Fat Face: Omni-channel

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Fat Face

With an old point of sale (POS) system struggling to cope, Fat Face needed something that would better support the company’s omni-channel and international ambitions. The retailer wanted a system that would provide a stable backbone across its online and in-store activities. But the biggest problem was getting everything in place in time. On paper it looked impossible… but we like a challenge.

We succeeded because of the level of collaboration. Everyone involved – the internal team, BT Expedite’s specialists and our other partners – worked tirelessly over nine months to nail the solution.

Leon Shepherd, Business Change Director, Fat Face


Born on the slopes of the Alps, Fat Face is an active lifestyle brand that sells kit for men, women and kids as well as footwear, jewellery, and accessories. But when its POS system started showing signs of age, the retailer had two choices: 

  1. patch it up, get through the peak period, trundle along as before
  2. get a whole new system in place in record time and create a platform for the futureBasically, the legacy POS was holding the company back. Multichannel retailing was almost impossible and it wasn’t PCI compliant. So Fat Face decided to go for a future-proof platform to underpin omni-channel growth and integrate store and web – something that could scale up in line with its international ambitions.



Similar bespoke deployments typically take up to 18 months. We had just nine months to do everything – or risk hitting the retailer’s peak trading period with a shaky system liable to break under the pressure. Between us we had to:

  • deliver a fully functional, scalable omni-channel system, including a PCI DSS compliant payment solution
  • roll it out to 420 tills at 200+ Fat Face stores 
  • integrate with existing merchandising, logistic and warehouse systems, and e-commerce and call centre solutions to support a genuine omni-channel experience
  • replace the legacy system before Christmas with no down-time or impact on any trading activity.

With such tight timescales there was absolutely no margin for error.



We came up with an integrated solution, including software and infrastructure, built on three key elements:

  • Our Multichannel Connected Retailer Suite comprising Store 6 (POS), Audit and Operations Management (AOM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
  • This is hosted on the BT Cloud Compute platform which can grow and shrink as needed, with Fat Face only ever paying for the processing power it actually uses.
  • Our managed payment service, specifically designed to meet the new Payment Card Industry Security Standard (PCI DSS). 

Leon Shepherd, Business Change Director at Fat Face, said: “With new technology, tight delivery timescales and a whole host of third-party integration challenges, this needed to be a real team effort. Had things gone wrong, the combination of a failing legacy system, peak period demand and growth aspirations could have sunk the whole operation.

“We succeeded because of the level of collaboration. Everyone involved – the internal team, BT Expedite’s specialists and our other partners – worked tirelessly over nine months to nail the solution. There were quite a few long days – and nights! – but everyone was committed to getting it right.”

It was a brave decision to push ahead and the results have has been fantastic, with the system proving resilient throughout our biggest ever trading period and driving significant multichannel growth.

Leon Shepherd, Business Change Director, Fat Face


The solution was rolled out across all 206 of Fat Face’s stores in time to support a record Christmas sales peak for the retailer, with double digit sales growth. And the benefits of a new more stable, integrated system are being felt right across the business:

Fat Face can now plan and execute a promotion in hours rather than days and then manage it to each and every till.

Reducing till training from 1 week to just 3 hours for each sales assistant has created huge savings in annual training costs.

There’s no credit card data on any Fat Face system, completely reducing the scope of its PCI DSS compliance obligations.

Real-time sales data is being used to optimise trading, in terms of stock allocation, opening hours and deployment of staff.



Fat Face has no intention of resting on its laurels. There are already plans in the pipeline for an enhanced click & collect initiative, in-store PayPal integration and mobile POS devices.

“We’ve established a new benchmark for POS projects,” explains Leon, “by replacing mission critical legacy systems with an on demand, scalable cloud-based platform in record time. We now have a 
platform in place to support genuine omni-channel retailing and future growth.”