Unified communications for Rummo Pasta
on January 19, 2015
High Street retail group Arcadia enjoys first benefits of core retail systems overhaul. Glynn Davis reports from New York
Arcadia Group is enjoying the first benefits of the overhaul of its core retail systems with a broad Oracle Retail deployment that is positioning it much more soundly for its accelerated global store expansion.
At its recently opened New York store on Fifth Avenue during a tour of the flagship that coincided with Retail’s Big Show, organised by NRF, Emma Taylor, US retail manager at Topshop, gave some insights into the fundamental changes taking place as the Oracle solution is implemented.
Named ‘Project Horizon’ this major ERP deployment involves Arcadia “ripping out the old legacy systems that are just not workable for an international business”, according to Taylor. Linked to the Oracle aspect is a new Singapore distribution centre that goes live in August and will remove the antiquated current practice of all stock passing through the group’s UK warehouses.
The first results from the far-reaching project come from the recent utilisation of the Oracle markdown optimisation option that went live initially in Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge on December 5 in the UK. The idea is that it will be used as an additional tool by merchandisers and the early feedback is that employees have taken to it well and that the algorithms are providing some quick financial benefits.
Other aspects of Oracle Retail will be gradually introduced into the business and help with the likes of replenishment and buying as the business will have a fuller grasp of its inventory across its growing international footprint.
Focus on personal shopping
Integral to this expansion is the US market and Taylor detailed how important the personal shopper element is to the American outlets. There are five rooms and one VIP area at the Fifth Avenue store where employees are equipped with iPads running a ‘clientelling’ solution.
“We use them to collect customer data and enhance the personal service,” she said, adding that this personal shopper service is a “status thing in the US” with customers valuing it highly. It already accounts for 15% of sales at the Fifth Avenue shop and Taylor has plans to grow it substantially.
Such is the power of this form of customer engagement that Taylor added that the average transaction value of a Topshop customer using the personal shopper service is $350 versus $98 for a regular customer.
Other initiatives planned in the US involve localising social media. “This year it’s a massive project as we now need to split off from the UK. All social media is run from the UK at the moment, with Instagram easily the biggest [platform] for us,” concluded Taylor.
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