Store and Pos
We know our Integrated Store system is good. It helps retailers get click and collect functionality in place easily, meeting the demands of customers in a multichannel world by creating a joined up system. But even we didn’t realise just how good it could be until two completely unrelated retailers joined forces in a unique project. They combined the click and collect features of Integrated Store with its in-store ordering and seamless returns capabilities. The result is a single, powerful, cross-platform solution that brings the online and in-store experience together. And it’s been a huge hit with store staff and customers alike.
“We have seen, as a result of delivering Integrated Store, true incremental sales gained by giving customers access to an extended aisle in our stores.”
Andy Tudor, Technical Development Manager, Aurora Fashions
With IT teams from both Thomas Pink and Aurora Fashions (owners of Warehouse, Oasis, Coast and Karen Millen) looking for ways to get a fully integrated multichannel solution in place, without disrupting the ongoing day to day business, they struck on the idea of working together. They wanted to keep up with the pace of change in multichannel retail and spread the costs.
And we were more than happy to get involved.
The first thing was to sit down and thrash out a plan that took on board the needs and wants of store, web, brand, supply chain and operations specialists from both camps. Then, over the next 12 months, we held regular meetings to review progress, deal with any problems and manage the individually tailored solutions to successful rollout.
The groundwork involved getting the latest point of sale and e-commerce platforms in place, as well as making changes to transaction flows and customer relationship management systems. At the same time both retailers upgraded their customer order management systems so they could handle the orders and keep track of stock.
For Warehouse (the first of the Aurora brands to implement) this took in 279 tills at 97 stores; while Thomas Pink had more than 100 tills to upgrade in the UK, US, France and Ireland.
“Pink on Demand is important because it gives us the flexibility to offer customers any Thomas Pink product, even if it’s not available in the store.”
”Aminur Rahman, Multi-site Manager, Thomas Pink
The solution merges web, store and call centre to create a seamless ordering journey for customers. It also provides an accurate and consolidated view of stock, representing a major step towards getting a ‘single view of the customer’. When designing the new system, it was important to make it secure and easy to use for both customers and store staff – critical factors in any multichannel programme. It also had to respect the differences between the two retailers without compromising on vision or delivery. With click and collect from our Integrated Store solution, both retailers can offer their customers options to:
Using this as the foundation, Thomas Pink’s new Pink on Demand service went live in June 2010 on www.thomaspink.com as a five-store pilot in London. Within minutes, the as-yet-unadvertised service started attracting orders. One store even achieved an unprecedented multi-thousand pound sale from a reserve and collect order, for styles not normally stocked in the store because of space limitations.
A month later eight standalone Warehouse stores in Glasgow and Edinburgh were enabled for Ways to Shop Warehouse at www.warehouse.co.uk with a further eleven standalone stores around London
joining the trial a week later. Opening the pilot up to the London customer base achieved a week-on-week sales uplift of 576 per cent.
Both retailers find that customers use the full set of new shopping options available to them and both benefit from increased up-sell opportunities in store.
The expense of re-designing systems from the bottom up is daunting, especially in the middle of the deepest economic downturn in sixty years. But by pooling their resources, Thomas Pink and Aurora Fashions succeeded in beating the recession and coming up with a solution that works for both companies. New checkout functionality online enables customers to ‘click and collect’ at a store of their choice, with additional benefits across the stores, web and supply chains.
Customers of both retailers can now get the garments they want when and where they want it, improving the customer experience. New point of sale functionality supports the picking of web orders, delivery to home or another store, and the seamless processing returns of web orders in-store.
With a fully integrated stock management system, online returns to any store cost less to re-stock and make life easier for customers. The ability to see what customers are buying, regardless of the channel, enables more personalised, targeted marketing.
For Warehouse, where orders are fulfilled from in-store stock, there is now a wider selection available online because the website reflects both the distribution centre and the store inventory. In contrast to Warehouse, Thomas Pink has a Distribution Centre fulfillment model based on Integrated Store so it can virtually increase the size of small format stores to provide an extended range.
Both retailers have a clearer view of merchandise across distribution centres and stores. And better stock visibility and reporting means that they can sell sale stock earlier
with fewer markdowns.
Integrated Store gives the retailers insight they never had before. They can investigate how they are performing with regard to customers who choose to pick-up in the store. And delve into the reasons why a garment chosen online was rejected in store.