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Interview: Jo Tidy of Jacques Vert on applying online lessons in-store

Fashion brand Jacques Vert is taking a lead from the technology used by online retailers and using it to improve in-store shopper journeys – and the company will be showcasing the results of its activity at Retail Design Expo 2017.

 Jo Tidy, senior brand visual manager at Jacques Vert Group, will take to the stage at Retail Design Expo next year to tell delegates about how user experience methodology can make life easier for customers.

“We’re looking at how customer journeys work on a website,” says Tidy, adding that the three key issues – function, aesthetics and experience – are all relevant when designing physical environments too.

“It is about looking at how people engage, but also about how you can use it [the process] to reverse those negative brand impressions that can occur over time,” says Tidy. “It is a reinvention process, going back to the drawing board and aligning what you are doing with what the consumer wants.”

Many established retailers are now in a position where they need to update their characters to reflect changing shopper habits, suggests Tidy. Far from dictating what is available to shoppers as they did in the past, retailers now must have a more conversational relationship with their customers, she says: “But you have to engage with a new audience without alienating the old one, or you might as well just start a new brand.”

When Jacques Vert analysed its competitors, and compared its own in-store and online presentation standards, it identified a number of issues. “Our website was very modern and up-to-date, and not aligned with what we were doing in stores,” says Tidy.

Like many fashion brands, Jacques Vert sells its products wholesale as well as in its own stores, throwing up a number of challenges when it comes to presenting consistent message: “You have to reflect not only your own brand values, but also those of other retailers… we looked at how we could reflect all this in standalone stores, and then how we could extend it to other stores.”

Two new Jacques Vert branches – in Birmingham and Tunbridge Wells – have now opened as part of the updating process. They are more open and easier to navigate than previous stores and feature conversational point of sale messages, such as ‘Wear me with…’ ideas.

Tidy’s role sees her take responsibility for all of the brands in the group: Jacques Vert, Precis, Windsmoor, Dash and Eastex. Each will undergo change as part of her wide ranging review, with all work handled by an in-house design team.

For information on other confirmed speakers visit Retail Design Expo