STORES Magazine - April 2015 - (Page 44)

n OMNICHANNEL Paving the Way BCBG Max Azria Group adds foundation to support evolving operations by DEENA M. AMATO-McCOY B CBG Max Azria Group's top priority is delivering a single brand image to customers, regardless of whether they shop at a company-owned store, a boutique within a department store partner or its online channel. "We also never want a customer to walk out of the store without getting what they want due to out-of-stock scenarios, or poor or interrupted communications with our associates," says Alex Golshan, vice president of omnichannel and international ecommerce for the Vernon, Calif.-based specialty retailer of women's ready-towear and accessory collections. Until recently, those goals have been difficult to accomplish, Golshan says, due to a number of issues, including a lack of inventory visibility between channels. Current in-store technology only exacerbates the issue. An antiquated point-of-sale system does not support cross-channel inventory visibility, making it difficult to "save a sale," he says. If customers can't find what they are looking for, associates are encouraged to call nearby stores that may have other options and handwrite orders 44 STORES April 2015 to be shipped from other locations. A significant amount of revenue is supported by the manual process, which Golshan says helped BCBG realize that automating the system would increase incremental revenue. A step toward achieving this goal was adopting an associate-driven "connected" sales platform. The ideal architecture would integrate the brand's customer relationship management system with clientelling services - a move that would enable users to check on enterprise inventory levels and help shoppers check out or even continue orders that originated online. "The concept of the store is changing, and we need to find the best ways to provide additional service to our shoppers, regardless of the channel they use," he says. "We need to learn how to incorporate digital content ... to personalize the experience, and deliver the highest level of service to the customer, whether that is through self-service or the assistance of our associates." CREATING VISIBILITY BCBG developed a five-year plan for the creation of an omnichannel operation that will allow the brand to expand globally. The company is not alone in the endeavor: 49 percent of retailers plan to integrate omnichannel processes in less than two years, and 28 percent will adopt a single, unified commerce platform for store, mobile and web during the same timeframe, according to "Mobile Technology - Transforming the Customer Experience," a report from Boston Retail Partners. To achieve its goal, BCBG kept an eye on cloud-based options - a configuration that would enable the brand to easily integrate multiple channels in a centralized way - and eventually chose Demandware's Digital Store platform. The first step in kicking off its multiyear journey was opening visibility between physical stores and digital channels. BCBG added Digital Store to nearly 180 locations in November, giving store associates access to inventory in the online distribution center just in time for the critical holiday shopping season. Digital Store also serves as a consumer engagement tool, deepening connections between store associates and in-store shoppers. Associates use iPads to check inventory levels, crossNRF.COM/STORES http://www.NRF.COM/STORES

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - April 2015

A Most Complex Game
It's All Connected
Retail People
Selling Satisfaction
Editor's Page
President's Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
NRF Communities Update
End Cap
Business Operations
Online Fraud

STORES Magazine - April 2015