Posted by Matt Rhodus, Director and Industry Solutions Principal for Retail Vertical, NetSuite

How many of you consider yourselves a full omnichannel retailer?

It was a question I posed to a room of 70 retail executives gathered at the Intersect Retail conference recently held in New York City. A few hands timidly went up in the audience, not unlike the way you’d raise your hand in class as a kid and keep your fingers crossed that the teacher didn’t call on you.

I asked another one – how many of you have a single, real-time view of item, inventory, order and customer data?

One, and only one, retailer in the audience confidently raised their hand. Fortunately for me, it was a representative from the company I was there to join in a panel discussion – Journelle. In the highly competitive and uniquely challenging space of luxury lingerie, Journelle has achieved sustained growth and continued innovation, something it credits to making the decision to replace a tangled web of QuickBooks and point systems with a single platform in NetSuite in 2011.

“Customer experience is not just about going above and beyond. It’s about reducing the occurrence and severity of bad experiences and increasing the propensity for a good experience. This consistency and dependability drives our customers’ love of lingerie and makes shopping at Journelle easy,” Journelle’s CEO, Lyn Lewis said at the event. “Having all of our data in one place is a critical piece that allows us to deliver a great customer experience. I take being on a single system for granted now.”

Matt Rhodus and Lyn Lewis addressing the Intersect Retail audience. Image credit: Intersect Fashion New York

Unlike many retailers in that audience, with a single view of customers, orders, items and inventory on a real-time platform, Journelle has a foundation that any customer-facing system can consume from and can confidently say it’s on the road to true omnichannel.

Taking the First Step Toward Customer Experience Nirvana

In 2011, Journelle migrated off QuickBooks and the point solutions that had run its store since its launch in 2007, and onto a unified platform for core retail business processes – including order management, inventory management, financials, supplier purchasing and customer relationship management (CRM). In doing so, it took the first and perhaps most difficult step – the decision to remediate and unify systems – on what we call “The Stairway to Customer Experience Nirvana.” With real-time data and a complete view of operations, Journelle has the transparency not only to make better business decisions, but innovate with the types of customer experiences that are impossible without good data.

Since going live on NetSuite, Journelle has grown its revenue both on and offline and has built two more stores, most recently launching its Chicago location this past winter. With real-time access to the CRM data captured within NetSuite from across all those sales channels, store associates have a 360-degree view of the entire customer lifecycle. Real-time access to personalized customer data, such as measurements, preferences and past purchases, helps to nurture long-term loyalty that enables the company to better meet customer needs through its in-store and online channels.

1725 N. Damen Avenue. Chicago, IL. Journelle’s newest store, opened November ‘15

NetSuite inventory management also provides Journelle with real-time control and transparency into the stock levels of its SKUs across all of its locations. It can provide customers with buy anywhere, pick-up anywhere and return anywhere convenience. Customers can also place orders for out of stock items from within the store and have them fulfilled from available inventory in another location.

Your Front-End Problem is a Back-End Problem

Many retailers in the audience struggle to confidently fulfill a single piece of what Journelle achieves daily. With a tangled web of systems that focus on specific touch points in the customer’s buying journey, nothing can talk to one another to create an accurate overall picture. Chances are they’ve spent a lot of time and money focusing on gluing them together with middleware to achieve, a buy anywhere, return anywhere experience, to no avail.

Your front-end problem is a back-end problem. The difficulties in delivering the experiences customers have come to expect stem from siloed data, fractured systems, and the significant hurdle of even beginning to solve these problems. Without that foundation of customer, order, item and inventory, it’s impossible to provide accurate data to the other touch points.

With a single platform, retailers position themselves for subsequent steps along the Stairway to Customer Experience Nirvana – connecting point of sale (POS) and ecommerce software, creating unique customer experiences with mobile and social, and preparing to disrupt their spaces.

Journelle is focused on growth. Scaling stores and especially the ecommerce business will require deep customer knowledge and a focus on personalization. With NetSuite as its partner, it will continue along its Stairway to Customer Experience Nirvana, poised to further disrupt the lingerie market.

 Where are you on the Stairway to Customer Experience Nirvana? We’ve prepared a worksheet to give you a sense of your base. Download it here