Apple is partnering with Burberry to help the luxury fashion retailer create a more personal shopping experience. A new service called “R Message” will integrate with Burberry’s iOS app and allow store associates to directly message select clients. The service will be available by invitation only and piloted before rolling out to every Burberry store.
According to Vogue Business, Burberry store associates currently use an internal app known as R World for inventory management and to receive company news. The system sounds similar to Apple retail’s own Hello app for store team members, an initiative that was often promoted by former Burberry CEO and later Apple Retail SVP Angela Ahrendts. R Message will connect Burberry’s internal system with its customer-facing app to “make in-store appointments, receive personalized item recommendations, and buy products.”
Burberry already offers direct communication with customers in its app through iMessage Business Chat, but R Message is more exclusive. By limiting the feature to select clients, Burberry associates can offer individualized support rather than a generalized system. The feature is being positioned as a way to retain and strengthen relationships with the brand’s high-value and mobile-first customers.
R Message will first be available at Burberry’s flagship store in Manchester, England. WWD adds that the service will be integrated with Apple Pay and allow shopping through a secure payment system.
Burberry has significantly overhauled its app over the past few years, testing new designs like an augmented reality experience and a “For You” tab featuring cards with new products and promotions. The design echoes Apple’s “Discover” tab in the Apple Store app, which helps customers find new products and relevant Today at Apple sessions.
While R Message appears to be a custom platform built exclusively for Burberry, the concept could be a valuable tool for other retailers looking to personalize their shopping experience. Apple already offers Personal Setup sessions hosted by Specialists at its stores to help customers learn product basics, but a service similar to R Message built into the Apple Store app could prove valuable for Apple’s business clients or those unable to make it to a physical Apple Store. Apple hasn’t announced any plans to expand its support for platforms like R Message.
Burberry and Apple have a long history of collaborative efforts. The retailer was the first to have its own brand-built Apple Music channel in 2015. In 2013, the Burberry London fashion show was shot entirely with the iPhone 5s.