As more states around the country continue to open in full or limited capacities, Suitsupply has laid out a few new ways to make sure customers stay safe while shopping in its stores.
Stay-at-home orders and store closures posed a temporary challenge for the company and its customers, but ongoing social distancing measures necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have spurred the brand to respond with new innovation.
One of the new measures includes installing free-standing, sturdy partitions that allow for safe up-close interaction when tailoring a custom-made garment. A measure that the company said will keep both the employee and the customer safe while making alterations.
Suitsupply founder and CEO Fokke de Jong tells MR that he’s implementing learnings of other store re-openings that the company has conducted in China and parts of the European Union.
“We’ve been able to test and adjust measures we’ve implemented in other countries, to not only continue creating the safest environment possible for our U.S. stores but also to create easily adaptable measures for our customers that give them a sense of the old normal as they integrate into a new normal shopping experience,” he tells MR. “The screens, for example, don’t really change what the customer is doing when they have in-store customizations like getting pinned for alterations, they’re still standing straight and looking into a mirror.”
As retailers look to reduce the concentration of in-store guests, Suitsupply has also implemented a guided virtual experience to help customers pre-select items for their visit to the store through a co-browsing session with a live style expert on its website. Customers can reserve the items they want in their size and will be set aside for their visit at a time of their choosing.
While a number of spaces will be reserved each hour for walk-ins, the retailer will offer the option of scheduling a visit to the store, at the customer’s convenience, with their online appointment booking tool. When their appointment time starts, customers can walk straight into the store and into their fitting room or private shopping suite.
To promote social distancing and responsible retail, Suitsupply will allow a predetermined number of appointments relative to each store’s maximum capacities, fitting room, and suite availability.
De Jong tells MR that he expects some safety measures will ease away in the long-term. “In the example of face masks, we will continue to use them for as long as social distancing measures require them,” he said. “Same for reduced store capacity.”
“What we are most excited about,” de Jong continues, “are the ways in which we were able to incorporate technologies like virtual co-browsing that not only make the shopping experience more convenient and seamless now, but the early analysis is showing that customers are learning a new behavior we expect will catapult into the future post-pandemic. How amazing is it to pre-select all the items you are interested in, on our website in real-time, with your favorite store’s expert? Our customers are not gambling on having pieces available in their size for their visit, but are guaranteed they’ll be waiting.”
“We even take that a step further and give customers the option to book an appointment and have all those items steamed and ready in the fitting room,” he adds. “We’re hearing reactions like, ‘why haven’t we done this before,’ and ‘this is the quickest visit to a store I’ve ever had.’”