Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
ASX-listed clothing retailer, Billabong, is rolling out NetSuite’s cloud-based financial, ERP and commerce platforms globally in a bid to deliver a real-time, omni-channel retail offering to customers.
The SuiteCommerce platform will be progressively rolled out across Billabong’s wholesale, retail and ecommerce operations globally, starting with Australia, the US, Canada and Europe. In a statement, the company said the technology will help ensure real-time flow of customer, order and inventory information across all sales channels, as well as utilise inventory more effectively. This will help to improve online shopping, retail operations as well as wholesale partner engagement.
The NetSuite platform will also be used to centralise monitoring and management of Billabong’s branded global websites, which span 19 languages and up to 190 currencies.
“Creating a true omni-channel experience is one of the seven strategic pillars in our transformation strategy,” said Billabong CEO, Neil Fiske. “We have high expectations of potential strategic partners in line with our approach of undertaking major structural changes once and doing them right.
“We look forward to working with NetSuite to build an industry leading global platform that creates a seamless customer experience across all of our channels, including wholesale.”
Billabong regained 100 per cent ownership of its branded ecommerce sites in Australia and Europe last year. In February, Fiske said these assets would be included in its omni-channel plans, while also flagging the company’s intention to accelerate transformation of its Asia-Pacific retail fleet from a bricks-and-mortar operation to an omni-channel model.
Billabong has experienced several years of hardship and profit losses as it faced a retail disaster. In 2013, the ground was recapitalised and announced a turnaround strategy. And according to the company’s most recent financials for the half-year to 31 December 2014 showed a return to profitability, with net profits at $25.7 million off total global revenue of $522.1 million.
“We have historically underinvested in direct-to-consumer platforms for our brands,” Fiske stated in February. “Regaining full ownership of our ecommerce sites in this half allows us to implement a true omni-channel platform that will create a seamless and superior experience anywhere our consumers choose to shop.”
As well as the back-end overhaul, Billabong will use NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce Instore software to give floor sales staff a view into a customer’s purchase history, as well as the ability to order online from a tablet or mobile device if the product is not available in the store.
SuiteCommerce, meanwhile, will provide Billabong stores with real-time inventory visibility. Previously, brick-and-mortar locations were siloed from online and the call centre. Billabong said the integration and capabilities available in the software will now allow it to launch features such as buying online and ship-from-store.
The company is also adopting NetSuite’s CRM platform to unify customer information and build single customer profiles. These will also be available to all staff in real-time across any channel, Fiske said. Previously, Billabong used a series of self developed programs.
The first phase of the rolloutt of new direct-to-consumer, omni-channel platforms is expected to occur between March and September, a few stores at a time, and is being led by the global IT team.
“Global retailers are repeatedly held back by siloed systems that result in a fractured journey as customers transition across disparate systems,” added NetSuite CEO, Zach Nelson. “Billabong's move to SuiteCommerce's single unified cloud-based platform will give the company the agility to deliver the seamless omni-channel customer experiences shoppers demand.”
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