From e-commerce, client relationships, the omnichannel buying journey, and managing its vast network, Vilebrequin has huge ambitions and needs tools up to the task. The brand has been working with Cegid for the past 14 years.
This summer, lucky vacationers had the chance to wear Vilebrequin bathing suits designed by Karl Lagerfeld. A collection of 8 pieces was created through the collaboration between the luxury swimwear brand and the renowned designer: bathing suits, polos, tunic dresses, beach towels and travel cases. Everything in shades of azure blue, with black and white highlights. A high impact addition: the unmistakable profile of the designer, with signature black glasses and ponytail, printed on the fabric.
The brand has ambition and its collections confirm this. Today, they include between 500 and 600 styles. Bathing suits for the entire family, of course, but also an increasing number of summer and winter wear items (polos, linen shirts, shorts, sweaters, vests), with patterns reminiscent of the swimwear line. Vilebrequin redistributes its items to 900 stores, of which a large portion consists of wholesalers. These multi-brand vendors account for a significant part of the brand’s sales. In fact, it was to equip its sales force throughout this vast network of resellers that Vilebrequin contacted Cegid for the first time in 2003. Two years later, it turned its attention to its back-office and found the ideal solution to drive procurement, merchandising, inventory, deliveries and billing in Yourcegid Orli. Another victory!
With this success, Vilebrequin decided to focus on its direct-to-consumer sales. In 2009-2010, its network of exclusive boutiques in Europe expanded and Cegid’s point of sale (POS) solution was put in place to meet this increased need. Five years later, Cegid was again selected to equip Vilebrequin’s US stores. This proved to be the right choice: today, “our exclusive boutiques worldwide are our main sales channel”, states IT Director Christian Roche proudly.
But even as it develops its brick-and-mortar network, the brand hasn’t forgotten the importance of digital. “Our objective is to double our sales revenue in the near future, and focusing on digital growth is one of the main ways to achieve this”, states Roche. How? By improving the ecommerce site and the flow between sales channels.
Since 2014, the company has been heavily invested in Vilebrequin.com. Three years ago, their first major decision was to run a single online store, both for Europe and the US.
Another decision made to increase sales was the move to a mobile-first website strategy last Spring. This became paramount when more than 60% of visits to Vilebrequin.com were coming from a smartphone or tablet. The gamble paid off. “Since we’ve launched the new version of the site, our sales have doubled”, reports the brand’s IT Manager. Another source of encouragement: online sales have doubled each year for the past three years!
It would be impossible for Vilebrequin to continue its evolution without digitizing its stores as well. In 2015 and 2016, the brand mapped out its first omnichannel buying journey and subsequently introduced the pick-up in store option. Thanks to this service, customers who buy an item online can choose to have it delivered or pick it up in-store; the order is fulfilled by the central warehouse.
The brand takes advantage of this service to gain a 360° view of its customers. “We wanted all the customer information collected online to also be available in-store”, recalls Christian Roche. In order to achieve this, Vilebrequin turned to its usual IT partner, Cegid. The result: this sought-after customer relations capability is now supported by the Clienteling module in Yourcegid Retail.
In October 2016, the brand launched a new phase: six Vilebrequin boutiques in four European countries (France, Spain, Italy, Great Britain) were equipped with tablets that run two other Yourcegid Retail modules, in addition to Clienteling, Cataloging and Shopping. Using these tablets, sales associates can show their customers the entire collection. This is significant progress in stores only measuring about 300 square feet that rarely have the depth and breadth of necessary inventory. Associates can also order unavailable products for their customers to save a sale. Next year, a new service will be added to the brand’s multichannel offerings: ship from store. This will allow the brand to fulfill an online order from a store’s inventory. They also plan to add an “ultra-fast delivery” option, which will let the customer in a hurry to go swimming in their hotel’s pool pick-up the bathing suit they ordered online at the nearest store, or have it delivered within two hours by courier.
And Vilebrequin doesn’t stop there. In October 2017, the brand launched Shopping in the US, where the solution serves as a pilot project for a new module aimed at managing taxes, a complex problem in the 50 states.