As Outdoor Voices expands its retail footprint, the digitally native brand is modernizing its omnichannel experience for its store associates—and customers.
The company has partnered with NewStore, an omnichannel platform that has worked with brands like Untuckit and Decathlon, to bring a series of changes to its retail environment, such as RFID labels, a new point-of-sale system and fulfillment capability. With the new technology, Outdoor Voices wants to make it as easy and simple as possible for store associates to check people out, while giving them a better idea of who their customers are.
“We want our online experience to be enhanced by the fact that we have retail stores,” said Kevin Harwood, vp of tech at Outdoor Voices. “We want our retail stores to be enhanced by the fact that we have a great digital experience.”
To start, Outdoor Voices now has RFID labeling on all of its in-store products, so that counting inventory (and then keeping an up-to-date view as to what items can ship out from different stores) becomes much easier. Harwood said, now, Outdoor Voices has 99% inventory accuracy—and with this labeling, customers can bring in items without receipts and store associates can still see when and who bought the item. (The tags can also function as anti-theft devices.)
The true omnichannel experience comes in NewStore Checkout and Fulfillment. With the checkout app, any employee can scan any item, see if there’s another size available for the customer across different stores and warehouses, and then ship it directly—all while on an iPhone. Additionally, once the customer enters an email address, the store associate sees a full view of who their customer is, giving them an extra chance to sell the customer on other products that are similar to items previously purchased.
In the checkout experience, customers can also be directed to paying iPhone to iPhone. The store associate can select the option to pay via the customer’s phone, which then pops out a QR code that the customer scans. On the customer’s phone, they’ll be directed to a page in Safari that shows their order total, and they can then pick to pay with Apple Pay and then rate the experience after checking out. The point of iPhone-to-iPhone payment is to support store associates when all the actual point-of-sale devices are in use or the store is super busy. NewStore checkout supports other transactions such as gift card, other credit cards, cash and split payments.
With NewStore fulfillment, store associates are pinged when a customer has ordered something and it needs to ship out from their store. Previously, Outdoor Voices was siloed and had to fulfill orders from a computer and couldn’t do it over a mobile experience. Harwood said this technology enables buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and the ability to reserve items at one store in the same market; the plan is for BOPIS to be available later this year.
For now, Outdoor Voices has supplied all of its retail shops with company phones, so that store associates don’t need to download anything on their end. The team worked on combining the experiences for six months, and rolled out the integration last month to all Outdoor Voices stores. While this omnichannel is extremely online, Harwood said the company’s covered if another massive Google Cloud outage occurs: Although the company is built on Shopify, which runs on Google Cloud, NewStore runs on Amazon Web Services.
Outdoor Voices raised $34 million in a Series-C round of funding last year, with plans to open more stores in new markets.