How to deliver in-store customer experience online? Interview with Scott Emmons, INSIDE by Powerfront Brand Ambassador

Today the customer journey is becoming more and more complex. Thus, on one hand, we are expecting the same high level customer experience disregarding where he shops (in brand flagship, in multi-brand physical store or online). However, on the other hand, delivering the same brand experience and the same level of service across the channels is not that easy. I have invited Scott Emmons, Innovator, Keynote Speaker, and Inside by Powerfront Brand Ambassador to talk about how the online customer experience can be significantly improved through using the unique technology.

Hi Scott! Thank you so much for having this conversation today. Could you please give a bit more details about your expertise?

I work with brands a technology partners around the globe to deliver new game changing customer experience. I spent 16-year developing luxury retail. In 2012 I have founded and built the Innovation Lab at Neiman Marcus, and today I am a part of the Powerfront team and act as a brand ambassador for our amazing customer engagement platform INSIDE.

Could you please explain in a few words what is Powerfront?

Powerfront was founded in 2001 as an eCommerce and content management system platform. The company has developed a tool that allows online shops and their employees to be able to visually see their online customers and reach out to them offering assistance in order to make their online shopping journey smooth and similar to an in-store experience. This solution called INSIDE was developed in 2012, introduced to the market in 2015, and it has continued developing and becoming more sophisticated and intelligent with each release.

First of all, utilizing rich data and visualization to help businesses connect with their customers on a deeply personalized level, INSIDE allows brands to mirror the in-store customer experience.

Today leading global brands like Gucci, Valentino, Staples, Sephora, Ulta, Shiseido et L’Oreal choose INSIDE for its unique approach to customer engagement and personalization, sentiment analysis, and data visualization.

Our software INSIDE™ has changed the way customer service agents see the shoppers. Instead of numbers and charts the agents see physical like store on the screen and colourful avatars representing the customers currently visiting their e-commerce store. We provide real-time actionable intelligence that is transforming the online retail experience.

Powerfront collects every visitor behaviour across all touchpoints – pages visited, product views, products added to basket and purchases. INSIDE is unique because we are the only chat and messaging provider that analyzes the customer sentiment based on the chat in real-time. This allows the agent to prioritise interaction with customers based on their status, and ultimately provides a better more personalised experience for the end-user.

I have noticed that each avatar is different. They are of different colours. Some of them have baskets, others carry suitcases, their face expression is also different. What does it mean?

Indeed, each Avatar telling a customer’s story. For example, Blue is a 1st time visitor, Yellow has been visiting the shop more than once. Green has an account. VIP visitors have a special badge, customers with basket do currently have items in their basket, those with suitcases go through checkout process. Facial expression is also very important. You can see who is happy, unhappy, neutral or needs help. In addition to that you can see visually where the customers currently shop. On the screen they are standing in different areas of the store shopping for different category or going through checkout process. Avatar visually signify customers’ behaviour, history, and preferences. The immediate recognition and visual processing of data leads to more rapid response and handling times and improves the connection between the agent and the customer.

Who are those robots on the screen and the avatars wearing white?

The robots are virtual assistants. You can choose criteria and define when bot assistant or virtual assistant is taking care of the customers and when human customer service agent needs to be involved.

Can the store environment be personalised? Can we create branded store environment?

Yes, we offer different virtual store layouts for different product categories. For example, fashion will be different from beauty or travel. For large brands higher level of branding can be created.

Is it possible to have single customer view across multiple channels?

Yes, if you have CRM system functioning across the channels it is possible. In this case your customer service agents can see history of purchase both online and offline. INSIDE can be linked with Saleforce or Zendesk. We can interact with customer on the website, in the application, on messengers, e-mail, via social media etc.

How does INSIDE work in multilanguage environment? For example, English speaking customer is sending a question via chat on French e-commerce site.

We offer 20 display languages, and our solution fits well to multinational environment.

Do you see particularly high success of INSIDE in certain industries?

INSIDE is pretty much universal and can be adapted well to different industries. We perform very well in Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Office Supply, Automobiles, Higher Education.

What about your competitors? Who are they?

There are plenty of companies offering customer service solutions starting from large players such as Oracle et Zendesk, and to smaller niche operators. Nevertheless, Powerfront   is the only company improving customer service this way. Nobody does it like us. The data allows businesses to craft very sophisticated proactive engagements that no other vendor can offer.

How do you work with your clients? Is it complicated to install INSIDE? Does it involve high cost?

Absolutely not. INSIDE is quite easy to implement. We are just adding tags to your website. No deep integration or development is required. Our principal platform for data instants and database is Amazon Web Services, however we can propose the solution on Microsoft. To our potential clients we can offer a test for 3 – 4 agents and move forward to the permanent solution after the test results are obtained.

I know that you are also operating in video-streaming.

Yes, we offer a concept of live show. During this show certain products can be presented. It’s a good format for example for masterclasses and makeup demo.

When a brand implements your solution do the customers of the brand see any difference from the front office?

As INSIDE is improving interaction of the customer service agents with the shoppers, the brand’s clients do see the same store as usual, but they are having better interaction with customer service and more personalised elevated consumer experience.

Thank you so much for this insightful interview, for demonstrating solution able to improve consumer experience and create real store feeling online.