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Brief Published: 8 May 2015

Operator Retail App Heralds Rise of Concierge Culture

Operator app connects consumers with experts

Capitalising on the growth of user-to-user messaging apps, US-based app Operator – which works across multiple brands – intends to directly connect customers with sales representatives in an effort to create personalised sales interactions online.

Created by Garrett Camp, co-founder of super-successful American taxi app Uber, and Robin Chan, former executive of US social gaming giant Zynga, Operator delivers the personal service customers expect from an in-store employee over an instant messenger app. The smartphone app, which is described as a “request network” for finding items consumers would like to purchase, connects operators – composed of a mixture of in-store sales assistants, brand representatives and Operator employees – with customers via an instant messenger interface.

Operator works in a similar way to many instant messaging services. To start a new Operator request, the user sends an instant text or picture message. The request is then routed to Operators with expertise in, or an affiliation with, the right product category, brand or shop. Finally, the Operator messages the user with options that they can tap to see in detail or give feedback on. Once the Operator shows a customer the right product, they can hit the “I’ll take it” button to arrange payment and delivery.

The convenience of shopping anywhere, any time via a phone is not a new concept, but Operator further streamlines the process by removing the sometimes laborious task of researching and finding the products to buy in the first place. By tapping into the knowledge of experts connected to a wide range of brands, Operator intends to merge the benefits of digital commerce with the service of bricks-and-mortar stores.

As yet, the brands partnering with the app have not been disclosed.

For more on how brands are capitalising on digital messaging and concierge services to provide super-service in the new digital landscape, see Virtual Added Value, part of our New-Era Luxury Macro Trend.

For more on producing streamlined, small-screen retail experiences on the go, see Tap to Transact: No-Fuss Purchasing in The Streamlined Sell, part of our Roaming Retail Industry Trend. 

For more on how brands are extending experiences for richer, longer-lasting dialogues, see Start-Pause-Go: Retail in Hyper-Flow, and Future Innovations in our Anywhere Retailing Industry Trend.