The motivation behind "Connecting people and bridging times"
Connecting with customers Mitsukoshi Isetan Remote Shopping App
Officially launched in November 2020 at the Isetan Shinjuku Main Store, this app allows customers to contact stylists (sales staff) who are in store via chat or video call, and then complete a purchase. At a time when it is difficult to connect with customers directly, using Isetan Mitsukoshi’s strength — the power of people — the app provides an in-store shopping experience no matter where a customer is.
Manager, Digital Promotion Group, Isetan Mitsukoshi Ltd.
- What is the mission of the Isetan Mitsukoshi Group?
- The Isetan Mitsukoshi Group operates department stores and a variety of other shops. They offer wonderful goods and services from across Japan and the world. I feel the mission of the Group is to deliver these life-enriching goods and services to customers in the best way possible.
- What kind of impact did the state of emergency have on the Group?
- The Isetan Mitsukoshi Group had never before experienced being unable to open its stores, so I think there was a great sense of alarm wondering what would happen in the future. Team members remained in constant communication with one another while stores were closed. Everyone was concerned about the uncertainty of the future, but knowing that this wouldn’t solve anything, many people began sharing ideas about what could be done. I remember this being extremely reassuring.
- What was the Isetan Mitsukoshi Group thinking overall?
- As the Isetan Mitsukoshi Group, although stores couldn’t open, we wanted to find a way to have some form of contact with our customers. We wondered if this couldn’t take place digitally, and began to consider using LINE and Zoom as a point of contact to provide services to customers.
- What made you think of launching the app and what kind of customer experience does the app offer?
- The online customer service offered on Zoom in June 2020 soon after the state of emergency was lifted was ultimately considered just a temporary measure. We actually thought it most essential that this service be created in-house, so began developing the app at the same time as we started using Zoom.
The Mitsukoshi Isetan Remote Shopping app is special in two ways. First, it offers customer service via everything from chat to video call in one app. Second, we developed the item registry function so that any product shown to a customer in the app can be added to their shopping cart, allowing them to purchase items from home. By downloading the app, customers can experience shopping as if they were at an Isetan Mitsukoshi store. Also, as a company, the app has allowed our greatest strength, the power of people, to be shifted online and offered to our customers.
- What is the future outlook for the Remote Shopping app?
- We launched the service starting with a portion of shops in the Isetan Shinjuku Main Store, and it has been a huge hit with customers. We would therefore like to expand it to all of our stores in Japan.
- Moving forward, what should remain important for the Isetan Mitsukoshi Group?
- I think in this introduction of this app there is a focus on digital technology, but digital is nothing more than a means to maximize real-world value. I think we’ll lose sight of genuine value if we rely too much on digital means. As a Group it’s ultimately important to pursue real value, so I feel it’s essential that we return to our origins and seek value based on our philosophy of putting customers first.
What should the Isetan Mitsukoshi Group strive for in this new era?
- Providing a shopping experience that customers find comfortable, I think; in other words, offering various avenues where customers can feel comfortable, whether shopping in store or online. I believe creating many of these kinds of opportunities will help us become the store or department store of choice for our customers.