Harvey Nichols has become the first British luxury department store to offer "Live Shopping" online after signing an exclusive partnership with retail technology company, Hero.
The partnership provides an innovative range of retail technology solutions to offer customers of Harvey Nichols' seven stores a seamless shopping experience across both online and offline.
For the first stage of the partnership Harvey Nichols will offering "Live Shopping" to online customers for the first time meaning that customers shopping at harveynichols.com can choose to speak with stylists from Harvey Nichols’ seven UK stores, as well as its Dublin store, at the click of a button. They will then be connected with stylists and product experts from the closest Harvey Nichols store to them in real-time.
The move marks a significant departure from putting customers in touch with customer service teams based in off-site call centers, which remains common industry practice. Online customers will be able to interact with in-store stylists not only via instant messaging, but also via photo sharing and live video streaming.
Along with Live Shopping, Harvey Nichols and Hero have also launched Black Book, a solution enabling sales associates from Harvey Nichols to forge deeper, continuous connections with customers via messaging, while using artificial intelligence to ensure that associates are communicating with customers at the right time with the right recommendations.
Customers invited to Black Book can opt-in to stay connected with their preferred stylist in and out-of-the store, allowing customers to shop from Harvey Nichols and discover the latest product offerings from their favourite brands, wherever they are in the world. The two companies will continue to work together to explore retail technology solutions for both online and in-store.
Harvey Nichols will be the only UK luxury department store to offer Hero's technology and as part of the partnership it has taken a small stake in the technology provider via its private investment fund.
“Closing the service gap between online and in-store is a critical part of our retail strategy, and we are delighted to be partnering with Hero to offer our online customers the same level of luxury, personalised service that they would experience at our Harvey Nichols stores.
"Our commitment to evolving our digital strategy has resulted in a minority investment being made in Hero by our Asia-based private investment fund, and we look forward to exploring continued innovation with Hero to bring to reality our vision of merging physical and digital channels to offer best-in-class customer experience,” said Harvey Nichols chairman Pearson Poon.
Hero co-founder and CEO Adam Levene said: "Since day one of our partnership, we have had a shared vision to reinvent the department store experience from the ground up, with digital at the very heart. Luxury is going through a fundamental transformation and we’re honoured to be working with Harvey Nichols to write the next chapter of the story of retail.”
Hero was founded in 2015 by the then 26-year-old Levene and is used by brands including Ted Baker, John Varvatos and LVMH who employ its app to connect millions of online shoppers live with associates in their stores, via 1:1 messaging and video technology, which it says helps to boost online conversion rates and order values. The business recently announced an expansion into the US and the securing of two new investors.