Using Twilio, Segment, and Retool to create delightful online/offline retail experiences

Kevin Garcia on May 11th 2021

This is a guest post from Kevin Garcia, Head of Product Marketing at Retool, the leading low-code app builder. 

It’s been a year with a decade’s worth of e-commerce growth, and retailers have needed to flex their online channels like never before. 

At the same time, new developments are making in-store shopping possible again, and many retailers are hoping to combine these battle-tested online channels with more in-store options as a way to entice more shoppers and grow revenue. 

To create this hybrid retail experience, retailers will need to ensure that every online and in-store experience builds on the last—it needs to be a customer-first (not channel-first) approach. And Twilio customers have a unique advantage. Developers can use the suite of Twilio APIs to spin up differentiated hybrid retail experiences in days, not months.

In this post, we’ll show you how developers can build apps that empower in-store retail employees to create delightful and revenue-driving experiences—all using the Twilio Segment, SendGrid, and messaging APIs with Retool, a leading low-code app builder. 

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Giving in-store employees customer context

We expect our online channels to represent our brand, educate shoppers, and drive sales. And most of the time we empower these online channels with rich customer data to make them as effective as possible. So why don’t we empower in-store reps—who serve a similar role—the same way?

For most retailers, the answer is simple: it’s hard to bring this information together in a way that’s actually helpful for employees in real-time. But if you’re a Twilio Segment customer, it is much easier than you think. Here is an example of an app you can build for in-store reps using the Twilio APIs and Retool to create real-time context and intelligent customer conversations.

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In this example, an in-store rep can carry this app with them on a tablet/mobile device as they talk to shoppers in-store. Once a shopper provides relevant information (e.g. email address), the in-store rep can now see much more user context:

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By bringing together key information—think the last product purchased, most viewed blog category, last item viewed online—you’re arming the in-store rep with context you already know about the customer to drive a more intelligent conversation and better experience. You also empower the in-store rep to help you uncover more about the customer.

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Your app can help in-store reps update user records, measure NPS, and even share notes for new product ideas directly from the same app using the Twilio Segment API. You can use this app to ensure that the customer actually continues to see a better online experience after this in-store one. And you can take that even one step further.

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In-store reps can end shopping experiences with a personalized coupon or note that uses Twilio Segment data to power recommendations and chooses whether to send a Twilio text message or Twilio SendGrid email based on their preferred communication channel. Your customer will leave feeling a very personal 1:1 connection, and your rep will be able to drive online loyalty with just a few clicks.

Behind the scenes: Building a hybrid retail experience

It’s great to see what’s possible, but how exactly do you build an app like that? Every part of that experience was powered by Twilio APIs and visualized as a Retool app.

The Twilio Segment Profile API helps bring together a unified user profile that has the most up-to-date information your company knows about the customer. By building an app that highlights this information—both in timelines and fast facts—you can give in-field employees easy access to the most important information they could have. 

This app also enables in-store reps to build a feedback loop and gather information, like NPS, preferences and contact information, in-person. Using a form, they can immediately write that back to the Twilio Segment Profile API to inform personalization across digital channels.

Want to give in-store reps the ability to send 1:1 messages to customers and naturally bridge the online/offline experience? We used the Twilio SendGrid API and Twilio Messaging API to send out tailored offers to keep customers engaged—and pulled their preferred channel from the Twilio Segment Profile API to make sure it landed in the perfect inbox.

To get a deeper step-by-step breakdown to build this app, check out our latest recipe.

Moving from digital to blended, fast

Digital is crucial for today’s retailers, and uncovering better ways to bridge the online and offline experience will give some retailers a competitive edge in the months to come. 

This is a huge opportunity for developers to tap into Twilio Segment and Twilio’s wide range of APIs to break the mold of what is possible in hybrid retail. We’re excited to see what you build.

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