Sebastian at Shaping New Tomorrow - doing things differently

We spoke with the CX Manager at Shaping New Tomorrow, to find out how their unique ethos has fuelled their growth.

  • Topic
    Customer experience
  • Vertical
    Fashion & Apparel

For some retailers, customer experience (CX) is only ever a buzzword. For others, CX is a way of life. It’s embedded deep within the core of their DNA and shapes decision making across the entire organization.

For Danish-based Shaping New Tomorrow, one of the hottest properties and fastest growing brands in retail, an unrelenting focus on creating extraordinary experiences for their customers has helped fuel their incredible growth.

Shaping New Tomorrow started in 2015 when three childhood friends set out to change perceptions around traditional menswear by making everyday life more comfortable for men across the globe.

Their ethos of making great looking clothes that are also extremely comfortable to wear quickly captured the imagination. And it led to them securing a fundamentally important investment after they appeared on the Danish TV show Løvens Hule (the Danish version of Dragon’s Den) in 2018. Since then, the huge success of their online store has seen them open physical stores in major cities across Europe.

With the brand going from strength to strength and enjoying massive, sustained growth, we spoke with Sebastian Juul Jensen, CX Manager at Shaping New Tomorrow, to find out What CX means for SNT, how their unique ethos has fueled this growth and what the secrets behind their success are.

Sebastian, you’ve been with Shaping New Tomorrow since 2018. How did your journey begin and what’s your current role?

So, I’m actually great friends with the three founders and when everything exploded in 2018 I came in to help them out. This eventually led to me building up the whole customer service side of the business. I quickly realized we had a lot of opportunities to improve what we were doing, especially on the tech side, in order for customers to have a more fluent experience. So that became my focus. 

More recently, I’ve moved to a role where the experience itself is in focus. Which, again, is very closely linked to how we use technology and figuring out how we can add more value for our customers – or our guests, as we call them.

We love that you refer to your customers as guests! Where does this ethos come from and what kind of experiences do you look to create when someone visits your stores?

Our aim is to treat people in a less ‘selly’ way than they are typically used to when they visit a store. Of course, we have to sell our products – I wouldn’t be in a job if we didn’t and neither would my colleagues – but we approach it differently to most.

There’s free drinks and coffee when people come into our stores, and we try to create a chilled atmosphere full of happy vibes. The most important thing for us is for you to have a great experience – you don’t even need to purchase anything – but at least we want you to leave the store with a positive experience that stays with you. And if that feeling stays with you then the next time you need to buy a piece of clothing, Shaping New Tomorrow should be the first thing that comes to mind.

The reason we call them guests is because that’s how we want them to feel

We want to distinguish ourselves by treating our guests in the proper way. The reason we call them guests is because that’s how we want them to feel – even after they’ve purchased something where they technically become a customer.

This personal feeling and personal interaction are incredibly important to us. That’s why if you go through our online support, as an example, you’ll be chatting to an actual person (not some AI running in the background) who has the freedom to share their experiences and use their own language and personal traits to help you solve your problem or answer your question.

What does delivering this kind of experience look like on the shop floor?

To start with, we never just say: “Hey, how can I help you?” in our stores. We greet people, we offer them a cold drink, we show them attention and, crucially, we introduce them to the brand or ask them things that facilitate two-way communication so we can strike up a conversation with them. Of course, it’s fair enough if they just want to look but we want to make that initial experience different.

Innovation is also important to us. We want to dare to be different and this means there has to be a lot of trial and error.

We try new things out all the time. Sometimes they don’t work but the key is we learn from them. It’s not bad to fail sometimes because you gain way more from failing than not doing so – I know that’s a cliche but it’s something we believe in. 

Your store associates must play a big role in creating these experiences. What do you look for in your store associates?

Yes they play a huge role. And just as we call our customers guests, we call our colleagues Shapers. That applies to all our employees no matter if you’re working in one of the stores or at the Head Office. We are all Shapers.

When finding the right Shapers for the stores, we look at the person and we don’t put too much emphasis on previous experience or education. Of course, those credentials can still be a plus, but it’s the person standing in front of us who matters.

Working in a store isn’t easy but we can teach people everything they need to know to go about their day-to-day. What we can’t teach is personality or social skills. And, because we do things so differently, that’s what we look for. I also think this is one of the places we really differ from other retailers.

Obviously people play a huge role in your CX. But what about tech?

We know we still have a way to go with how we use technology – and things always move extremely fast in this space. Our ultimate aim is to use tech to create these amazing experiences that are personal but also digital so there’s a fluid transition and flow between our online channels and physical channels.

We’ve come very far with Sitoo – the partnership we have with them is great – and our omnichannel offering is already much better than it used to be.

The focus and discussions we have are always fruitful and the base technology in the POS is awesome. The user interface is so easy for store associates that they just go into one of our stores and learn it in an instant because it’s just like using a smart device. Other systems are rooted in legacy and are very heavy to learn and to use. The partnership is only going to grow and be more important in the future.

What do you think the biggest challenge facing retailers right now is?

I think a huge task for retailers is making sure the digital experience and the physical experience are synchronized and talk together so people are recognized no matter where they shop. If you recognize them as a client, a customer, or a guest and add more than just trying to sell something in a store then they will remember you. 

Physical retail is far from dead.

We moved our store in Copenhagen from a side street to one of the main streets and the traffic and revenue that store generates is now beyond belief. Using stores to drive this kind of ‘omnirevenue’ is something we very much believe in but the challenge of getting it right is certainly a big one.

And what would your top tips be for retailers looking to be successful in 2023 and beyond?

The most important thing is to dare to do things differently and think differently. Don’t be afraid to invest in doing these things. Going to a store has been the same for many years but make sure people recognize that it’s more than just a purchasing experience, that it actually becomes something that improves their day. And tie everything together. Make everything more seamless and use stores as more than just stores because they are more than places just to sell – use them as inspiration and a gateway to the online experience (and vice versa). Also remember that real interaction is always going to be super important.

People are increasingly going to want human experiences and your stores are the perfect place to give them these.

What does the future look like for you and for SNT?

I’m incredibly lucky because I get to work with my friends, the atmosphere we’ve created here is amazing, and the way we work together is awesome. Personally, I love to talk to people and I love what people are capable of. I want each day to be a little different and I want to make sure that I can make things a little bit better or make someone smile which is why the job I get to do is amazing.

For Shaping New Tomorrow, we want to expand into new markets and continue building up our base of loyal, passionate guests – which is why CX is so important to what we do. 

From a tech point of view, the future is headless and composable and we need to keep changing with technology otherwise it will overtake us. Our desire is to create experiences that can help us deliver our goals and reach our targets – and we know technology is a vital part in helping us achieve this.

If you’d like to find out more about Sitoo POS and Unified Commerce Platform, and the different ways we can help your business, then we’d love to help you.


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