Iconic Canadian Retailer Harry Rosen Was Well Prepared for a Changing Digital Future
Ian Rosen is the President and COO of iconic Canadian retailer Harry Rosen.
When Ian Rosen joined the family business back in 2018 as the executive vice-president, digital and strategy of Harry Rosen, he knew the future was about to look different.
Harry Rosen, an iconic household name in men’s luxury retail, was known for its customer service.
“We really believe that when my grandfather started the store, he succeeded because he simply listened,” Rosen said. “He took notes on their spouse’s name, their birthdays, he paid attention to everyone. He was a modern-day CRM (customer relationship management (system).)”
But then, consumer behaviours started to shift online and expectations began to change.
Rosen, tasked with securing the company’s digital future, spent the first six months on the job listening and watching. He found that while the company had always been forward thinking with its employees keen to embrace innovation, there hadn’t been enough investment into their website. In turn, the company committed in 2019 to heavily invest in their digital infrastructure.
“Once the pandemic hit, we didn’t change the plan, we just buckled down and so it was an easy transition,” said Rosen who since been named the company’s president and chief operating officer. “A lot of people said the pandemic was the great accelerator. We saw this coming -- the pandemic just made us come up with solutions quicker.”
Now, in 2022, with online and in-store shopping both popular options for consumers, the focus for Harry Rosen has been recreating the white-glove service that the company has always been known for into every shopping avenue their customers travel through.
The first thing they did was change the way they presented their products online. Instead of only being able to browse endless pages of products, customers could shop complete stylized looks.
“What used to be a great magazine campaign is now designed to be enjoyed on a mobile device,” Rosen explained.“One click and the customer is able to browse and shop the entire outfit as well as see similar and related products that fit the look they are looking for.”
The next thing they did was create a highly-personalized customer service experience for those who couldn’t come shop in person.
“We trained nearly 500 clothing advisors in our stores who have personal relationships with customers. They know what fits them and their sizes. With a custom-built application, clothing advisors are easily able to pull a selection of products together onto a personalized web page for a client,” Rosen said. “It does a great job at cutting through the noise.”
“Throughout the pandemic, when stores were closed, this was a lifesaver for us,” he added. “Now, it’s become a material part of our business. Our advisors are personalizing our site for clients each and every day.”
Finally, from an operations perspective, they looked at their payments process and found ways to streamline it in order to maximize efficiencies for the company and to provide additional value for their customers.
An image of the Harry Rosen website.
They introduced PayPal to their clientele as a payment option, which allowed those with international credit cards to make a purchase. They also signed up for PayPal’s Store Cash retargeting product, which offers customers who have left items in their shopping cart a cash incentive to return and complete the sale.
They also started using PayPal’s Braintree service to act as a back-end gateway which gave them the ability to seamlessly offer consumers all popular payment methods on their website.
“It’s an all-in-one solution with a partner that can monitor both the business and the consumer. PayPal’s two-sided network is very important,” Rosen said.
“In PayPal, we found a partner that was willing to go on a journey with us,” Rosen continued. “We found a partner with an international scope who can tell us about what other people are doing and what we should do as well and I certainly appreciate that.”
With a white-glove service that has transcended all shopping channels and a committed focus to its’ digital presence, Rosen said he is excited about the future.
“We’ve built up an interesting infrastructure and now we can do fun things to expand.”
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