“SkillNet designed and implemented a bespoke mobile check-in application for James Avery that allows stores to better manage customer queues. This application allows customers and store personnel to maintain social distancing practices and adhere to COVID-19 regulations.”
James Avery Artisan Jewelry is a vertically integrated, family owned company located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. They are a multi-channel retailer with 94 James Avery stores in four states. Their jewelry is also available in more than 215 Dillard’s stores in Texas and in 28 additional states; and nationwide through JamesAvery.com. Their jewelry is crafted in Texas workshops in Comfort, Hondo and Kerrville with the finest materials sourced worldwide.
On March 18th, James Avery Artisan Jewelry temporarily shut their retail stores to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Select stores reopened on May 22, in accordance with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s recommended health protocols.
“We’ve missed our customers over the past eight weeks and we’re ready to begin calling some of our retail associates back to work after extensive furloughs in March,” James Avery CEO John McCullough said in a media release. “We’ve heard from our customers that they are ready to come back to our stores and we want them to know their shopping experience will be different as we continue to monitor safety protocols and adapt to the current situation.”
Each store is strictly following state guidelines as well as any additional local or county requirements for reopening in the community.
“Care, concern and safety of associates and guests is a cornerstone of our business and we remain diligent as we work to reopen our retail stores,” McCullough said.
With the reopening of the stores, James Avery needed an easy to use yet enterprise ready mobile application to help them manage and maintain social distancing in their stores per state regulations regarding occupancy limits.
Their initial solution to address the issue, was to simply break out scraps of paper and give out numbers like in a deli. Of course, this experience was far from ideal as it wasn’t in alignment with their corporate culture and brand. James Avery prides themselves on the customer experience they offer and a hastily scribbled number on a scrap of paper just didn’t make sense. There had to be a better way to manage the customer queue to ensure that everyone in the store felt safe and not bunched up next to one another.
SkillNet’s approach to developing a bespoke mobile check-in application started with multiple functional design workshops. The result of these collaborative workshops was a series of Agile user stories that defined the benefits of the mobile check-in application. Then, the SkillNet team designed an enterprise architecture that securely integrated all the data points required by the user stories. The backend was built using Spring Boot in a Docker container.
As James Avery rolls out their bespoke mobile check-in application, store associates and managers are finding it very easy to use with little to no training. The application is helping stores to manage and maintain their customer queues during busy times keeping customer, and themselves, feeling safe as they shop for artisan jewelry from James Avery.
By keeping the development process open and transparent to James Avery, SkillNet was able to produce an application that exceeded initial expectations. Using Agile methodologies kept all stakeholders in the loop at all times and made sure that the solution not just met current requirements, but as an enterprise class application on a modern architecture, it is ready to adjust quickly and easily as new requirements arise.
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Seamless omnichannel experience results in 2X increase in online sales for automotive unit
SkillNet streamlines auto-parts lookup and appointment scheduling for highly successful regional retail chain. Customers can order tires and schedule appointment in a single online transaction on their phone. This has resulted in improved customer experience and growth in online sales.
About Fleet Farm
Fleet Farm is a privately held company, operating 45 large format stores in the US mid-west. Since 1955, it has been the go-to store for hunting and fishing equipment and licenses, small appliances, housewares, automotive goods, apparel, hardware, lawn and garden supplies, paint, pet supplies, sporting goods, tools, and farm supplies.
From the beginning Fleet Farm have been committed to honesty, integrity and value. Its stores are an intrinsic part of the local community and customers are quoted as saying “If Fleet Farm doesn’t have it, I don’t need it.”
Challenge | High Bounce rates on auto services web pages
Most Fleet Farm locations have a tire center, convenience store, and car wash. As part of the services of the Tires and Automotive department, customers could order tires and make an appointment for a wash and tire change online.
Customers went to the Fleet Farm web site to make appointments, but the tire availability and appointment scheduling functionality were hosted on a third-party site. This led to an uneven customer experience and many customers did not to complete their transactions. For customers who scheduled their appointments online, Fleet Farm used the services of a call center to reach customers and confirm the appointment date and time. This meant that the backend processes were not very optimal.
The Fleet Farm team realized that the uneven customer experience could impact their value commitment to customers. They decided to partner with SkillNet to redesign the website to ensure a seamless customer experience.
Solution | Integrating parts/tire lookup and service scheduling into auto services web page redesign
The SkillNet team had to consider a number of issues while designing the new online experience for tire ordering and appointment scheduling. One of the important elements of adding new functionality to ensure a smooth online experience was to know availability of parts and tires before scheduling appointments for tire servicing and car wash. Another issue to be addressed was that 50% of the users made their appointments with their mobile devices. This was also one of the reasons for the uneven experience during the interaction between the Fleet Farm web site and Third-party web site.
The solution team also had to take into account that none of the other functionality on the live site could be impacted, data had to be consolidated and fetched from external sources. Since, this was atypical of an e-commerce order flow – “without shopping cart payment”, the site could also not combine the process of tire purchase and other item purchases.
The SkillNet team proposed a solution with a Mobile first approach and integration of appointment scheduling system and Year Make Model Engine (YMME) YMME system into the Fleet Farm web site. The process of lookup, quote, and appointment process was seamlessly merged and they were able to do away with the call center since confirmation was available as part of the web site transaction. This resulted in a simpler business process too.
Results | Seamless omnichannel experience enables growth in online auto services
With the new solution, there was a dramatic reduction in bounce rates, 30% increase in the time customers spent on the website and 60% reduction in the number of people leaving the site without making appointments. The entire process of making and confirming appointments for tire selection and car washing was now a seamless experience on the Fleet Farm website. The availability of real-time inventory lookup enables Fleet Farm to dropship tires to customers, thereby reinforcing their value commitment.
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NRF (National Retail Federation) is the biggest global industry event for retail with 40k+ attendees and 800+ exhibitors. As always, NRF2020 will be held at Jacob Jarvits NYC location from Jan 12-14, 2020. According to NRF, it is the must-attend week where retail movers and shakers from around the world come to learn, share, collaborate, network and inspire. SkillNet will be in presence again this year. Come join us, at NRF booth #1334 and learn how we are transforming retail.
We will also host our annual customer appreciation event “Spark” on Jan 13th. Spark is an invitation only event where SkillNet’s past, current and future customers come together to network and exchange experiences in a fun, informal setting.
For invitation reach out to us at http://www.skillnetinc.com/contact/
Enhancing customer journeys on cloud to facilitate $1billion ecommerce operations
SkillNet partnered with J. Crew’s to enhance online customer journey and support peak season traffic to enable eCommerce growth.
About J. Crew
J. Crew Group, Inc. is an internationally recognized omnichannel retailer of women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, shoes and accessories. The Company operates 184 J. Crew retail stores, 138 Madewell stores, jcrew.com, jcrewfactory.com, madewell.com and 170 Factory stores.
Challenge | Supporting new customer journeys and increased online traffic with legacy systems
J. Crew had a very large and successful eCommerce operation (close to a billion USD). Since peak season transactions and traffic contribute heavily to the growth of online operations, the J. Crew team wanted to offer enhanced customer journeys with new shopping features and increased personalization, while ensuring that the systems could scale to support increased volumes.
J. Crew’s legacy Blue Martini systems had been in place for a while and it had all the challenges of a monolith system. Ongoing product updates to the web site were time consuming, resource intensive and inflexible. It was also difficult to support new customer buying journeys. Apart from these issues, the demands of peak time traffic meant that the J. Crew team had to relook at their ecommerce systems. The team decided to migrate to Salesforce Commerce Cloud using microservices architecture.
To ensure a smooth and seamless transition, they decided to partner with SkillNet, with whom they had a long-standing relationship since 2007 in omni channel support.
Solution | Enabling seamless ecommerce migration
The SkillNet team provided a solution that managed risk, introduced practical service led solution that allowed first migration of order management and then ecommerce.
Based on SkillNet’s experience with Blue Martini, the team was able to translate the business logic to support a seamless migration to Sales Force Commerce cloud. The first step was to decouple Blue Martini from other services and create a separate ocapi-based UI. Since ocapi drives headless experiences it ensured an enhanced online and mobile experiences for customers. Similarly, other elements of the commerce platform like the database, have also been migrated to Sales Force Commerce.
The proposed Strangler Pattern allows for new features to be available early and avoids the need for a big program with a cliff hanger at the end of the implementation. So, while the digital transformation is still ongoing, new features like cart notification (change in prices), alerts, gamification (which enables cross selling & customized promotions) have been added to enhance customer’s shopping experience.
Results | Online growth with enhanced customer journeys on the cloud
Since the web pages on JCrew.com are now server based they load faster and this has improved customer satisfaction. New features on the site like cart notification (changes in prices), alerts and gamification (which enables cross selling & customized promotions) have resulted in a 10% increase in year on year e-commerce sales. The site soon clocked $1 billion.
The platform processes 30,000 orders daily during peak season and supports multi-million dollars in orders in an hour across brands.
The new UI resulted in a massive surge in mobile sales with 15% conversion of mobile orders across brands. There were days when the smart phones contributed to 84% of the traffic
The headless commerce system also ensures that changes to the front end can be made quickly and developers save time on user interface change, resulting in increased efficiencies
The new system also ensured increased efficiencies in inventory and order management systems.
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The world’s largest retail conference and expo is here again. NRF 2019 is expected to bring together over 38,000 attendees, including over 10,000 international attendees, to discuss the latest in retail tech, strategy, leadership, economy and many more topics.
SkillNet will be co-exhibiting at the event with its strategic partner Oracle Retail. Meet us there!
Join SkillNet at NRF Protect 2017! We will be on hand discussing how retailers can minimize losses and protect profitability with Oracle Retail XBRi Loss Prevention services from SkillNet. SkillNet offers Loss Prevention Consulting, Implementation, and Training services to help you protect profitability and secure your future.
June 27-28, 2017
Gaylord National Harbor
The NRF Protect Loss Prevention Conference is, ‘the largest, most important retail and restaurant loss prevention event in North America.’ The conference is especially for those who protect retail brands, assets, people and profits bringing together LP, asset protection, internal audit, ORC investigators, risk management and retail operations professionals responsible for securing retail’s success.
Every year as a token of gratitude to our treasured clients and partners–past, present, and future, we look forward to hosting our annual customer appreciation event surrounding Retail’s Big Show. Come celebrate with us!
This is an invitation-only event. RSVP is required.
If you have not yet received your invitation, please write to email@example.com.
Join SkillNet at NRF Retail’s Big Show to hear our stories of innovation and how we deliver digital transformations. This year’s show will focus on BIG innovation, connections, and solutions.
If you’d like to set up a meeting in advance, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to get your meeting on calendar.
January 15-17, 2017
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York City, New York
Retail’s BIG Show is NRF’s flagship event held annually in New York City. The three day event offers unparalleled education, collegial networking with 33,000 of your newest friends, and an enormous EXPO Hall full of technologies and solutions. After more than a century – 106 years to be exact – Retail’s BIG Show is still the only place where you can see and experience all things Retail.
XCCommerce and SkillNet Solutions establish global alliance to deliver complete omnichannel promotion and coupon solutions across retail sectors and tiers.
Montreal, QC, Canada – January 13, 2017
XCCommerce, a leading provider of transformative promotions solutions, and SkillNet Solutions, a leading global retail systems integrator specialized in providing retailers with a connected customer experience across channels through digital transformations, today announced they have established a global strategic alliance that will deliver complete omnichannel promotion and coupon solutions across retail sectors and tiers.
XC’s state-of-the-art Promotion Solution Suite allows retailers to easily create and manage very complex and sophisticated promotions, and execute them at any point-of-purchase without human intervention. Through the combination of XC’s proven and powerful solutions, and SkillNet’s specialized, high quality, global consulting and implementation services, retailers can enable a single point of truth for all their offers and coupons across the enterprise.
“XCCommerce is revolutionizing the way retailers create and drive relevant promotions and coupons to all their channels,” said Anurag Mehta, Chief Operating Officer for SkillNet. “Together we’re committed to rapidly deploying these solutions so retailers can outperform their competition and deliver compelling offers no matter, when, where, or how their customers choose to shop.”
“We’re delighted with the newly formed alliance,” said Nabil Tabet, President, XCCommerce. “SkillNet has unrivaled global solution implementation experience in delivering consulting, engineering, cloud, and support services that enhance the customer experience. The partnership between our organizations will enable the quick rollout of the Promotion Solutions Suite.”
XCCommerce is the leader in transformative, state-of-the-art, cross channel promotion and coupon solutions. XCCommerce’s suite of products provides a powerful solution that enables the setup, management, and execution of complex promotions and coupons across all channels and all brands. This allows retailers to deliver a cohesive and consistent customer experience at all points of purchase. More than 55 Tier 1 and Tier 2 retail brands, spanning a wide range of sectors, including Specialty Apparel, DIY, Grocery and Pharmacy, rely on XCCommerce’s products.
About SkillNet Solutions
SkillNet Solutions, Inc. is a leading global consulting services and retail systems integrator specializing in providing complete end-to-end, omnichannel commerce solutions in stores, merchandising, e-commerce, supply chain, customer management, and data analytics. SkillNet offers retailers consulting, solution delivery, cloud, and support services. Having successfully implemented award-winning solutions for the retail industry’s top performers for over twenty years, SkillNet delivers digital transformations that provide retailers with a seamless and connected customer experience across all channels. Founded in 1996 in the heart of Silicon Valley, SkillNet has expanded into a global enterprise spanning three continents with offices in Cleveland, Austin, Sunnyvale, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Mumbai, Indore, and Pune.
[Press Release] Brooks Brothers Finds Flexibility and Scalability in Partner SkillNet Solutions’ Support Services for Oracle Retail
Brooks Brothers selects SkillNet Solutions to provide support and enhancements to its Oracle Retail store systems including Oracle Retail Xstore POS and Oracle Retail Customer Engagement.
Sunnyvale, California – December 7, 2016
SkillNet Solutions, a leading global retail systems integrator specialized in providing complete end-to-end omni-channel commerce solutions, today announces that Brooks Brothers, a renowned fashion retailer delivering classic American clothing for nearly 200 years, has selected them to provide ongoing software support and enhancements for their store systems including Oracle Retail Xstore POS and Oracle Retail Customer Engagement. Citing depths of experience and capability as well as flexibility and scalability of SkillNet’s Xstore service offerings as its primary deciding factors, Brooks Brothers has partnered with the retail consulting firm utilizing its professional and expert services to support their retail operations across its 250+ upscale stores and outlets in North America.
“After an intensive review of the Oracle partners in the field, we selected SkillNet’s Professional Services and Expert Services teams to support and enhance our store systems,” says Sahal Laher, EVP and CIO of Brooks Brothers. “SkillNet has been a true partner listening to our business requirements and adapting their offerings to a model that not only aligns with but also compliments our operational structure, showing great capability and flexibility of resources.”
“While visiting SkillNet’s offices in Cleveland and Mumbai, we met with members of their Expert Services Team and were impressed with their depth of knowledge on current store technologies and clearly defined approach to communication and transparency with our IT teams,” states Sahal Laher.
“We are thrilled that Brooks Brothers has selected us to support and continue development of their store systems and omni-channel roadmap,” says Anurag Mehta, Chief Operating Officer for SkillNet. “It’s an absolute privilege to be able to support one of America’s oldest and highly regarded fashion retailers, and we look forward to helping their IT team maintain its high standards of quality and excellence for the Brooks Brothers customer.”
To learn more about SkillNet’s Professional and Expert Services on Xstore, please contact us.
About SkillNet Solutions
SkillNet Solutions, Inc. is a leading global consulting services and retail systems integrator specializing in providing complete end-to-end, omni-channel commerce solutions in stores, merchandising, e-commerce, supply chain, customer management, and data analytics. SkillNet offers retailers consulting, solution delivery, cloud, and support services. Having successfully implemented award-winning solutions for the retail industry’s top performers for over twenty years, SkillNet delivers digital transformations that provide retailers with a seamless and connected customer experience across all channels.
Founded in 1996 in the heart of Silicon Valley, SkillNet has expanded into a global enterprise spanning three continents with offices in Cleveland, Austin, Sunnyvale, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Mumbai, Indore, and Pune. For more information, visit https://www.skillnetinc.com
About Brooks Brothers
Founded in 1818, Brooks Brothers was the first ready-to-wear fashion emporium in America. Since then, Brooks Brothers has been a proud institution that has shaped the American style of dress through fashion innovation, fine quality, personal service, and exceptional value in their products. Brooks Brothers is one of America’s oldest retailers, specializing in men’s suits and outerwear; the company also sells women’s and children’s apparel. Brooks Brothers operates about 250+ upscale retail stores and outlet locations in the US. Through partnerships, Brooks Brothers has 150-plus stores in about 15 countries including Chile, China, Italy, and Japan. Brooks Brothers is owned by Retail Brand Alliance (RBA) and led by CEO Claudio Del Vecchio.
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