Posted by Matt Rhodus, Retail Vertical Marketing Expert, NetSuite
Editor’s note: This is the third and final part of a series of retail “War Stories” the team at NetSuite has gathered during its many discussions with fashion brands and retailers about the biggest challenges they are faced with today. Read Retail War Stories Part 1: Inventory Management and Part 2: Lack of a Single View of Orders Across Channels.
Men’s apparel is one of the fastest growing segments in retail, with studies consistently showing that sales growth has eclipsed that of women’s apparel. It’s a wave that continues to gain momentum, and one that a privately-held, New York-based branded manufacturer which specializes in high-end men’s apparel is poised to ride – if only its systems didn’t continue to hold it back.
The company sought to emulate its competitors who were providing customers with omnichannel experiences and began investing in best-of-breed solutions for its ecommerce and POS systems. But it soon found that trying to tie together different data sets from these systems left it with unreliable views of order, inventory and customer information. Not only did that make it impossible to provide the types of omnichannel experiences customers expect – such as buy online, return in store – associates couldn’t even access a reliable view of inventory across online and offline channels to convert in-store traffic.
The company also tried to feed data from its siloed, best-of-breed systems into analytics with the goal of using intelligent marketing to improve in-store sales. Yet, the year-long project and huge investment only deepened problems. Without consistent, reliable data sources, analytics can’t provide any information of real value. It was investing in campaigns that either failed to entice the consumer because they were irrelevant to their needs, or worse, frustrated them with promises that couldn’t be relied upon, driving them away for good.
Without end-to-end visibility across operations, this retailer couldn’t provide the omnichannel customer experiences that are now table stakes in the industry, let alone innovate on the customer experience to outpace competitors.
The Solution: Take steps to gain end-to-end visibility across operations
The CIO realized that the problems were all born of unreliable and inconsistent data, and no amount of investment in analytics or customer-facing point solutions would provide any ROI until the company harmonized data sources. The business needed to invest in a single platform to run operations that would ensure a consistent, reliable source of data.
Their first step is to implement a centralized, cloud-based order management system that manages orders from all channels resulting in faster order processing and lower operational costs, resulting in more satisfied customers. From here, the retailer will extend this strategy to centralized inventory management – gaining real-time, enterprise-wide inventory visibility to enable buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere experiences. With a single source of order, item and customer data, the retailer will be able to gather perceptive data and deploy astute marketing campaigns tailored to its customers, ultimately enabling it to grow and innovate with ease.
If this “war story” is all too familiar and you are seeking a way to get your retail business on the path to true omnichannel, download the whitepaper below or visit www.netsuite.com/fashion for more information.