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Tony Bianco ushers in digital era with live chat

A focus on its digital operations has fuelled global expansion plans for Aussie fashion footwear retailer Tony Bianco.

After optimising its e-commerce site in June earlier this year in tandem with tech firm Pitney Bowes – with a view to reaching consumers in over 150 international markets – the retailer’s online presence is now their largest sales channel.

The footwear brand has since streamlined its platform in partnership with Zendesk, focusing a huge push around ‘self-service’ – where customers can now help themselves through articles in a ‘help centre’, allowing the retailer’s staff to focus on customers with more difficult enquiries.

The site also has implemented ‘live chat’ so that agents can give customers a personalised experience, by way of styling advice or help on stock, which has seen phone volume decrease by 40 percent.

The retailer thinks it is “at the beginning of what they can do with their digital experience” – with hopes for further global expansion.

Gemma Crowe, customer service and online supervisor at Tony Bianco told sister publication, Inside Retail, that online “has really taken off” for the retailer over the last few years.

“As a brand we are always trying to adapt as quickly as possible,” she said.

“Retail is constantly changing and evolving from disruptive start-ups to the more traditional bricks and mortar. It is challenging yet exciting and we are looking forward to the future.”

Crowe explained that centralising the retailer’s data and platforms across POS, ERP, website and customer service had helped give shoppers the same personal attention received by in-store customers.

Its customer service division is split into two teams; one handling general inquiries while the other focuses on online orders.

Since the websites optimisation, both teams have reduced ticket volume by 50 percent, now handling around 1,500 inquiries per month, and have improved their first response time by 30 percent, while Tony Bianco’s customer support customer satisfaction climbed to 90 percent with an NPS score of 38.

Founder Tony Bianco purchased his first factory in 1997, and since then the brand has been featured in fashion magazines, worn by celebrities and models. The company is now run by Bianco’s two sons Anthony and Adam.

“The brand has a strong international presence as a result of some really great exposure from global celebrities and influencers,” said Crowe. “We’ve been incredibly lucky to have the likes of Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner & Hailey Baldwin all wearing Tony Bianco shoes.”

According to the latest Deloitte Global Powers of Retailing report, the largest category of the Top 250 retailers operating in Australia continues to be Apparel/Footwear at 36 per cent (41 per cent last year).

The services firm says the category continues to be an area where international retailers are expanding in Australia. Demand for international brands by Australian consumers continues to make Australia an attractive market for many, with the likes of Zara, Uniqlo, Sephora, Williams-Sonoma and H&M expanding their store footprint.

Earlier this year, Munro Footwear Group (MFG) finalised the acquisition of Australia’s oldest footwear brands, sealing the takeover of Fusion Retail Brands, which sees Australian labels Williams, Mathers, Diana Ferrari and Colorado join brands such as Styletread, Wanted, Midas, Mollini, Mountfords and Django & Juliette under the same umbrella.

This story first appeared on sister site, Inside Retail Australia.

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