Noel Leeming is New Zealand’s leading consumer electronics and appliances multi-channel retailer.They consider themselves ‘The Authority’ in electronic appliances, technology and services for the retail and commercial customer in NZ, as well as one of the leading innovators in the sector, too.

Since their first store opening in Christchurch in 1973 (predating Jade by five years), Noel Leeming now has 77 stores and pride themselves in going the extra mile to help their customers. Part of going the extra mile was to see how far they could push customer-led retail innovation in their new flagship Newmarket store.

Jade's Director of Technology Eduard Liebenberger discussing Nola a digital employee with Noel Leemings staff

The problem

Noel Leeming was determined to create a digital store greeter (called Nola) who would welcome people as they entered the store. They engaged to drive this, but soon found Nola needed to bolster her conversational ability to offer the level of customer experience that Noel Leeming customers expect. Enter Jade.

The solution

Jade’s UX design team facilitated a range of user workshops to understand customer needs and expectations of a digital employee.Our conversational designer learnt from these and taught Nola how to converse with people, through the Ambit’s NLP engine. Noel Leeming then co-designed Nola’s look with UneeQ, to ensure she felt like one of the team.

Throughout the process, Jade constantly challenged Noel Leeming to push Nola’s abilities, with a key outcome of connecting customers with staff members, which included providing the staff member with details of the conversation such as what products they required.

Tim Edwards, CEO, Noel Leeming, said:
“We’re known as a leader in innovation, pushing the boundaries of how technology can create amazing customer experiences. Using Nola, one of the first human-like interfaces backed by AI in the NZ retail space is a fantastic step for us.”

The outcome

Our ongoing partnership with Noel Leeming has so far included:

  • One of the first digital employees implemented in the NZ retail sector
  • Over 15,000 interactions with customers in the first month of launching, which were used to fast-track Nola’s learning processes
  • Increased customer engagement from certain shoppers who normally browse without wanting assistance
  • Initial buy-in from Noel Leeming to expand Nola’s capabilities to other areas in the business