Innovative Retail Technologies

SEP-OCT 2016

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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The company went live with Aptos POS in all stores in Q3 of 2014 and enabled enterprise selling early the following year. Those two moves laid the groundwork for a revolution in the way merchandise is fulfilled at Performance Bicycle. Just a year later, it's fulfilling catalog and e-commerce orders from 87 of its stores. Starkey says that's dramatically improved inventory velocity. "Exposing our store inventory to online customers and empowering our associates to fulfill those orders have resulted in record rates of fulfillment. When our site suffers what I call 'broken' product, such as an out-of-stock on a certain size jersey, our store inventory fills those gaps and presents a better in-stock position to our customers. That functionality also allows us to clear end-of-season products in stores at a much faster and more profitable rate," he says. A single wheel set sitting in one store, for example, might have been destined for a deep season-end discount. If it's available to sell in any channel, the odds of a full-price sale increase exponentially. The Aptos platform also enables direct integration with the retailer's "Team Performance" loyalty and CRM program, which offers members a free upgrade to second- day shipments and 10 percent back on every purchase. "The fact that we can expose more shoppers to our products and services in every channel has really improved the customer's experience," says Starkey. That's not just an anecdotal assumption, it's something Performance Bicycle has measured through climbing Net Promoter scores and significantly improved sales and efficiency figures. Since enabling enterprise selling, the company has realized daily comp store sales improvements between 3 percent and more than 10 percent, while simultaneously achieving a 96.5 percent reduction in call center volume. Managing Revolutionary Store Operations Change From a systems perspective, Performance Bicycle effectively became a brand new company in little more than a dozen months. With a new enterprise-enabling POS, it has quickly migrated from disparate multi-channel operations to the adoption of an omni-channel culture that's seeing stores fulfilling web and catalog orders and allowing consistent consumer access to the full breadth and depth of its inventory via the channel(s) of their choosing. That's empowering to customers, and it's driving big gains for the merchant, but Sept-Oct 2016 8 Mike Starkey, senior VP of information systems at Performance Bicycle, admits that multi-channel retailers are plagued by a cross-channel customer identification problem. Put simply, while it's easy — especially for local, independent, small and mid- size merchants — to recognize a loyal brick-and- mortar customer when she walks in the door, it's very difficult to do the same when that customer's loyalty has been expressed primarily online. While that's a challenge that Performance Bicycle is in the process of ironing out, he says a prerequisite to enabling omni-channel CRM is enabling omni- channel commerce. His colleague, VP of Store Operations Tom Cross, agrees — especially as it pertains to bicycle retailing. "Five years ago, if you told me that we would be selling high-end bikes online to customers who have never seen those bikes in a store, I would have said that's impossible," he contends. "Now, I'm an apostle of omni-channel." To consummate those sales, the company is taking advantage of its growing e-commerce presence to drive engagement and interaction with customers both online and in stores. "In some ways, we have to treat that online customer — who has never experienced our store environment or associates and who may never have ridden the bike they're interested in — more carefully than we treat our in- store loyalists," he says. "We go to great lengths to pair them with the right bike and to fit them to the bike, and the depth and breadth of inventory we can leverage through enterprise selling allows us to do that." The enterprise selling initiative at Performance Bicycle is a product of its recent upgrade to Aptos, which Cross says began as a "save the sale" initiative. "Enterprise selling became our ability to ensure we sold customers what they wanted in any channel, whether through a store, a warehouse, or a third- party vendor. It's evolved from capturing the sale into a customer experience enabler that allows customers to find the products that are right for them regardless of the channel in which they choose to shop. That's more important than save the sale." Store-level fulfillment of online orders is also central to the omni-channel initiative at Performance Bicycle. Through integration between the retailer's Aptos POS system and Manhattan Associates' distributed order management solution, store associates are notified when e-commerce orders are ready to ship, or when pick-up-in-store orders will be available to its customers. As a result of its recent retail systems overhaul, Performance Bicycle was recently presented with the Aptos Save the Sale! Award for leveraging technology to improve customer service, resulting in "saved sales" amounting to more than 3 percent comparable same-store sales per day. IDENTIFYING, ENGAGING CONSUMERS ACROSS CHANNELS

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