How one Canadian retailer supported customers, boosted sales, and created efficiencies on Facebook Messenger
About Groupe Dynamite
Groupe Dynamite (GDI) has proud Canadian roots, but has successfully established itself as a global clothing company over the past 40 years. Since its beginnings in the 1970s, the company has evolved into two distinct brands, each with its own unique customer base: Dynamite, which sells chic office attire, and Garage, which offers more casual clothing targeted at teenagers. GDI routinely ranks among the top employers in Canada and counts over 4,300 employees worldwide.
The company operates over 300 stores across Canada and the United States and is currently eyeing major innovation opportunities, particularly the untapped potential of social commerce. In 2020, as the challenges of the pandemic emerged, GDI set out to connect more deeply with customers across social and chat apps to improve the overall customer experience, increase satisfaction, and boost online sales. All while striking the right tone across two brands.
When setting out on their journey to improve CX through automation, GDI had two high-level goals: first, to improve efficiency among its sales and support staff, and second, to give customers a way to engage with both of GDI’s brands using their favorite social channels, like Facebook Messenger. GDI reached out to Heyday by Hootsuite to develop a conversational AI to meet these needs.
Heyday and GDI worked closely to develop a bilingual French-English solution to make it easy for customers to interact with each of GDI’s brands. Thanks to automation, GDIs customer care teams were no longer bogged down by repetitive FAQs, giving them more time to focus on higher-value conversations. Brand-specific product-search features were also built into GDI’s conversational AI– making it easy for customers to search for, find, and buy products directly in the chat.
By delivering an AI chatbot that could easily shift its tone across both brands, automate answers to customer FAQs, and engage with customers on Facebook Messenger — Heyday helped GDI turn challenges into opportunities, boost sales, and deliver world-class CX for their customers.
Alejandro Reyes Alaluf is GDI’s Director Client Experience. Reyes Alaluf spoke with Heyday to discuss the retailer’s social commerce strategy, experiences, and successes leveraging conversational AI. GDI knew it would need a bilingual virtual assistant from Heyday to support its overall objectives, the first being to optimize staff efforts balancing the two brands.
GDI’s other key objective, to revitalize its customer-service model across multiple channels, is linked to its first. The company’s e-commerce business is constantly evolving–so it looked to expand its omni-channel presence to keep up with increasing demands.
One of the key things GDI emphasized was the need to be available for customers, 24/7, on the social and messaging channels they use the most. Reyes Alaluf listed just a few examples: Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and even GDI’s own Dynamite Studio mobile app.
“We needed a solution that will be able to give the clients the opportunity to contact us through the channel of their choice,” he says.
“The clothing is different, but also the audience we target in each brand is quite different. Regardless, we knew we had to create efficiencies. Having only the traditional channels like phone doesn’t allow you to be as efficient as you could be, versus a chat interaction,” he says. For GDI, maximizing potential 1:1 conversations in an efficient way was crucial to ensure support and sales teams weren’t stretched thin — all while maintaining top-notch clienteling for their valued customers.
So, GDI had a clear-cut task ahead: innovate a messaging solution to boost efficiency and reduce staff workload, while allowing customers to connect with the two brands more easily on their preferred channels.
“Our team members were already overworked by getting the same type of questions all the time,” he says. “We needed to automate the low-hanging fruit, and provide a lot of value for our customers and team.”
In Heyday, GDI found a partner that challenged the retailer to become even more successful. For example, to optimize its CX, GDI took advantage of the data available through the back-end of Heyday’s platform, through which teammates can also chat with customers on different social media sites and where every customer message is centralized in a single inbox for easy access.
“We want to make sure the tone is a little bit more relaxed on the Garage side, a little bit more formal on Dynamite, but always adapting to the customer,” he says. “We have… the analytics section of Heyday to understand if the customers are satisfied, just from the responses we’re getting… and this has been a huge win for us in terms of improving the workflows that we have and improving the messaging that the conversational AI is providing to the customers.”
In addition to keeping messaging on-brand for both Dynamite and Garage, GDI personalized the CX to a greater degree, by adding product search to the mix. Now customers can shop right in chat and find exactly what they want.
“They can start looking for certain items in the [Facebook] Messenger widget. From there they can select the item, go to their cart, and start the checkout process. There is really no friction whatsoever. It makes it easier for the customer, which is the end goal all the time,” he says.
GDI’s seen firsthand how social commerce is changing retail, with more and more customers moving to chat. Traditionally, the phone has been GDI’s most popular channel, even using a different form of chat before Heyday. Now? Chat makes up 60% of GDI’s total customer interactions.
Breaking it down, using Heyday GDI achieved:
29% increase in the number of Dynamite customers on chat
33% increase in the number of Garage customers on chat
2X increase in traffic since integrating the mobile Studio app with Heyday
“They’re transitioning from phones and other channels like email to chat, which for us is fantastic, because it accomplishes the goals we wanted to achieve from the beginning,” he says. “It’s a lot easier for us to provide much better live support to our customers.”
The stats prove it too. The average time to respond to a customer question dropped by six minutes in the first four months with the conversational AI. Reyes Alaluf says it’s all gone according to plan.
“We want to give our customers immediate responses to their questions and really solve in real time some of the easy things that otherwise they would have to give us a phone call for,” he says. “They have easy access to that information and that has been a huge win… providing them quality solutions right away.”
Reyes Alaluf also has advice for retailers launching a conversational AI of their own, namely to take it slowly one step at a time:
Launch your virtual assistant first.
Then, collect data.
Analyze the data and determine next steps.
Focus on personalization and optimize your CX.
In business, speed often wins: and Reyes Alaluf notes that the onboarding and launching process was incredibly fast. He credits Heyday with the smooth transition, letting GDI get to where they could actually collect the data to start.
“We went from contract to live in six weeks, which has been a record for us implementing a solution that has this type of impact,” says Alaluf. “Our customers are now able to have that omni-channel experience where they can start a conversation with us through the [Studio] app, through our website, go to Instagram, any chat channel they want.
“No matter where they are, we have a conversation available and open for them.”
Want to borrow a page from Groupe Dynamite’s expert playbook? Reach out to us to learn how we can help your fashion brand connect with customers on the channels they love and use the most.