Harvey Nichols enlists Hero to help it use AI to bring online and offline closer together

The luxury retailer has inked an exclusive deal with the company in the UK / Harvey Nichols

Harvey Nichols wants to bring its offline and online offerings closer together, as well as leveraging AI to "create a seamless shopping experience", and it's enlisted global retail tech company Hero to help it do so.

The brand's Asia-based private investment fund has additionally made an undisclosed minority investment in Hero, which has offices in London and New York.

The luxury retailer has inked an exclusive deal with the company in the UK. The partnership will comprise two stages, the first of which will see Harvey Nichols leverage Hero's live shopping capabilities to let online consumers connect with in-store stylists in Harvey Nics' seven stores.

The second will give the department stores consumers access to a platform called Black Book, which the retailer claims will leverage AI insights to "empower sales associates to forge deeper, continuous connections with customers" via a personalised messaging service.

Effectively, costumers who opt into Black Book can stay connected with their preferred stylist, in-store and online. When they're signed up to this service, they can also discover product offerings and recommendations.

Amid bricks and mortar store closures from fellow retailers like House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer and an increasing loss from Harvey Nics itself – which posted £6.7 million loss for the year ending in April 2017, compared to a £3 million profit in 2016 – the brand will be hoping its investment in tech keeps customers engaged and spending both online and offline.

Pearson Poon, executive director at Harvey Nichols said that closing the service gap between both was a "critical" part of the brand's retail strategy.

"Our commitment to evolving our digital strategy has resulted in a minority investment being made in Hero by our Asia-based private investment fund, and we look forward to exploring continued innovation with Hero to bring to reality our vision of merging physical and digital channels to offer best-in-class customer experience," he added.

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