How is Ace & Tate doing in the corona crisis?
“Ace & Tate is an omnichannel eyewear brand with physical stores in ten countries and a digital presence in both Europe and the US. Like many brands, we had to respond quickly during the COVID crisis to serve customers who would normally come to our stores. Our stores were struggling, of course, but on the other hand, we also saw our online sales increase. Our customers have found new ways to get in touch with us, which is why we have focused on quickly rolling out new online services to meet customer demand. At the same time, during the peak of the first wave, we tried to do our part by producing goggles and donating to medical workers and volunteers across Europe. Together with donations from our customers, we donated 19,500 safety glasses. Now that our stores have reopened cautiously in the past two months, we see the customer returning to our stores, similar to where we were pre-corona. We are working hard to ensure that we can meet this demand with a safe shopping experience that is still attractive to the customer. “
Together with donations from our customers, we donated 19,500 safety glasses.
Do you see notable customer shifts and why?
‘Absolutely. First, customers expect the same (or almost the same) level of service online as offline. Since Ace & Tate has been built as an omnichannel brand from the beginning, we can provide digital experiences that make online shopping attractive and easy. Corona forced us to accelerate many of our plans for the website. In recent months we have rolled out new, virtual services, including an online eye measurement for customers in the Netherlands and Germany. We’ve overcome the limitations of social distance and hygiene measures with an online customer wish list where they can select their favorite eyewear before going to the store. In addition, we also have a Virtual Try-On service that uses the latest state of the art facial mapping technology, which enables us to digitally map a face. This way you can fit glasses online in a realistic way.
Second, our customers expect us to take additional security measures in our stores. Glasses are both a lifestyle choice and a medical device, so we take extra care with the maximum number of customers in our stores. We ensure that our glasses are cleaned after each visit and that the eye measurements are taken safely, with the correct distance. In this way we hope to maintain the quality of the shopping experience. “
Virtual Try-On service using the latest state of the art facial mapping technology allows us to digitally map a face
Are the new Virtual Services part of new initiatives to make things easier for customers?
‘Sure. Ultimately, Ace & Tate’s goal is to provide the best possible customer experience across all our channels. It’s typical for a brand to be concerned about the different channels – while all the customers really care about is a great shopping experience where they can choose products at their leisure. Our new virtual services are designed to blur the line between ‘offline’ and ‘online’ shopping experiences. The new Virtual Try On service, powered by the latest face mapping technology, offers our customers the best experience on the market when it comes to fitting digital glasses. We are super excited about this service and can’t wait to hear from our customers what they think. “
What do you currently see as the biggest challenge for marketers, especially with regard to the corona crisis of course?
“Marketers are dealing with unpredictability more than ever. For an industry that has gone through a significant shift in the past decade to become more predictable, this will be a huge turning point. In many ways, it’s all about getting back to basics: understanding your customer, understanding the product and service you offer, and understanding what you stand for as a brand. With that foundation in mind, you need to be able to switch quickly and find new ways to deliver the foundation, regardless of marketing budgets, resources, or store conditions. “
What do you think the world of advertising and marketing will look like in 5 months?
“It is almost impossible to predict what the next five months will look like. However, I think the brands that succeed are the ones who understand their basics, who can adapt quickly and who want to add positive value to both their customer and the wider community. “