plataforma de servicio y conectores Archives - SkillNet Solutions

400+ lululemon stores across US, Canada & Europe get ready for safe COVID-19 operations with POS upgrade

SkillNet helps lululemon stores upgrade to drive safe in-store customer experience.

After closing in March, lululemon US, Canada & Europe stores began re-opening in early June. This meant an increased focus on safe shopping for guests (customers).  As the first of US stores went live with Oracle Xstore POS upgrade in June, it allowed lululemon to initiate several measures to enable safe shopping.

As part of its “Make it together” program, SkillNet partnered with lululemon to identify one of the important initiatives to make shopping in the stores a safer experience. SkillNet used its POS expertise to reduce customer touch points during checkout process. For example, instead of having customers select their preferences for opting in or out of the retailer’s email campaigns, the educators (cashiers) can now directly do it on their behalf. This change makes checkouts both safe and quick, and enables smoother interaction between customer and cashier.

As a result of the POS upgrade, guests who shop online can now ship gifts to home, and also drop off their returns at the door instead of entering the stores. The upgrade also improved reporting capability for better decision making.

While the upgrade began before the pandemic, SkillNet team collaborated extensively and worked  remotely to overcome shutdown challenges, including moving some of the testing hardware to their homes and supporting longer acceptance test cycles.

Another key challenge of the upgrade was the large amount of data that needed to be migrated. In order to expedite the process of migration, SkillNet used its StoreHubTM platform to load data. With StoreHubTM, the team was able to use the available service connectors to the POS system without creating new integrations and this resulted in shortened timelines. SkillNet also introduced DevOps for the automation of build, tests and releases.

The upgrades not only enable lululemon to ensure safe shopping during Covid-19 but also be more prepared to ensure richer store experience in the new normal.

The “Make it together” program is a SkillNet initiative to support its retail partners during the COVID 19 pandemic. As part of the program, SkillNet provides free modifications to retailer’s POS, ecommerce and other applications, that enable safe and convenient shopping for their customers.

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POS reengineering for leading apparel retailer

A leading apparel retailer grows new personalized services line 5X in three years through speed, service & selection supported by POS reengineering

Brief 

A leading apparel retailer, successfully grew their new Custom Clothing line 5.5X in three years, with SkillNet’s reengineering of their legacy POS systems for higher speed, selection and service.  Now client’s Expert Style and Wardrobe consultants use an instore app on a handheld device to design and order custom tailored clothes.  

About the client 

The client is a leading specialty retailer, who deliver personalized products and services through an expansive omnichannel network that includes over 1,400 locations in the U.S. and Canada as well as branded e-commerce websites.

Challenge | Major technology transformation required to compete on speed, selection and service  

The client offers ready-to-wear clothing across their multiple specialty stores brands. In 2016, client saw an opportunity in offering Custom Clothing at the stores.

Expert wardrobe consultants and master tailors used an in-store app not only to order custom apparel but also advise on customizations available in styles, colors, fabric choices and for an optimal fit.   

However, the interaction offered a very narrow range of options for custom details like working buttonholes, pick stitching, lining, thread color and more.  In order to enhance customer experience and compete better in Custom Clothing, client needed to focus on three things: speed, selection and service.  

This was now a technology challenge for the legacy POS system. Clients heavily customized POS, still using flat files, required a three-month cycle to add every single custom option. As a further challenge, each of the nine sub-brands had their own customized legacy technology.  

Over the years, as no commercially available system could match the unique requirements, the legacy POS had been built with heavy customizations to match the business needs of client’s nine brands. This introduced technical debt and a limited ability to introduce new features without high risk of operational impact in multiple areas. 

The client realized the need to re-engineer their existing monolithic solution to enable further changes to their systems. In order to do this redesign from within they needed a partner with deep experience and capability on POS solutions that could work both with the latest technologies and the deployed legacy. They engaged SkillNet. 

Solution | Technology transformation using microservices, implemented incrementally 

SkillNet proposed a microservices approach for the legacy POS replacement. Their POS and stores expertise allowed them to identify the microservices to be extracted and used across multiple channels, providing omnichannel capability from the ground up. The creation of these services also meant the removal and simplification of existing POS customizations.

The first step was to re-architecture their data model. SkillNet created catalog, store, inventory schemas and built the micro-services on top of these schemas.  

The Store Service updates the data pertaining to a store and also manages the events and product labels available for the store within the company. Catalog service focuses on information pertaining to products, fabrics, models etc. It also holds the key information of a factory, company and labels available. When customers browse online, this application provides the information which is displayed.  The Inventory service provides information on any given fabric, based on the factory where its available.

In order to make the changes in the monolith system, the team not only needed a different architecture and tools but also introduced a different way of working, The DevOps enablement and agile approach represents complete transformation from previous practices for software development and project execution.   

While the transformation is ongoing, the initial phase has allowed introduction of new features in stores. To introduce these changes, SkillNet proposed a “Strangler Pattern” for incremental transformation of the overall solution. This 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. 

Benefits | Increased Selection and Service Leads to 5.5X growth in three years 

The addition of new options (like a buttonhole or a thread, for example) would take three months before the transformation. After the reengineering, the client is able to add new options within days, which means that customers now have a higher selection and service available to them quickly. 

At one of the brands, the reserve custom line offers over 150 fabric choices from the most prestigious Italian mills and can be ordered in various silhouettes and styles. Customers can select from a variety of authentic custom details like working buttonholes, pick stitching, lining, thread color and more. Another of the brands custom line offers over 120 fabric choices. Customers can personalize their suits, sport coats, dress trousers, vests, tuxedos, and dinner jackets with various fits ranging from slim, tailored, and traditional.

The Custom Clothing business has grown to $276 M across brands in 2019, from $50 M three years before, a 5.5X growth. 

Given that the state of the art, leading-edge Retail systems are modular and support upgrades across business processes, the client’s team can easily maintain and deploy them independently. They can also adapt to leading-edge technologies easily.

SkillNet’s approach has resulted in the creation of a platform that can support continuous evolution. With a solution that can be tailored and modified quickly, the client can now offer a seamless customer experience.

During Covid-19, client’s team has used the microservices architecture to seamlessly enable online ordering for curbside pick-up.

All product names and trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Reimagining payments for Modern Commerce

The increase in the number of channels and payment types made the right design of integrated payment solutions a critical feature in the successful delivery of omnichannel.

The COVID crisis and the need for social distancing are making this feature not only critical but also essential, as customers avoid touch and proximity in their shopping experiences.

Watch our webinar “Reimagining payments for Modern Commerce” where we take a look at the projects and initiatives that retailers are prioritizing for the New Normal and cover one of the areas of more focus for retailers which is payment processing for Modern Commerce.

WE DISCUSSED:

  • Common challenges for the successful delivery of omnichannel payment integration pre-COVID
  • New business drivers for reimagining payments in the era of COVID
  • Current payment initiatives from our customers to address the lockdown and new normal
  • SkillNet’s StoreHub UTP approach for unified transaction processing

Antonio Alvaro | LinkedIn (Profile Link)

SVP Digital & Cloud Solutions & General Manager International at SkillNet Solutions Inc.

Gaurav Rastogi | LinkedIn (Profile Link)

CEO Doloop Digital

Making “click and collect” possible at more than 3000+ stores worldwide

Sally Beauty’s retail makeover allows shoppers to “click and collect” at more than 3000+ stores worldwide

Brief

Sally Beauty partnership with SkillNet makes the mammoth task of integrating 3000+ stores to legacy systems a breeze. As part of the solution, SkillNet used its StoreHub platform to integrate more than 20 inbound and outbound interfaces seamlessly from Xstore solutions, Oracle Retail Customer Engagement (CE) and legacy enterprise systems. The system handles millions of daily transactions associated with customer records.

About the client

Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. is an international specialty retailer distributor of professional beauty supplies. Through the Sally Beauty Supply and Systems Beauty Group businesses, the Company sells and distributes through 3,000+ stores, including 158 franchised units, and has operations throughout the United States and 13 countries. It offers professional beauty products to both retail consumers and salon professionals. It operates two formats of stores; one for saloon professionals and other for retail shoppers. These formats have different product catalogs, pricing, and customer base.

Challenge | Complex integration issues delaying Oracle xStore Upgrade

In 2018, Sally and Beauty Systems Group wanted to enhance customers’ shopping experience through the convenience of “click and collect at store” and “click and delivery.” Sally Beauty team decided to upgrade their POS systems to xStore. They wanted to ensure data integrity across brands in order to get a single version of truth with reporting at enterprise level. This was a challenge given the global scale, large number brands and stores the company operates.

Sally Beauty had a diverse IT solutions ecosystem for managing business operations and it ranged from legacy solutions to on-prem and SaaS apps among others. This meant that new store solution implementation would involve complex integration. Due to several unsuccessful attempts to address the complicated integration issues, the upgrade project had been stalled for three years.

Solution | StoreHub, SkillNet’s platform framework for integration

Sally Beauty partnered with SkillNet to take advantage of their deep expertise in retail systems and Oracle xStore to address the integration challenges.

An audit identified missing documentation for the legacy systems as one of the issues contributing to the complexity of the integration. SkillNet’s expertise in retail data management not only helped resolve documentation gaps and application scalability issues, but also reverse engineer complex issues.

SkillNet used its proprietary StoreHub accelerator, to surmount the complex integration challenges and speed the data integration process. The solution team integrated more than 20 inbound and outbound interfaces seamlessly from Xstore store solutions, Oracle Retail Customer Engagement (CE), and legacy enterprise systems. The transaction and data records run into hundreds of  millions. StoreHub worked seamlessly with the legacy systems.

Currently, several million customer records are updated daily from the SaaS application and Oracle EBS to CE and Xcenter. Throughout the day, StoreHub processes store inventory and pricing data periodically and offers alerts in case of exception. These alerts help take preventive and corrective action.

Finally, SkillNet created a single version of truth data and enterprise level reporting at the head office with data from 3000+ stores.

Results | Enhancing customers’ shopping experience through the convenience of “click and collect at store” and “click and same day delivery”

Sally Beauty went from taking no new stores online for 3 years to 3000+ stores live in less than 2 years. The new commerce systems and the ability to process vast amount of transactions means that the Sally Beauty team can generate customer, inventory and other business insights seamlessly for making mission critical decisions without any delay. 

Given the changes in buyer behavior in the past few months, the ability to process increasing amount of transactions has enabled Sally Beauty to offers customers the convenience of “click and collect at store” and “click and get same day delivery”, 6 months earlier than schedule. This has resulted in a 40% increase in online orders with same day delivery feature.

All product names and trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Holland & Barrett accelerates Retail decisions with real-time data

Holland & Barrett accelerates Retail decisions with real-time data

Brief

Holland & Barrett International (HBI) accelerates the pace of retail business decision-making by implementing a data mart to enable stores to respond in real-time to customer needs.

About the client 

HBI is Europe’s largest health and well-being retailer of branded and own-label products across a wide range of vitamins, supplements, specialist food, sports nutrition, and ethical beauty. Founded in 1870, they focus on making people healthier and happier, operating more than 1300 stores worldwide as well as an expanding e-commerce business.

A partner since 2012, SkillNet’s highly experienced retail consultants have designed and implemented POS solutions (2500+ Registers) to ensure seamless customer experience across various brands (6,000 Products) and multiple channels.

Challenge | Continuous product innovation requires real-time data

HBI constantly innovates to meet customers’ needs, whether it is ethical sourcing or digital transformation to provide a world-class shopping experience. Continuous product innovation requires the client to better harness their data in real-time to make decisions such as refilling store inventory to avoid stock outs, product manufacturing batch-sizes, offering new discounts, promotions, and customer rewards.

HBI ‘s business decision making was based on spreadsheets using data collected in silos from diverse systems and sources such as stores, audited sales, online sales, and SKU/stocks data. This meant the process was slow (up to 48 hours to collect data), prone to mistakes (no single version of the truth), and not able to support business information requirements. This lack of real-time visibility was impeding the pace of innovation and customer responsiveness.

Solution | Improving business efficiency and customer experience through a data mart

SkillNet’s team of business domain and tech consultants identified the key business areas and decision insights required by HBI’s business finance teams.

Then, SkillNet created a data mart as the single source of truth by integrating data from multiple source technologies such as stores, audited sales, online sales and inventory. Using Oracle’s Business Intelligence platform, SkillNet automated data collation and report generation.

Hundreds of manual spreadsheets were replaced by automated reports that were run hourly, daily and weekly. Business users now have the ability to create near real-time visually impactful reports with self-service tools.

The solution enabled the HBI team to gain visibility and proactive actionable insights across store systems and various lines of business.

Benefits | Making Better Decisions with real-time data 

  • Availability of near-real-time (as compared to 2 or more days earlier) integrated data with automated reports
  • This has considerably reduced business decision cycles
  • Proactive decision making due to the business teams’ ability to generate user-friendly reports with near real-time data
  • Near real-time hierarchical store dashboards (Region, area, Store) and KPI reports on sales, ACT, conversion, engagement and loyalty participation
  • Dashboards with deeper data insights have helped the HBI’s business & store teams uncover newer insights
  • More informed decisions regarding inventory, discounts, shrinkage, product scan data and channel resulting in better responses to customer requirements
  • Teams are being able to view sales data in near real-time and be more effective in their stock allocation and replenishment
  • Reduction in thefts and shrinkage
  • Regional Managers were spending ~15hrs per week on analyzing and customizing reports. They now spend time with Area Managers and Store Managers to drive store performance

SkillNet’s team of the business domain and technical consultants continue to partner with the client on on-going digital initiatives to enable innovation to meet customer’s needs and well-being.

All product names and trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Reimagining payments for Modern Commerce

The Covid-19 crisis and the need for social distancing have made retailers rethink the right design of integrated payment solutions along with an increase in the number of channels and payment types. This feature not only critical but has also become essential, as customers avoid touch and proximity in their shopping experiences.

Watch SkillNet’s webinar “Reimagining payments for Modern Commerce” where we take a look at the projects and initiatives that retailers prioritized for the New Normal of Modern Commerce

WE DISCUSSED:

  • Common challenges for the successful delivery of omnichannel payment integration pre-COVID
  • New business drivers for reimagining payments in the era of COVID
  • Current payment initiatives from our customers to address the lockdown and new normal
  • SkillNet’s StoreHub UTP approach for unified transaction processing

Speakers

Antonio Alvaro

SVP Solutions & GM EMEA/LATAM, SkillNet Solutions Inc

Gaurav Rastogi

CEO – Doloop Digital

Watch the full webinar: Here

In-store & mobile digital experiences

In-store & mobile digital experiences support 20% growth trajectory

Brief

SkillNet supports lululemon’s ambitious plans for growth through digital acceleration by enabling localization of store systems in 21 countries across Asia, Europe and North Americas.

About lululemon athletica

Founded in Vancouver, Canada in 1998, lululemon athletica makes technical athletic apparel for men and women for yoga, running, training and most other sweaty pursuits.The company has expanded internationally in both storefronts and via their online platform and has grown to close to 500 brick and mortar locations spanning across North America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Asia.

Building upon a year of considerable growth in 2017, lululemon planned to continue its growth with ongoing focus on product innovation, global growth, digital acceleration and investing in people. 

Challenge | Ensure rich digital experiences in store with mobile and self-service across geographies

 lululemon was bullish about achieving consistent double-digit growth through international expansion across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. The expansion in these regions was planned via a decentralized model, allowing for local community insight and consumer preference through rich digital experiences in-store with mobile and self-service.

In order to ensure rich digital experiences, lululemon had upgraded to Oracle Xstore and was looking to integrate digital solutions for store staff mobility and self-service. Disparate systems also had to be integrated simultaneously to a tight deadline. For each country implementation, data migration, quality analysis and deployment delays had to be addressed in a timely manner.

The fast-paced growth trajectory called for a dependable solutions partner with strong strategic planning and execution expertise.  The partner also had to have experience and knowledge of compliances and complexities of different geographies and could rapidly create solutions.

lululemon selected SkillNet to partner with them on the digital journey to ensure scale and localization in the geographies they operate.

Solution | Enabling seamless digital experience with localization of retail systems

lululemon partnered with SkillNet to deliver rich digital experiences in 20+ countries. This encompassed country and region – specific localization for websites, targeted social media programs, product notification emails and mobile apps.

One of the key challenges of the upgrade was the large amount of data that needed to be migrated. In order to expedite the process of migration, SkillNet used its StoreHub platform to load data to the new solution. With StoreHub, the team was able to use the available service connectors to Oracle Xstore without creating new integrations. SkillNet also introduced DevOps for the automation of build, tests and releases.

Results | Contributing to the 20% growth through digital experiences in stores with mobile and self-service

The partnership has seen as many as 21 successful store solutions roll outs across geographies. It is live in close to 400 stores and there are plans for adding more stores in the coming months.

The new features and functionality allow lululemon to increase demand across geographies through customized marketing outreach and also support the shopping behavior of guests. The mobile apps on in-store devices allows orders to be fulfilled via distribution centers and online order fulfillment through stores.

All product names and trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Meet SkillNet at NRF 2020 booth #1334

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.

Visit_SkillNet_NRF_Booth_1334

For invitation reach out to us at http://www.skillnetinc.com/contact/

Nicaragua’s biggest home improvement retailer, SINSA, improves it customer satisfaction and inventory flows with future ready technology

Customer satisfaction is the hallmark of a business success. SINSA is achieving this from the first day of go-live of Oracle Retail Solutions. SkillNet is proud to be the leader for this digital transformation of SINSA’s business operations.

Founded in 1990, SINSA is the largest home improvement retailer in Nicaragua. The product range of SINSA includes hardware, tiles, and electric components etc. It has four business units; and retail business accounts for nearly three forth of its overall revenues.

SINSA currently operates 24 stores and a unique Truck retail store concept with close to 65,000 different SKUs for customers to choose from. Its mission is to offer an integral solution to all customers in construction, renovation and decoration projects.

Recently, SkillNet completed implementation of a number of Oracle Retail solutions to fulfill the mission of SINSA. The solutions included end-to-end retail application systems right from Merchandising to Point of sale (POS) such as Merchandising Operations Management, Store Inventory Management, Xstore Point-of-Service, Customer Engagement (CRM) and Order Broker. This has been a unique implementation with complex retail business processes, compliance requirements and business model. The new store applications are seamlessly integrated with SINSA’s enterprise systems.

“What should a true digital transformation look like? Either it should reduce the operational challenges or it should improve customer satisfaction. SkillNet has been instrumental in achieving both the goals in a single implementation for SINSA.”

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Enhancing customer journeys on cloud

Enhancing customer journeys on cloud to facilitate $1billion ecommerce operations

Brief

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.

All product names and trademarks are property of their respective owners.