Tory Burch: 'Customer-Centricity' is Retail's New Buzz Word

At Tory Burch, success seems simple—build great relationships with customers and they'll keep coming back. It sounds easy enough, but retailers know that there's a lot of work that goes into creating and maintaining genuine, lasting relationships with customers.

During Retail's BIG Show, Tory Burch's CIO Mike Giresi and Senior Vice President of global retail, Matt Marcotte, both agreed that the new buzz word in retail is "customer-centricity."

"Customer-centricity is about customer experience and delivering that experience throughout the entire retail process," explained Giresi. "Unless you've been asleep over the last few years, retail has really changed. The customer wants and expects more."

This customer-centered experience is something Tory Burch has worked hard to create. The company has invented a modern-day form of clienteling to build a powerhouse retail business that puts relationships at the forefront.

"We have a customer who is extremely sophisticated in her choices and she knows what she wants. We knew that this meant we had to create new and different ways of connecting with her," said Marcotte. "We had to create a seamless connection and an authentic relationship."

In order to give store associates the resources to build strong relationships with shoppers, Tory Burch took to technology. The company rolled out Client Book, a custom CRM application, and installed it on iPads in Tory Burch retail stores. Executives from the corporate office went on a road show and spent three days at each Tory Burch store to make sure that store associates knew how to use the technology and the deeper meaning behind building customer relationships. According to Marcotte, Clientbook has become Tory's Burch's version of Facebook.

"I am a much better friend because Facebook lists my friends' birthdays. Now, our employees do the same with our customers," said Marcotte.

The Client Book software not only reminds store associates to send a personalized note to customers on their birthdays, but it also stores sizing information, purchase history, and even special events coming up that the customer has mentioned; for instance, a late summer wedding or an annual holiday gala that happens each December. Clientbook helps Tory Burch associates keep track of when customers might need something special to wear so they can cherry-pick suggestions before the shopper even arrives at the store.

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