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Kristina Kristina


On Digitalization and
the Future of Stores

If you've read the interview with CEO and Creative Director, Kristina Lindhe about sustainability, you know we promised two more on digitalization and the future of brick and mortars. This is us delivering on that promise.

How has the pandemic affected your digital and communication efforts?

Because of reduced traffic, reduced opening hours and in some cases store closures, we initially lost sales in our own physical stores. Luckily, our e-commerce has been strong and the overall loss in sales at our stores for that period was less than we'd feared. We have successfully focused on marketing in our digital and social channels, which had a positive effect. New, creative elements such as live streaming from stores, our 3D store online and increased investment in communication with our customers have had a positive effect on our online store, while generating traffic to our physical stores.

How have you adapted?

We have focused on building up our online shopping experience through various activities such as live shopping on Instagram and our 3D shopping. We have also implemented “call and pick up” at stores that remind customers of the possibility to shop in a personal and safe way at our physical stores.
What are some of the exciting things Lexington is doing when it comes to digitization?

3D shopping, the opportunity to be able to look at the store online and the opportunity to get help by calling the store are things that we think we will keep offering. During the spring, there were certain things, such as events, that had to be paused. We'll probably hit play on some of those activities, but they won’t be as we planned them before the pandemic. The stores may not be able to serve many customers at once, but that doesn’t mean we won’t ever do them again. We just need to approach them differently.

I also believe that many customers have become more digital during this period. Those who didn't feel comfortable with technology or who weren't so digital have been forced to become more digital. So, it makes sense to continue our digitalization efforts.

In what ways is Lexington continuing its digital evolution?

We’re giving customers the opportunity to see our products on our website and social platforms. This helps us get closer to our customers which translates to positive experiences for the customers. They can now stay updated on all things Lexington wherever they are as long as they have a cell phone. They will, for instance, know when new products come in, and they will be able to know where things are made. For us, it will still always be about meeting people where they are.

Kristina on the Future of Stores

How is your digital efforts changing the in-store shopping experience that has been affected by the pandemic?

Our digital communication drives traffic to our stores. Today, the customer knows what they like or the brand they like. And sometimes they want to see, feel, experience and try things that only the store can offer. The digital experience may not be enough.

In most cases, the store complements the digital experience by making it the last stop of the customers' digital experience. Those who come into the store have usually read about a product or the brand already on our channels or received information about it via our digital activities. They already know what they’re looking for when they walk in. So, then it becomes very much about helping customers find what they have been looking for and be able to provide the information, service or advice that they want. I would chalk the whole thing up to saying that there’s a need for personal, real-life interactions. That's why customers might come to our stores, to get help and for the tactile and visual experience that’ll lead to easy decisions. Customers are also able to pick up items in stores and submit returns. The stores are increasingly becoming service points as well as places for discovery and exploration.

I also think the stores will increasingly function as communities for customers. Our stores offer things our customers like, and things they want to associate themselves with. Customers who come to the stores are to a large extent fans of the brand. Therefore, I believe that brand stores will increase in importance in overtime. Offering service and a sense of belonging in some way are what’s unique for physical stores. Therefore, I believe that for stores like ours, it’s important to offer other things than what is directly linked to our brand. The stores will offer experiences and products that have some form of synergy with the brand without turning them into multi-brand stores.

How do you create a community through your in-store experience?

We create experiences that our customers associate with our brand but that are relevant to them. It doesn’t have to be about our products. For example, we’ve previously sold flowers that customers could buy for their weekend bouquet. We’ve also had sleep talks during our annual “Sleep Well. Live Well.” observance. Those are some ways we’ve connected and created communities. Our customers are invited to the store not necessarily to shop, but to be part of something that they think is exciting, fun or interesting. These are the types of activities we’re looking to do in different ways. They can also be digital.

Besides newsletters, how do you create a community through the Lexington digital experience?

I'd say by offering as interesting, exciting and relevant content as possible. But also by offering the know-how of our products. Our goal is to inspire and inform our customers.
What makes your consumer choose an in-store experience over the digital experience?

It’s the personal interaction. At first, when we were introduced to personalized newsletters and digital interactions, many of us felt seen in the digital world. Especially when “Hello Kristina! Log in here,” popped up on a screen or when a newsletter wished us a happy birthday. It is impossible for a person who works in a store to know the name of the person who walks in or when said person’s birthday is. In the beginning, I think we perceived these digital experiences as very personal. The more we were confronted by them, the more they felt less personal. This creates a longing for human interactions.

What are some of the exciting things Lexington is doing when it comes to the in-store experience?

Above all, I would say that our stores are inspiring. Something is always happening either inside the stores or the windows. We invite customers to “how-to” events in which we share tips and tricks on how to set a table for holidays, how to refresh the bedroom or how to style something.

I’d also emphasize the importance of the personal interactions we have with our customers. We have fantastic staff members in our stores. We’re known for having friendly and knowledgeable staff who take care of our customers' needs. That part is, in fact, very important. You’re more likely to revisit a store where you think you’ve been treated well. But when it's the other way around, you’ll never go back. And that very thing, the friendly human interaction, cannot be digital.

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