The retail industry is undergoing intense change, driven by e-commerce and shifting consumer expectations. Certainly, selling candy in stores and online appears like a commodity business, but retailer Dylan’s Candy Bar has found a way to differentiate its business with a unique customer experience.
Founded by Dylan Lauren, daughter of the famous fashion designer, Ralph Lauren, Dylan’s Candy Bar has distinguished itself by offering a “retailtainment” experience.
“For us, it’s as much about the experience as selling the product. You could buy candy, frankly, anywhere.”
— Erica Stevens, Dylan’s Candy Bar
The company’s stores attempt to create a Will Wonka-style experience that touches customers emotionally. Bright colors and a warm environment make shoppers feel good, while advanced technology, such as on-demand 3D printing and personalization, offer features and capabilities that other retailers cannot easily replicate. The flagship store in New York receives over 2 million visitors per year.
An important part of the company’s strategy involves extending that emotional connection and customer experience from stores to online shopping. Accomplishing that translation is one of the firm’s most significant challenges: creating an emotional bond with the consumer online, using a combination of technology and smart design.
For Dylan’s Candy Bar, the end-goal is building an integrated and consistent experience through all its channels. This multi-layered combination of retailing, customer experience, and e-commerce shape the company’s core strategy and goes beyond typical notions of the customer journey.
It’s a fascinating story, so I invited the company’s Vice President of Supply Chain and IT, Erica Stevens, as a guest on CXOTALK. In effect, Erica functions as a CIO and is responsible for the technology that underlies the Dylan’s Candy Bar strategy.
In the short clip embedded above, Erica discusses how Dylan’s Candy Bar creates a seamless experience across retail stores and online commerce. In the full episode, you can hear more details about their technology and read a complete transcript.
(Cross-posted @ ZDNet | Beyond IT Failure)