Why Enjoy believes commerce at home is the next big retail opportunity
Choosing whether to buy online or in the store can often feel like a choice between convenience and experience.
Ecommerce is a convenient option for shopping, but it tends to lack the valuable customer support and experiential add-ons of the store.
Imagine then ordering your new smartphone for delivery by an expert who can walk you through set-up in the comfort of your own home.
This is exactly what Apple and Target retail guru Ron Johnson has created in Enjoy Technology.
A pioneer of ‘commerce at home’, Enjoy works with some of the world’s leading consumer brands to offer customers an enhanced retail delivery option that brings the services, support and expertise of the store to the home.
We sat down with Ron to pick his brain on creating a new retail model from scratch and the role commerce at home will play in retail’s future.
Ron Johnson, CEO and Founder, Enjoy
What does Enjoy do?
We operate a network of mobile retail stores that delivers an experience on demand to customers for free.
Our goal is to reimagine the last mile for premium brands in a world that’s increasingly digital. We believe we can do everything a store can do, but in the comfort of your home.
We operate these stores for partners such as AT&T and Apple in the US, BT and EE in the UK and Rogers in Canada. Their customers can choose us as a delivery option when checking out and we use our partners’ inventory to fulfil their order in a more experiential way.
How is Enjoy changing the way we shop?
We are transforming online shopping to commerce at home. It’s a much bigger category than ecommerce as we know it.
When Airbnb turns your home into a hotel and rents it out, that’s commerce at home. When Peloton turns your spare bedroom into a workout studio, that’s commerce at home. When someone takes their car and on the weekends and runs errands or drives for Uber, that’s commerce at home.
Commerce at home has a lot of advantages because for a customer it’s much more convenient.
If you think of Peloton, I can work out at any hour of the day. I don’t have to make an appointment at the studio. I can pick my instructor. I can work out for a shorter amount of time or longer. It’s much more personalised.
Same with Enjoy. We bring the whole store experience to your home and our experts can spend as much time as you want helping you with your new purchase. For example, if you’re having trouble connecting your new device to your TV or Wi-Fi network, we can do that for you. It’s a much better experience than traditional ecommerce delivery today.
We’re at the forefront of inventing this new channel, but it’s happening really fast. If you look 20 years down the road, I believe that commerce at home will continue to grow.
“Is it conceivable that you’d want an in-person experience and high-touch support for one out of four shopping trips” I think so.
All it comes down to is how often does the customer want a product just delivered and how often do they want more?
What sort of end customers choose Enjoy as a delivery option?
The average age of our customers is 43, so it skews quite young, and 97% consider themselves tech savvy.
You might wonder why a tech savvy person needs someone to come to their home to help them set up and activate their iPhone? I think the reason for that is that we bring the whole store experience.
Who doesn’t want the convenience of shopping at home? Young people love it because they expect things to be brought to them. Busy parents love it because they don’t want to drag their kids to the store. People working from home are used to someone in their company helping with their devices, so many demographics seem to find value in it.
What percentage of people buy an additional item from your experts?
A significant portion of customers do buy additional items during one of our Expert visits.
Every retailer tracks their store conversion rate which varies greatly by category. In a grocery store about 60% of people will buy, whereas in an apparel store it might be 25% or 40% for a technology store.
Our results vary by partner, but on average between 50% and 80% of customers buy an additional product, service, or subscription during a visit.
I think one reason is when you buy something in the store you’ve already spent a lot of money so you might not want to buy more. Our customers have bought their item the day before so when our experts bring it to them it’s like a new day to shop.
What are the benefits of the Enjoy model?
Simply put, physical stores are super expensive.
You have to pay to build out the store and maintain it. You pay rent to the landlord and this can be expensive if you have a good location. You have to keep the store staffed at all times even if there aren’t any customers. You have to clean the store and keep it secure. You have to buy inventory.
Imagine looking at a big retail store and only having to pay for the people who are buying a product. That’s what Enjoy does.
Instead of having a product drop at the door with no engagement, we go in the home, we engage, we create this great customer experience, and we sell additional items from our partner’s inventory that they earn money on.
It’s win-win. The partner pays us to deliver the service. They become more profitable, and the customer saves a trip to the store and has a better experience.
Do your experts go to customers’ houses prospectively as well?
We’re in the early days. We’ve been delivering our experiences for about five years.
We’re kind of where Amazon was in the late nineties when they were branching out beyond books. It takes time to perfect what you do and what we do is really complicated.
We have to manage navigating our experts, so they arrive on time. We’ve got to match inventory to the right customers at the right time. We have to use full-time employees versus contractors so that we deliver the right level of product knowledge and experience.
In the future, we anticipate that you’ll be able to just book an appointment through one of our partners and we will bring a variety of devices to your home for you to choose from and buy at home.
Do you think you will expand into other product categories?
We have conversations all the time with brands about this.
Beauty has been coming to the home in the US forever with Avon and Mary Kay, but we see the opportunity to do this in a very modern way. There’s also some interest in auto companies.
We view this as a multi-decade journey as this channel evolves. We believe it’s probably a couple of decades until 10% of our purchases are made through commerce at home. We’re just happy to blaze a new trail and if others follow that’s great because the customer wins.
We’ve started with the best category for commerce at home because our homes are becoming smarter and more connected. A lot of products play together.
Digital solutions don’t have the logistical challenges that bringing a couch to someone’s home might. Adding a new television app to your iPhone is not a logistical challenge, but it’s got just as much value because it’s recurring revenue.
What are some of the biggest challenges that Enjoy has faced to date?
Everything’s been hard because we’ve done everything from scratch. None of the technology existed, so we couldn’t buy anything off the shelf.
There are a lot of routing technologies because a lot of people need to move from point A to B, but no one tries to do it with inventory. We had to develop that ourselves.
We also care about the people who deliver the product. We do not have a bunch of people who sign up today and start delivering tomorrow. We have to hire and train people, but then stay connected in a mobile world as well as you would in a store. None of the tech for this existed.
How do you see Enjoy and commerce at home complementing the physical store?
We intend to broaden the kind of services we do.
We see that there is a need to have experts drop by and repair your phone at home if it’s not working. That’s a complement to what the store does, and it is something we could explore.
Someone could come into the store and say, ‘I’m having trouble connecting my smart TV to my network’ and we could make an appointment for someone to drop by their home. Or if you’re in the store and the item you want is out of stock, staff could check if the mobile store has it and meet you at home.
If you don’t have a store you can’t do this. That’s the missing leg.
Everyone else has been racing to the door for years. Look at all these fast delivery companies. Everything is about convenience and delivery. They’re trying to solve one piece of the commerce puzzle.
We do the whole store because that means you can do everything. You can try a product, you can buy a product, you can support a product, and you can deliver a product.
What is coming next for Enjoy?
Our focus is on overdelivering for our partners. We’re working with some of the best companies in the world and the first job is to make sure their customers get the absolute best experience we can deliver each and every time.
We’re working to expand globally. We want to be a choice for anyone buying a device in every country in the developed world.
Something I’ve learnt over the years is that it’s a journey, so don’t be in a hurry, focus on quality. If you do that, you will build a great company for a lifetime.
A major evolution we recently announced is that you can now choose just to have us deliver a product or to have the store experience. We’re doing that for our partners because we already manage the mobile inventory.
It’s an example of how we’re becoming more like a retail store. You could go into an Apple store today and say ‘I’m in a hurry. I just want to pick up a pair of air pods’ or you could walk in and need a lot of help understanding the products and services. We can do both for you at home.
Want to evolve your business the way that Enjoy is evolving shopping from home? Book an Insider Trends workshop and prepare for the future while maximising profits.