Oracle alianças 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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Luxottica improves technology deployment by reducing testing cycles from 48 hours to less than 2 hours

SkillNet enables Luxottica to speed up technology deployment cycles through automation and the adoption of DevOps processes.

With a strong portfolio of retail brands and 9200 stores, Luxottica is well positioned to serve every segment of the North American market with a variety of differentiated products & services, including the latest designer and high-performance frames, innovative lens options, advanced eye care, everyday value and high-quality vision care health benefits.

Luxottica aims at expanding its market through stronger retail distribution while consolidating its wholesale network and further growing its presence in e-commerce, department stores and travel retail.

As a brand leader, Luxottica has been taking initiatives to build agility in its online and offline technology and operations to continuously deliver improved customer experiences. As part of this initiative, Luxottica partnered with SkillNet to increase the speed of change in technology that is currently deployed in North America stores.

Retail applications like Point of Sale are traditionally viewed as less agile than their online counterparts, for good reasons. These applications are often complicated with dozens of intricate touch points with in-store hardware and software systems. They must work flawlessly for thousands of store employees over millions of purchase transactions. Glitches in Point of Sale can disrupt customer experience and hurt brand image. Therefore, retailers extensively test these systems before deploying to stores, and are wary of introducing frequent changes.  This poses a big challenge when shopping experiences are constantly evolving under the effect of demographic shifts and technology advances. This year COVID-19 has pushed the envelope further.

Luxottica’s technology team together with SkillNet is overcoming this challenge by applying agile DevOps techniques. First step was automation of the testing process involved in Point of Sale deployment. For this, SkillNet leveraged its expertise in developing test automation for Oracle XStore POS using xUnit, an opensource toolkit. This automation has reduced the testing cycle time from 48 hours to less than 2 hours, accelerating the deployment of technology changes to drive richer in-store customer experiences.

Next, Luxottica is working with SkillNet in automating the Point of Sale deployment process, which will complete the continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline. The success of this program has encouraged Luxottica to look at other systems in their global operations that can now be automated.

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Gross margin increase for cosmetic brand

Global cosmetics retailer increases growth margins with seamless POS unification across 50+ countries

Brief

Multi-brand cosmetics retailer reduces costs, complexity and accelerates digital transformation by unifying multiple POS systems to a single upgraded solution.

About the client

The client is a global leader in prestige beauty – delighting consumers with transformative products and experiences, inspiring them to express their individual beauty. With a diverse portfolio of 25+ brands, they are the only company who focus solely on prestige makeup, skin care, fragrance and hair care. They operate over 1500 freestanding stores and 1,700+ E/M-commerce sites in 50+ countries.

Challenge | POS unification across 50+ countries

Most of the client’s 25+ global brands had become a part of the client’s portfolio through various acquisitions. This meant that most of the brands provided independent in-store experiences with different underlying CRM and POS systems. The diverse in-store systems meant high maintenance costs, complex license management and vendor agreements. Small changes to the system required complex planning to cascade through the overall landscape.

The client also found it difficult to roll-out promotions or omnichannel capabilities globally. The systems also hampered the client’s ability to introduce critical initiatives such as BOPIS (Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store) and BORIS (Buy-Online-Return-In-Store). All of this could impact the client’s charter to delight consumers with transformative experiences.

Solution | Ensuring continued seamless omnichannel experience

The solution was to migrate different brands, retail stores in various countries and disparate content to a consolidated in-store experience underpinned by a single POS solution with minimal disruption.

SkillNet started the engagement by harmonizing the global code base. The harmonization was intended to create a baseline system for all the brands and geographies while maintaining those components that had reuse value. SkillNet’s multidisciplinary agile teams and DevOps engineering helped automate and accelerate different stages of the project. The SkillNet solution also addressed the regulatory and fiscal requirements required by various countries. As a result, customizations across geographies were reduced and the delivery cycles shortened across brand silos.

During country wise implementations, a flexible design was created for extensions and services. This enabled reuse across different geographies. The global code base provided multiple layers of functionality which were applicable across regions, specific geographies, store formats and brands. The core functionality for omnichannel capability is being delivered globally. The solution also enabled BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In Store), BORIS (Buy Online Return In Store) and OOFIS (Order Online From In Store) features. These have been introduced at country and brand level with minimal disruptions.

The roll out has been completed successfully for a majority of countries across Asia, Europe and North America.

The solution includes the implementation of Oracle Xstore POS and Oracle Retail Customer Engagement.

Results | Digital Transformation supports growth margins

Since its introduction, the client has reported robust growth in sales and growth margins due to the seamless omnichannel experience.

The unified POS solution allows the store associates to spend more time with customers on sales floor and this provides them with opportunities to cross sell and upsell products. Since the solution is being driven by services and base configurations, it has also increased customer engagement time and enabled cost savings.

The single global code base solution has also helped streamline vendor licensing, software upgrades, maintenance costs and provide system support from one single location. Faster release cycles have also helped accelerate the client’s digital initiatives.

SkillNet received the “Best Drive in Innovation and Process Transformation” award for its contribution to the client’s digital transformation.

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

Luxottica doubles the speed of change deployment

Luxottica doubles the speed of change deployment

Brief 

SkillNet enables Luxottica to double the technology deployment cycle through automation and the adoption of DevOps processes. 

About the client

Luxottica is a leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of fashion, luxury, and sports eyewear. The Group’s global wholesale distribution network covers more than 150 countries across five continents and is complemented by an extensive retail network of approximately 9,200 stores mostly located in North America, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific. They also have a strong online presence.

Since 2017, SkillNet’s highly experienced business and retail consultants have supported Luxottica’s drive for higher customer responsiveness.

Challenge

As a brand leader, Luxottica values customer experience highly. Their drivers for change are “need for higher customer responsiveness” as well as higher “business agility”.  Both these require quick deployment of changes to technology.

The Luxottica team handles multiple new releases every year. With a complex landscape of products and solutions, the deployment process was laborious for even small updates and enhancements.  Technology release cycles were weighed down by a prolonged release process that was manual, prone to rework, and involving physical upgrade of store POS systems. This operational inefficiency resulted in increased costs and lower business agility.

Solution | Improving efficiencies in POS solution management with DevOps and Agile

The SkillNet team assessed the end-to-end deployment process. Drawing on the team’s deep retail systems expertise, SkillNet recommended a revised efficient approach by adapting DevOps and agile for POS solution management in a phased manner.

The first phase was the automation of the quality control process for build testing. SkillNet created automated test scripts to perform the regression of point of sale application. The automation changes which were introduced were independent of the changes being made on the POS application. This not only gave the Luxottica team more control but also ability to consider newer technology adaptations for expanded functionality.

Benefits | Improving customer responsiveness and business agility

With automation and adoption of DevOps processes, Luxottica has been able to

  • Add functionality to the POS systems to ensure quick response to customer demands without dependency on external partners. This was not only more efficient but also reduced costs
  • Two-fold increase in the speed of deployment (from 10 days per release to 5 days) by automating test scripts
  • Decrease in costs due to the reduced rework

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

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.

lululemon creates history almost 100% growth in stock price, wins Forbes “Retailer of the year” award

lululemon has grown multifold in last 15 years. This year the next feather in the cap is Forbes Winner “Retailer of the Year 2019”. We congratulate them for the success and cherish the partnership.

We are delighted when our clients succeed; a case in point is lululemon Athletica. lululemon has beaten the S&P Retail index by a huge margin. Furthermore, this thanksgiving season lululemon was featured as one of the best Thanksgiving retail winner of the year.

The other feather in the cap is Forbes naming lululemon as the retailer of the year ahead of Walmart, Target etc. Forbes writes – “lululemon stands out from the crowd for what it has accomplished in one of the most hotly competitive areas around, specialty apparel.”

With this performance, no wonder the stock price of lululemon has grown about 100% in a year. Congratulations team lululemon for outgrowing the whole Retail index of S&P by a whopping margin, record-breaking holiday shopping weekend and winning the Award “Retailer of the Year 2019” by Forbes.

The MarketWatch reports that the retailers who have strong multiplatform capabilities, which makes shopping convenient won this seasons holiday shopping. Do you have a multiplatform strategy in place?

Another research by Adobe Analytics suggests that Buy-online-pickup-in-store has grown 43.2% year-over-year in 2019. Is your technology ready to cope up with the retail evolution?

Forbes states – to paraphrase – lululemon is on its way to create a cult of lululemon lifestyle with its two newest stores in Chicago and Minneapolis with its experience stores. Do you have the technology and partners to execute such bold ideas?

Reach out to us for learning how we do retail transformation, including enabling BOPIS solution, faster deployment with DevOps and cloud enablement for our clients.

Additional resources –

lululemon Stock Is Up Over 80% viz-a-viz industry S&P by 5%

Analysts say lululemon in top 3 Thanksgiving weekend retail winners

Forbes: 2019 Retail Awards

Seamless omnichannel experience

Seamless omnichannel experience results in 2X increase in online sales for automotive unit

Brief

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.

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