It’s been a rollercoaster ride with Oasis recently as they keep pushing the boundaries in terms of using consumer technology to boost the customer experience and bridge the online and in-store worlds.
We worked closely with Oasis to help develop, test and launch its iPad mobile POS. The project really caught the public imagination, with vast amounts of very positive press coverage, and that’s been reflected in the first prize at 2012 Retail Week Awards, the most prestigious awards of the UK Retail Year.
The pilot in the fabulous new Oasis flagship store on Argyll St was a roaring success and we knew we were on to something special. The store itself was designed to make best use of new technologies and, as the design developed, new locations were created to allow for more interaction with the iPad outside of the traditional cash points.
That means iPads can be used either at fixed stations so customers can browse “Look Books” or in mobile mode with a sales associate.
I came, I saw, I shopped
Staff armed with iPads enables customers to request different sizes, colours or styles from the shop floor. And if the clothes fit, the customer can use the iPads in the changing rooms to pay for their purchase there and then, bypassing the till queues. The purchases and are then sent to the customer’s home address – all within 90 minutes!
The iPad mobile POS really merges web, mobile, social and physical retailing channels, enabling everyone in the store, both customers and teams, access to all available information about the brand and review stock which may have sold out in store.
It’s one of the first iPad POS solutions in the world and customers are finding it a fun way to shop. More importantly, it works. iPad transactions accounted for 20 per cent of sales during the store’s opening week and contributed to a record-breaking sales day in the new store.
In winning the Award, Oasis edged in front of competition from Debenhams, New Look and Republic with a project that’s using technology to change shopping habits. By placing digital technology at the heart of the shopping experience, Oasis is providing a fantastic customer service – and one of the best in-store experiences on the high street.
Article by Charleen Benson, Director of Consulting Services, BT Expedite
Last week’s Retail Business Technology Expo 2012 was the ideal setting to show off our latest technology innovations. So we parked our demo showcase “bus” at Earls Court and gave people the chance to get their hands on some of the exciting stuff that’s set to shape retail – while they picked the brains of our experts at the same time.
We’d set up personal tours of the showcase in advance, which was a good move, or we’d have had people queuing for the bus! That’s definitely something we want to avoid, as queuing is the number one gripe among shoppers, according to recent BT research.
Basically, waiting is something you do at the dentist. Shopping’s supposed to be a more pleasurable experience – and with people getting more and more used to instant online ordering, they just don’t want to wait…
That online experience is generating other frustrations in-store. As well as being tired of standing in line at the till, people are also driven up the wall by sales assistants with less knowledge than them. Without doubt the point of sale needs to become a point of service – and bring the best of the web in-store.
Other innovations on show backed this up. We had smart digital signage – including transparent video screens – tons of exciting ways to get more out of mobility and huge innovation in the payments area.
It’s clear that bridging the gap between online and in-store is one of the top priorities for retailers. And achieving that depends very heavily on having the right network infrastructure in place, as this is what’s powering successful multichannel retailing.
You just need to look at the extra IT investment announced by John Lewis to know that, if you want to prosper, you need to nurture the systems that support multichannel retailing. John Lewis is setting the benchmark and others will follow.
The Expo showed that retailers are looking for innovation and the vehicle for change gave everyone a glimpse of the possible.
Being a successful multi-channel retailer isn’t all about having a cool website with great EPOS integration. That helps, obviously, but we’re finding our customers paying equal attention to getting their supply chain systems in good shape to fulfil demand, wherever it may come from.
Here are a couple of recent examples that have kept our supply chain team very busy.
Upgrading enterprise systems is always nerve wracking. You have years of history, active business documents and you can’t do a pilot, meaning that the whole process is inevitably something of a big bang. At Monsoon Accessorise, our team worked a full weekend upgrade to our latest version of Mercatus which was fully working for start of business on Monday morning. Phew.
Since then, Monsoon has installed the first version of our new Merchandise Workbench which enables them to view all product activity, stock, sales orders, price, reservations and fulfilment from a single place.
Multi-channel can also make running a warehouse fiendishly complicated and our supply chain team have been working hard to help another long term customer, Austin Reed automate some heavily manual processes.
Until recently, Austin Reed Group (which also includes Viyella and Country Casuals) was running four logical warehouses within a single building. All pick, pack and dispatch for e-commerce orders was paper-based but a new business initiative, to fulfil web orders from store stock recycled back through the warehouse, was putting a lot of pressure on the processes.
To release the pressure, we’ve implemented Warehouse Operations, an RF based module of Mercatus, that enabled them to combine the four logical warehouses into a single one over one weekend. Paper has been replaced with hand held terminals and WOP now supports receiving, picking for stores and e-commerce, dispatch processing and label printing, put away processes, replenishment to the pick face from back up stock and task management. All this is fully auditable and warehouse throughput has increased significantly.