take ten days. 10! 

Me: Ten days, really? 

In-Store assistant: yes, we send it to our central warehouse and from there to use. All paperworks and logistics take ten days.

Me: really? It is a 30 min drive to my house? The customer will not accept this in the near future.

In-Store assistant: I will inform the management about your feedback, but it would be better if you tell them.

Me: No prob, I will blog about it. ūüėú

The process of getting me registered was entering my address from scratch. I asked “do you want my email address or loyalty number?” “No we cannot do this here.”

I wonde if I get my loyalty rewards?

They told me to go down to the cashier and pay in store, so I did.

There came the next surprise: the staff down there told me the home delivery is not possible….

I decided to abandon this transaction. 

The Ultimate BBQ Grill: How Artificial Intelligence Shapes Customer Expectations

Has BBQ season already begun where you live? It has for me. In fact, I got the idea for this blog while having a get-together with friends over the weekend. This time, my friend Stefan was in charge of grilling burgers for a total of six guests. As he was cooking, I began to think about what requirements matter important to me when selecting a BBQ grill. I realized I have an ultimate list of requirements for a BBQ grill, so I thought I’d share it here:

My Ultimate Requirements List for a BBQ Grill

  1. Power: Gas, charcoal, pellet or electric (this discussion can get heated)
  2. Type: Would  you prefer direct or/and indirect
  3. What you plan to grill: Fish, meat, vegetables
  4. Speed: Do you like fast and convenient or slow and celebratory?
  5. Accessories: Plethora of them (about 15 accessories for 2017)
  6. Cost: Expensive or budget friendly
  7. Space and Size: Select depending on the available

What do you think of my list? Did I miss anything you consider crucial? If so, let me know and I will gladly update my list.

Artificial Intelligence Shapes BBQ Grill Expectations

As I thought about the list, I realized that both data and machine learning change customer expectations, in particular when selecting household items like BBQ grills.

How? Let me talk about laundry and washing machines first. I am not kidding. Listening to Electrolux during the Informatica World Tour in Stockholm, I learned that they are using data to help each house find the right washing machine for their household need. In order to do so, in-store staff or configurators on the web, asked questions like: How many people live in your household? How many adults, how many kids? What fashion do you wear? What sports do you play?

Another example from JLL¬†is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. ‚ÄúData is the fuel of our organization and our differentiator in the marketplace. Empowering clients, building managers, and revenue-producing partners to paint a picture or tell a story with information has been the biggest and most important change Informatica has helped us make‚ÄĚ, said Mike Hart, Director, Research- VP, Data Management & Operations, JLL Inc.

You must be wondering, what does this have to do with your BBQ grill? Would it help if you would know things like,‚ÄĚthis grill fits 6 steaks, 4 hotdogs and 8 burgers at once‚ÄĚ, instead of reading it on a website¬†‚Äúthe primary cooking surface measures 25.6-inches wide by 18.5-inches deep‚ÄĚ. Which information helps find what you require for your family and friends?

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The story behind the scenes

You may wonder and question how this works. The story of the washing machines shows that enterprises can match buyer persona with products for better targeting and better service. Transforming a grill surface measurement into the average sizes of burgers, steaks and sausages can be automated by machine learning and automated data processes in the context of master data management, called MDM.

In today’s world brands, manufacturers and retailers manage attributes of the products and services like size, speed or similar attributes. Today, enterprises standardize their data to make sure you are able to see only in-stock items, for example see all red polo jerseys when activating the red color filter. In future, this will be augmented by transforming these values into a more customer friendly message making life easier for the client, which turns into better conversion and customer loyalty.

And there will be more use cases of how AI can lift up the product categorization for omnichannel commerce, but I will tackle this in future blogs.

The New Customer Engagement: Social, Individual, Fast

I know, it is not usual to promote a certain brand on a blog like this. But I have to share this customer experience with Suitsupply. It is my favorite brand for suits, shoes and accessories, I wear for business or events like weddings.

First of all it started off with an issue. I was trying to order shoes in 44.5 (EU size). The web shop showed that this size was not available right now, but I can create an alert, when it is available. I decided to do this. I guess you are not surprised that I was doing this with my smartphone. Sadly it turned out that this function was not working properly, it was only allowing me to select the alert for EU size 39. So I decided to tweet about it.

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With that, my customer experience journey started. They immediately send me a  direct Twitter message. They have been able to identify me and my customer profile, from knowing my twitter name @benrund and immediately matching it to my full profile and email address below.

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But this was not it. They have proven to be fast and agile and made it easy for me to spend my money. A direct link led me to the shopping cart, where I just had to do the transaction. Done. A few minutes later the next twitter message was in.

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Yes, these  shopping the style service are not new. But I tended not to use them because I have fun on creating my own style and outfit. Selling an outfit requires to build a bundle of products like, shoes + belt + pants + shirt. Brands and retailers are doing this with PIM apps for merchandisers and marketers. They can easily group products together into a bundle, which is promoted in a certain campaign. Sounds obvious but, reality still shows a lot companies have not solved this challenge.

This time I decided to test it, as they showed real service and focus on me as a client. I signed up for the Box Office. But did have to work, so I did not continue filling out my preferences. Just after few hours, later at night, it was 11 pm I was contacted via WhatsApp. This means they know my cell phone number, and I gave them permission to use it.

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Via WhatsApp, which was very easy for me, I sent over my preferences in an unstructured way. For the result, I did not have to wait long, a mid size box, but with tons of things in it, was shipped. See my pics.

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I am definitely keeping some items, not all. But all the selected sizes are¬†perfect, they fit! And you have to know I am somewhat tall ūüėȬ†They really have shown what Customer 360 means.

PS: What happens if I ask them to show me my full customer profile? With the GDRP Individuals will have more information on how their data is processed and this information should be available in a clear and understandable way. Data protection authorities will be able to fine companies who do not comply with EU rules up to 4% of their global annual revenue. This is relevant to all companies who serve EU citizens.

PPS: While I was impressed by the simple experience of WhattsAppp, companies like Twilio and Smoope (even from my hometown Stuttgart), try to take messaging as a service to the next level for holistic, end-to-end omnichannel customer engagement strategy.

Shopping Guide Siena (South Toskana)

Everyone talks about Florence, but Siena is one of the pearls of the Toskana. You can easily combine sight seeing with shopping all in walking distance. If your are a fashionista check out these stores in Siena. The city is situated up in the hills, so park your car at the train station or the parking lot called San Francesco and use the five escalators to reach the city. 

I suggest you go on a Wednesday and combine the weekly market between 8-13h (Via La Lizza) with city shopping in the afternoon. But plan a break for a coffee or Spritz at Caffe del Corso and have a bite at the market.

The weekly “Mercado” is pretty large for such a small city and comes with all you need. Fresh fruits and vegetables, burrata, or a snack on the go. 

Regarding fashion you may find some very exclusive picks or dresses starting from 5‚ā¨. With the right eye for style ladies can find a special dress with Italian style for low budget.

If you are more into real stores, here are some names you should check out in google maps when planning your trip.

Ginger, Aloe & Wolf, Mag, Franchi (Moschino and more), Dolci, Dixie (for her) and right across Sartorio Rossi suits for him.

Let me close with a few pics of looks and pieces I liked this summer.


As a result my wife got some real good discount on Moschino things and I found the most craziest shoes I had so far. And finally “grazie mille” at my friend Fabio for showing us Siena. 

Shopping Guide Berlin For Her and Him

Berlin. August. 31 degrees. But in fashion the next season is always close. 

If you travel Berlin, avoid Kurf√ľrstendamm. A roof top Glas of champagne at KaDeWe is never a wrong thing, but please go to places with more flair. Here is a casual business look I found, close to the Berlin Internet Start Up in a store at Hackesche H√∂fe.

A sakko like this you may already have in your closet (I hope so), but combine it with used jeans shirt like this piece from Bob, a camouflage bag, dark pocket square and brown Floris van Bommel boots.

Also check out http://www.14oz.com, who runs a outlet store close to their main store. Personalize your snap back from New Era in their small flagship store and look a real hard working man with boots and jeans from Burg & Schild

For her: Princess goes Hollywood, Rosenthaler Str., has super picks, your friends will be jealous about…. Kashmir!

If you go shopping there, close your day with a drink in one of the trendy bars, like Cordobar, Revolver Burger or one of many other nice places around Hackescher Markt.