In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?
Australian fashion retailer, Jeanswest, is rolling out a new ecommerce and customer experience management platform in a bid to improve its omni-channel approach and international growth.
Although the business has had an ecommerce offering since 2009, general manager of multi-channel and business development, Franc Renzi, said it had lacked the functionality to deliver personalised digital services to its 2 million rewards program members. Historically, Web and email channels were treated as one-size-fits-all, he said.
Jeanswest is looking to gain a range of capabilities including filtered navigation, targeting, personalised one-to-one messaging and the ability to dynamically target promotional offers based on a customer’s browsing habits and interests.
To achieve this, the company has selected SDL’s eCommerce Optimization and Customer Experience Cloud platforms. The technology will be help provide more relevant experiences, spurring online revenue growth, Renzi said.
Jeanswest was established in 1972 and now has 3000 stores across Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Russia, Fiji and China.
“In an ever-evolving market where new players frequently enter – either with traditional or online stores – the fashion market is a fast-paced playing field, requiring constant innovation to survive and prosper,” Renzi said.
“Providing our customers with outstanding experiences is core to our company values and sets us apart from our competitors. However, each time we tried to add a layer of complexity to our website, we couldn’t do it technically.
“With SDL, Jeanswest will continue to not only deliver superior products, but provide relevant experiences in the languages of our target customers internationally.”
Renzi told CMO Jeanswest was looking to increase online conversion rates by 50 per cent in the next 12 months, and anticipated higher than average year-on-year online revenues thanks to the new technology capabilities. At present, digital represents between 5-10 per cent of total sales, he said.
He noted growth had tapered off towards the end of last year, highlighting the need to replatform and “do things differently”. Previously, while the team had strived for some customer segmentation through its campaign manager tools, messages were largely “broadcasts” and all customers ultimately ended up seeing the same website and content.
“If we can use the CRM and capabilities to segment, we then need to match the offer when the customer arrives at the site,” he said. “It’s about finding an advantage over our competitors.”
The SDL platform is scheduled to go live in the first week of March. Renzi said Jeanswest’s IT team is also replacing its ERP system and hopes to have that live by the end of the year.
The SDL rollout is being overseen by the retailer’s multi-channel team, which was established late last year. The team incorporates the former business development team and liaises with IT, product and marketing functions to ensure the new digital offering is right for the business.
Renzi explained the company also maintains steering committees across both the website and ERP projects involving different parts of the business, which have regular standup meetings to discuss key initiatives and challenges along the way.
If we can use the CRM and capabilities to segment, we then need to match the offer when the customer arrives at the site
“We want to encourage cross-functional meetings but make them short,” he commented. In addition, the leadership team also holds fortnightly meetings to review and preview EDMs and digital marketing campaigns to see what's working and what’s not.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure we talk to different groups of people separately,” Renzi said. “Personalisation isn’t a capability we have, but we’re driving into key groups via our EDMs and website.”
Low-hanging fruit includes geographic location, as well as demographic data, he said.
An increasing focus on segmentation also means additional content, and Renzi agreed the retailer will need to look at additional resources long-term. The first step, however, is to demonstrate the ROI from the technology investment and transformation. Key metrics to do this will include conversion and traffic, he said.
“What we don’t want to do is buy a Rolls Royce when we only needed a Commodore,” Renzi added. “We’re going through an on-boarding program and post-implementation program with SDL and will review our usage [of the platform] every week and then every month, to ensure we are using the product properly.
“We don’t want to set and forget.”
In a statement, SDL said its smart search and navigation will help Jeanswest’s customers find exactly what they are looking for, while targeted selling and merchandising capabilities will allow the retailer to display the most relevant products.
“At SDL, we’ve seen a growing demand for solutions that manage and optimise high-value customer engagements to drive online revenue and improve customer satisfaction across multiple channels,” said the vendor’s CEO and founder, Mark Lancaster.
“We believe success for retailers starts and ends with individualised, contextually relevant experiences.”