Speed is of the essence in retail – particularly in the fast-paced world of sport. Not only must retailers get products to market quickly, they must respond promptly to customer demand. International sporting goods retailer INTERSPORT knows these pressures first-hand, running a network of more than 5,500 stores across 43 countries. This is particularly evident in the UK and Ireland where its stores are predominantly affiliated retailers of INTERSPORT UK itself a part of the buying group AIS. To create the optimum platform for further expansion, INTERSPORT UK needed to reinvigorate its local IT solution to better connect the store with central operations – and it turned to Cegid.
Innovation through integration
The project was sparked by an operational audit, carried out by INTERSPORT UK’s IT Director, Laetitia Kotsiopoulos. This revealed the IT infrastructure in place could not support the brand growth.
“We really wanted to drill down into the gaps between customer demands and our business capabilities, “Laetitia explained. “We found that not only were many processes still manual, but the IT system we were using couldn’t integrate with the warehouse.”
INTERSPORT UK’s affiliated retailers in the UK and Ireland were particularly affected by its legacy IT systems, as it slowed interactions between the independent members and head office.
“Lack of integration gave us no central visibility on stock levels, which impacted replenishment,” Laetitia added. “Members were phoning in orders and it was taking us 10 – 14 days to dispatch them. It wasn’t an efficient operation, as it was beset by many manual processes.”
Building the business case
To show INTERSPORT UK decision makers the value of IT investment, Laetitia travelled to the Netherlands to meet INTERSPORT’s Dutch operations, which had implemented new operational software five years ago.
“They said the only way they could make smarter, faster decisions was to invest in IT, in order to integrate their warehouse into operations,” she confirmed.
“We showed our Managing Director and Financial Director how updating the infrastructure had made the sales process more efficient in the Netherlands, increasing margin as a result.”
This confirmed the need to bring INTERSPORT UK’s store operations closer to the warehouse by integrating the point of sale with centralised inventory.
Transforming store operations
INTERSPORT UK identified Yourcegid Retail as the best store management solution for the UK and Ireland, selecting official Cegid reseller Retail IT as its implementation partner. Members were given the option to either use Yourcegid Retail or connect the infrastructure to their own, existing POS solution.
A pilot in 7 stores immediately highlighted the value an integrated solution provided to INTERSPORT UK’s store network, with benefits including:
-Reducing replenishment time from 14 days to 3 days through slicker communication
-Enabling a single clear view of core operations for the first time, to improve decision making
-Streamlining operations by automating product listing, which can be modified and added-to at store level (including non-core products not sold by INTERSPORT UK)
-Closer aligning inventory, purchasing and sales
-Improving inventory accuracy by moving telephone reordering online
-Eliminating many time-consuming manual tasks
-Increasing full price sales by better managing inventory throughout the merchandise cycle
-Reducing cost of fulfilment from warehouse to stores by 15-20%
Moreover, the increased data visibility throughout INTERSPORT UK’s store network has provided the brand with valuable insights into purchasing patterns store by store, to analyse which product lines are proving the most successful.
“The success of the roll out is all down to our relationship with Cegid and Retail IT,” Laetitia commented. “It’s not the typical supplier/client relationship that I have with my other suppliers – it’s a partnership. Their experience and knowledge has been invaluable in creating a solution to support the growth of our business.”
Onwards and upwards
INTERSPORT UK is now accelerating its Yourcegid Retail implementation to 30 stores by the end of the year, and sharing its capabilities with other countries – with a view to rolling out similar solutions globally.
It also plans to fully automate its online ordering portal, and implement further business intelligence modules to drive even greater customer insights from using an integrated solution.
“If we went back to the IT infrastructure we had before, we wouldn’t survive,” concluded Laetitia. “This isn’t just a system replacement; it’s a reshaping of our supply chain strategy.”