Canada's High-End Harry Rosen Rolls Out Clienteling Experience to Match

It may have been built on legendary old-school service, but high-end Canadian men's wear retailer Harry Rosen has upgraded its hands-on approach to the customer experience with decidedly new-school technology.

With 16 stores in its fleet, the Toronto-based company has been serving a discerning clientele since founder Harry Rosen and his brother Lou put $500 down for their first shop in the city's Cabbagetown neighborhood, though the retailer now has 40 percent market share in an ultra-competitive environment and achieved 10 percent annual revenue growth from 2009 to 2013. Current
CEO Larry Rosen — Harry's oldest son — describes the clientele as "MOPES:" managers, owners, professionals, entrepreneurs, "to which we would add professional athletes and entertainers," he says. "Our clients are leaders or aspire to be."

Those clients are as much attracted to Harry Rosen's comprehensive mix of brands — from traditional luxury labels such as Ermenegildo Zegna and Giuseppe Zanotti to modern offerings from the likes of Citizens of Humanity and Original Paperbacks — as they are to the kind of high-touch service provided by a company whose most senior clothing advisor has been on duty for an astonishing 59 years. "We're famed for our longevity and retention of staff," notes Rosen. "Many have worked with us for more than 10, 20, 30 years."

Initially the clothing advisors kept meticulously detailed notes regarding client preferences on hand-written index cards, but that all changed once the company's client roster ballooned to half a million, rendering manual management unwieldy and unsustainable. The company undertook a much-needed upgrade to Infor CRM, which enables clothing advisors to share data between stores and segment customers according to clothing preferences, shopping frequency and average purchase price so they can offer timely and informed sales recommendations.

While this digital system solved a host of problems, Harry Rosen wanted to take things one step further. A client who dropped in for an unscheduled visit usually caught clothing advisors off-guard, prompting them to sally forth to access the customer database. Because side-by-side service is perhaps the essence of a high-touch clienteling environment, CIO Stephen Jackson realized that extending CRM to mobile platforms could elevate the experience for both customers and clothing advisors — and increase revenue per visit.

"My role as CIO is to align technology with the business and to provide our clothing advisors with a competitive edge through the most advanced clientele systems within the retail industry," says Jackson.

Harry Rosen supports a BYOD environment; clothing advisors use their own smartphones, which results in a mix of Android phones, BlackBerrys and iPhones, and a few carry tablets on the store floor. The average store includes 18,000 square feet (though the flagship clocks in at 55,000), making connectivity from any location within the four walls of utmost importance, especially as clients' communication preferences have transitioned over the years from calling to texting and emailing, notes Rosen.

Infor's mobile CRM version integrates with Harry Rosen's e=commerce site and POS, creating a unified source of enterprise data. The software tracks important KPIs such as sales, customer visit frequency, time spent with clients, revenue per client visit/lifetime, multiple unit sales percentage, profiled clients, and campaign calls. What's more, the software also integrates with Harry Rosen's labor scheduling platform, increasing operational efficiencies and allowing clients who log into the company's website to view their clothing advisor's availability.

"Everyone thinks we sell clothes, but we sell advice and wardrobe consulting," explains Rosen. "We earn clients' trust and create relationships. We haven't changed our values since our founding days, we're just letting the machines work for us." Over time, user adoption of the mobile CRM platform has grown from 33 percent to 95 percent, helping clothing advisors to be more productive and efficient.

"The pace of adoption to the mobile platform really depended on the age and awareness of the clothing advisor," Rosen says. "Our younger, tech-savvy advisors were quick to adopt. But everyone has come on board, proving there is no truth to the adage that you can't teach an old dog new tricks."

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