Complete business transformation is an almighty challenge – but one that can be made considerably simpler if retailers embrace the cloud.
When designer fashion brand, Paul Smith, wanted to redefine the shopper experience across its 200+ stores in 66 countries including the UK, China, South Africa and the USA, it looked to the cloud for a rapid, cost-effective solution for delivering greater customer engagement.
As the only retail software provider able to provide truly global cloud capabilities across Paul Smith’s international store estate, Cegid was the natural partner of choice. Its retail management solution, Yourcegid Retail, provided Paul Smith with the agile approach needed to build personalised, mobile moments around the customer, and to draw on data across the business to create a truly omnichannel shopper experience.
Already, Paul Smith is seeing the bottom line benefits. Inventory visibility has increased by 90%, with 100% accurate hourly synching of information across the business. Better data is allowing the brand to improve loyalty schemes and incentives, while Cegid’s cloud solution has provided a platform for scalable innovation.
Transformation began two years ago when Paul Smith decided to do a complete system overhaul, including a new ERP solution integrated with the Point of Sale (POS).
“We carried out a formal selection process, and Cegid was a good cultural fit,” explained Paul Smith’s Finance Director, James Horsley. “The fact they were truly global really stood out for us, as we wanted one system across our business – that seemed to be a major limitation for other suppliers.”
Finding a software partner that could deliver a cloud-based solution was very important to Paul Smith, which was one major attraction to Yourcegid Retail.
“We discovered SaaS quite early on, and the fact that Cegid could offer cloud technology was very important to us,” James remarked. “We knew it would enable us to embrace the cloud early on and learn its capabilities.”
Paul Smith rolled the software out in two phases, starting with the UK, before a rest of the world launch. This enabled them to test deployment on a smaller scale, and bring key learnings to the global phase in order to ensure a smooth implementation.
“The solution is highly configurable, and we needed to understand how to harness that configuration in the UK before going out to the rest of the world,” added James. “There are nuances in every country that we operate, so we needed a solution with a core that was set in stone, but which could be tailored for each region.”
One of the immediate gains Paul Smith has seen since embracing Yourcegid Retail is speed of deployment, so the brand can now explore new growth opportunities.
“We can get a pop-up store up and running in less than two weeks, whereas previously it would’ve taken us around 10 weeks,” said James. “This is enabling us to think differently about the opportunities that become available, so we can take advantage of short-term leases to promote the Paul Smith brand and drive traffic to our ecommerce site.”
“We’re also adding value in our permanent stores through Cegid’s cloud technology. For example, we can now support gift cards, which utilise live customer data. We’ve reduced customer database duplications by 90% as a result, so we’ve got a much clearer picture of each shopper’s value.”
Additionally, staff can access real-time stock information at store level, as a live stock picture in Yourcegid Retail has increased inventory visibility by 90%. Meanwhile, better data flow between the POS and ERP system has allowed 100% accurate hourly syncing of information.
“We’re delighted to be helping an iconic British fashion brand like Paul Smith deliver even greater customer centricity,” added Sylvain Jauze, Director of International Operations, Cegid. “Cloud technology is proving instrumental in enabling retailers to deliver a relevant, consistent customer experience worldwide, and Paul Smith is demonstrating the immediate value that a SaaS approach adds.”
As successful as Yourcegid Retail has proven already, this is only the beginning. Paul Smith now plans to use the platform to enhance its omnichannel offering.
“We want to develop the customer experience even further,” said James. “Mobile POS is next on our agenda, which will give us the opportunity to serve shoppers more flexibly, and explore how mobile technology allows for new store formats.”
In fact, Paul Smith has just gone live with a new tablet showroom initiative to improve its customer journey, which it hopes to pilot in other stores going forward.
“A year is a long time in retail, and who knows what the future will bring. The one thing we do know is that we need to be flexible, and choosing cloud software from Cegid gives us that flexibility,” James concluded.