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Fossil’s Path to Personalization is Paved with Technology

Feature Article | December 8, 2016 by David Trites

Fossil Group is on a quest to build closer relationships with its customers and is leveraging technology to get there.

“Our target audience is millennials and they demand products that are as unique as they are,” said Ed Robben, SVP and CIO, Fossil Group during an interview at the 2016 SAP Retail Forum.

One obvious route to personalization is through product.

Fossil offers free embossing and engraving on hundreds of products. More than 10% of web orders use the service and the company also placed some engraving machines in stores so customers can enjoy watching their item get personalized.

Fossil also allows customers to be watchmakers. Simply open the Watch Bar app from any device, choose the case, bezel, and strap combo of your liking, have it engraved, and in three days your custom watch will be shipped from the warehouse.

Fossil is getting personal in other ways too.

“Customer behaviors and shopping dynamics are changing and we have to find the best ways to service them,” said Robben.

Whether someone is shopping online or in-store, (or both at the same time) the transaction needs to be seamless and the brand experience needs to be consistent.

”Our omnichannel strategy is to serve the customer wherever she wants to buy, whatever she wants to buy, and get it to her wherever she is,” said Robben.

That’s not so easy when you are a $3.2 billion global fashion accessory wholesaler, retailer, and manufacturer in 27 countries across the globe and distributing to over a hundred more.

“We are in the third year of a three-year plan to modernize our omnichannel environment,” explains Robben.

With omnichannel commerce in place, Fossil will gain greater insight into its customers and can offer a more personalized level of service.

“It’s all backed by great consumer insights; how do we talk to the customer, what do we know about her, what are her preferences – and being able to drive that into a really great shopping experience,” said Robben.

Social media is another personalization play for Fossil. Its core audience is young, fashion-forward, and active on social media. “We’re trying to drive a very social conversation with our customers,” said Robben.

Fossil’s tactic is to convert social media into sales with great products. Its new line of Q touchscreen smartwatches combines classic design with innovative technology. Customers can customize everything about the watch to suit their needs and Fossil can convert watch data into personalized services.

“We’re trying to bring wearable technology to the fashion space with our watches,” said Robben.

Fossil will gain unique data about each customer when they register their smartwatch. Data that is both valuable from a one-to-one engagement perspective and critical to protect.

“It’s incredibly important that we protect our customer’s information as we go into the wearable space. The stewardship of that customer data is incredibly important to us as a service provider,” explained Robben.

Fossil’s path to personalization is paved with technology – technology that gives consumers control of product, connects the company to customers in new ways, and enables new service offerings that enhance the brand experience.

Don’t forget to register for the 2017 NRF Convention and Expo in New York City. And be sure to stop by the SAP Retail booth (#1921) to learn more about the latest innovations in retail.

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This story originally appeared on Business Trends in the SAP Community.

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