- Front End Web Development
- Back End Web Development
- iOS Development
- Android Development
- API Development
- User Experience (UX) Design
- User Interface (UI) Design
- Product Strategy
- Brand Development
- Mobile Consulting
- Physical Goods
- Platform Development
Is physical retail shopping dead? Not for Neighborhood Goods. They’re breathing new life into it by bringing in mainly direct to consumer (DTC) brands, that primarily have a digital presence. The Neighborhood Goods brick and mortar store lets customers get that “feel good” customized shopping experience without staring at the tiny computer in our pockets.
The brick and mortar store is the center point for tangible activation of these online brands, while simultaneously immersing customers in their own Neighborhood Goods experience. Now, that isn’t to say that Neighborhood Goods doesn’t have some pretty powerful tech under the hood.
Creating a seamless shopping experience, whether a customer is online or physically in the brick and mortar store was not negotiable. So we came to them with a plan to mix existing technology with heavy Mobelux thought and customization in support of Neighborhood Goods goal to reinvent retail.
There's no point in making custom software when there's exiting tech that’s doing it right. So when we can, we utilize and customize technologies and frameworks we know can achieve results. Early on, when scoping out the commerce piece of Neighborhood Goods, we turned to Shopify.
Using Shopify was a no brainer. With some good Mobelux creativity, we knew the platform could scale with Neighborhood Goods - and we were willing to smooth any unknowns that came up during development.
One of the hurdles we faced was the option for in-store pickup. Shopify is traditionally an e-commerce platform, and well, instore pick up didn’t exist as a feature at the time. Luckily for us, Shopify was flexible enough to allow for these custom features to be built on their API.
Sometimes a product can sell itself. But in this day and age, everyone can innovate, and most markets are saturated. This is where customer interaction with the brand and the cumulative shopping experience matters most.
Neighborhood Goods agrees with us. Their mission wasn't just to see how DTC brands would do in a physical space. Fostering an environment where these brands and the sum of their products can reach and connect with people was just as important.
To help Neighborhood Goods play matchmaker, we developed a custom content management system (CMS), so they can humble brag about the brands that activate with them. We're calling the CMS Connected Store, and with it, Neighborhood Goods can publish their immersive editorial content across the digital platforms they interact with their customers.
Can We All Get Along?
We knew that all this cool technology isn’t worth much if the customer can’t or won’t use it. Sure, that sounds like pretty standard stuff but think about it like this.
Connecting a heavily customized Shopify base with a unique CMS that manages multiple brands in multiple locations was part one. Parts two, three, four and five included driving information and content into the Neighborhood Goods site, the native mobile app, the brick and mortar store, and the Associate app (more on that later). Oh, and we needed the information from the Neighborhood Goods website, native mobile app, and Associate app to get pushed back to the CMS and Shopify instance.
Are you sweating yet? We were.
The platform as a whole is hefty and required a powerful solution. Our answer was to create a robust web service using GraphQL. You’ve likely, unknowingly, interacted with this before. Facebook developed GraphQL to establish communication across its products. If it can handle all of those cat memes, life updates, and messages, it could handle this.
Ways To Shop
There’s more than one way for customers to shop with Neighborhood Goods. Both the site and the native app boast some pretty intricate capabilities.
With their custom CMS, Neighborhood Goods can post some eye-catching content. One of our favorites is their write up on MeUndies, because who doesn’t like learning about how comfortable undies with unicorns on them came to be.
The native mobile app lets you sift through content, but also delivers a luxury service, unlike any other. Picture this: Let’s say you’ve spent the last hour shopping all of the brands in the store and are sitting down at Prim and Proper for a cocktail. You can open up the app, buy the items you want. Once you've made your purchase, the beacons set up around the store and the Associate App (seriously, more on this soon) kick into action. Then the Neighborhood Goods Associates can bring you your items without you having put down your martini.There’s more than one way for customers to shop with Neighborhood Goods.
Delivering on the ability for Neighborhood Goods Associates to locate customers within the store was, let’s say, an exciting process. The Mobelux Headquarters is a designed Depression Era Post Office and the perfect place to begin testing our beacon network concept for Neighborhood Goods.
We had Mobelux “Customers” download the prototype native applications then asked them to make purchases while hiding throughout our office. Then our Mobelux “Associates” would use the prototype Associate App (We know the anticipation is building) to try and locate them. Now, we’re not saying that we weren’t playing “Hide and Go Seek,” but we also aren’t saying that testing the beacon network wasn’t fun. We found that we were able to locate people with an accuracy within 10 inches.
Once we were confident of the ability to triangulate our Mobelux “Customers” in our office, the next step was to deploy the beacon network throughout the Neighborhood Goods physical store.
Empowering Employees (See We Promised)
Old-fashioned registers and traditional checkout processes don’t embrace the seamless, streamlined effect that Neighborhood Goods strives to provide customers. Arming Neighborhood Goods Associates with the Associate App would help to deliver a thoughtfully crafted experience to customers.
The most significant capability of the Associate App is its ability to find customers throughout the store when they ask for help or make a purchase. It’s worth noting the Associates can checkout a customer with any product from any brand in any location since it’s all managed by the same Shopify instance.
Web Style Analytics in a Physical Space
Introducing Neighborhood Goods to RetailNext made more and more sense as the project grew. RetailNext is, “The first retail vertical IoT integrated platform to bring e-commerce style shopper analytics to brick-and-mortar retailers, RetailNext is a pioneer in focusing entirely on optimizing the shopper experience.”
We thought that RetailNext would be the perfect partner for Neighborhood Goods to give the brands that activated within the store another clear value add.
For many of the brands partnering with Neighborhood Goods, this is the first time that they've interacted with customers in a physical retail space. The data collected can be invaluable to these brands as they consider what it may be like to open a physical location.
Want to learn more about Mobelux and our capabilites? Follow the link below to see how we may be able to partner with you on your next project.