STORES Magazine - June 2010 - (Page 52)

NUTS AND BOLTS / ONLINE Many Channels, One Customer Vineyard Vines sees its shoppers through a single lens BY M.V. GREENE A s a cross-channel apparel company serving a largely preppy clientele, Stamford, Conn.based Vineyard Vines knows it must work to keep its customers happy and shopping. Preppy still generally connotes wellheeled, well-educated and affluent, and these days you can add tech-savvy to the list of descriptors. With 11 stores between Boston and Orlando, Vineyard Vines’ success relies on a robust and coordinated shopping experience, no matter the channel. Purchase online or from the catalog and need an immediate return? Bring it to the nearest store. See an attractive promotional price in the store? Apply that same discount to your online purchase. Dave Ruback, Vineyard Vines’ information technology manager, says the objective is to keep all the selling channels in sync, regardless of how customers choose to connect with the business. “We see them as one customer and not different customers in different channels,” he says. “It’s not that we want to lose the idea that there are single-channel shoppers who prefer to shop one 52 STORES / JUNE 2010 way,” but the approach affords all customers the ability to “hop back and forth across channels … with ease.” By 2014, more than half of all retail sales in the United States will be influenced by e-commerce, according to a March Forrester Research study, and selling strategies must account for consumers who desire to move between the offline and online worlds. Understanding the customer Vineyard Vines was founded in 1998 by brothers Ian and Shep Murray, who each left behind corporate jobs in New York City. Initially, they sold their distinctive neckties on the beach, in bars and on boats in Martha’s Vineyard. Its flagship store opened in 2005, and the company now leverages multiple sales channels along with distribution of its clothing and accessories for men, women and children in some 600 spe- cialty and department stores worldwide. In the middle of the last decade, Vineyard Vines underwent a technology upgrade to meld its various channels into a seamless mix and find new and innovative ways to reach consumers. In 2006, the company began swapping out its legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) management system in favor of IBM’s WebSphere Commerce, used by major bricks-and-mortar retailers like Sears and Target. Inherent in WebSphere Commerce software is the ability for retailers to compile and compare purchase histories of customers and use that data to develop specialized promotions – an opportunity right down Vineyard Vines’ alley. “We realized that we were at a point where the [legacy ERP] system itself probably wouldn’t be able to handle more transactions,” Ruback says. “The volume also required a lot of customization as we WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - June 2010

STORES Magazine - June 2010
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
Self-Serve Retail
Smash and Grab
Conference Preview
Fraud Prevention
Disaster Preparedness
LP Newsbeat
New Products
Supply Chain
Information Technology
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - June 2010