The Frye Company has been making quality leather goods for 150 years, beginning with a small Massachusetts store that sold simple shoes for factory workers. The company, which opened a flagship store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood in 2011 and has a Boston flagship in the works, maintains its tradition of high-quality items, selling boots, shoes and accessories to a legion of loyal fans and new customers.
Despite its long-standing reputation, Frye — like all retailers — needs to “effectively communicate with their customers via mobile and online channels,” says Mac Dabah, executive vice president of Proximiant, a provider of mobile receipts and other content.
The Proximiant system allows retailers, regardless of the POS system they’re using, to transmit receipts and other information to shoppers’ smartphones. It does this without customers providing their e-mail addresses; customers need only download Proximiant’s Digital Receipts application, says Proximiant CEO Fang Cheng.
Because transaction data is pushed from the retailer to customers’ phones, rather than customers’ “pulling” data by providing contact information, customers’ privacy is safeguarded. “It’s a new way of doing mobile receipts,” Cheng says, “so it has value to the consumer and is faster and more private.”
To electronically capture the receipt, a consumer holds her phone near the device with the Proximiant solution, which sends the receipt to the phone. Transaction details appear almost immediately, so shoppers can review them before leaving the store. The software only works when the phone is within several inches of the device, making it unlikely one customer’s receipt would inadvertently be sent to another customer’s phone.
Moreover, the Proximiant receipt contains the same information as a traditional paper receipt, so the customer can use it for returns or exchanges.
Along with receipts, retailers can use the Proximiant solution to transmit mobile coupons or product instructions to customers. In effect, the receipt system becomes an element within the retailer’s customer relationship management program.
“The customer is being treated as an individual,” Cheng says. “They’re being provided with services just for them.”
Frye has been using the Proximiant solution at its SoHo store since late 2012, says Jamie Laycock, vice president of marketing and creative with Jimlar, parent of The Frye Company. Laycock notes that Frye is always looking for updated, interesting ways to engage its customers.
“Proximiant allows us a way to bring new features and benefits to our core consumer,” he says. “We are able to pinpoint characteristics and pointedly market to [our] consumer segments in a much more effective way.” With the Proximiant solution, Frye can craft a message to each customer based on specific purchases. For instance, the message may contain style suggestions or let a customer know about an event that might be of interest to her.
Plug and play
Implementing the Proximiant solution is fairly straightforward; essentially, the retailer installs a small piece of software on its cash register.
“The integration is as simple as plug-and-play,” Laycock says. “The system recognizes the [Proximiant] device as a printer.” The program is managed with the help of a back-end solution provided by Proximiant, he adds.
Minimal staff training was required, Laycock says. “It is a very intuitive system with which to work.” In fact, most of the training actually focused on informing employees of the system’s benefits.
By using the Proximiant solution, Frye has been able to observe trends in its customers’ shopping habits. Laycock says the company can more precisely adjust its marketing strategy and hone the messaging for the entire brand with this information.
“The shopper will see focused messaging instead of generic e-mail blasts,” says Dabah. Retailers can also link in their loyalty programs, so shoppers can see program point totals and other information on their phones. Additionally, retailers can send customized messages to app users, enabling customers walking by a store to see information on current promotions.
As a result, the solution increases customer retention and sales in a way that’s less intrusive than many other forms of e-mail receipts, Dabah says. It also allows retailers to tailor their communication with customers without a costly systems investment.
The Proximiant system will steadily evolve to incorporate more advanced analytics and mobile marketing features, Dabah says, as well as more powerful links between Proximiant’s services and merchants’ existing customer relationship management systems.
Down the road, Frye is looking to create more robust marketing solutions to segmented customer groups, Laycock says.
“We have learned a lot about our customer and we look forward to learning even more,” he says. “Working with Proximiant has allowed us to delve deeper into [our customers’] likes, dislikes and habits.” Without the solution, he adds, “extracting this information from our traditional sales data would be more difficult.”