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Inside the nest: Birdsnest opens its doors to customers

While many businesses struggle to connect meaningfully with their customers, Australian clothing label Birdsnest has gone one step further, inviting shoppers to come and see the business from the inside.

The tour, dubbed the “Nest Experience”, takes place in the retailers sole physical location in Cooma, where it is the third largest employer in the area behind Snowy Hydro and the shire council, and showcases back-end staff hand-wrapping between 500 and 800 orders a day.

“When people come to the shop and we show them out the back, there is a wow factor – they’re surprised by what they see,” A Birdsnest spokesperson told Internet Retailing.

“We wanted to combine online and offline, and show them more about the business. It happened organically, we weren’t expecting it to go as well as it did.”

After the tour, and a catered lunch, participants are taken on a personalised styling and shopping experience where they can get styling advice by Birdsnest styling staff.

While there isn’t a sales target for the styled shopping experience, the spokesperson noted that the conversion rate to date has been 100 per cent – with a further 20 per cent making a repeat purchase online after having attended the experience.

Not only this, but forty percent of participants who fill out the post-experience feedback survey have never shopped with the brand before, showing the concept is working as a customer acquisition exercise as well as a way to deepen the relationship with existing customers.

“It has performed above any of our expectations. We’re taking it one week at a time, and we’re looking at ways we can evolve the experience by adding different types of services,” the spokesperson said.

There have been some roadblocks, however.

Firstly, the pricing model – $50 per head – is not enough to break even on, with the cost of putting on a group lunch and bringing in extra staff spilling over.

The styling experience is a challenge for the retailer, with customers initial expectations needing to be lowered.

“With six women there who may not know each other [with] the expectation of a one-on-one [styling] session… we had to change the language around it,” the spokesperson said.

“You’d need six stylists in there for one-one-one – not viable [for $50 a head.”

However, the results are encouraging, and by allowing a true experience of both back of house and front of house operations in action, Birdsnest has increased existing customer connection to the brand, acquired new customers and driven incremental sales.

Authors: Reporting by Norrelle Goldring, Margaret McNabb and Dean Blake.

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