Innovative Retail Technologies

MAY-JUN 2017

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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Here's how an improved e-commerce strategy fueled the legendary train maker's growth in just four months. L ionel, the model train maker, is one of the most iconic brands of all time. Much has changed since the No. 5 electric locomotive appeared in 1903. For instance, in the 1960s, Lionel had lost its founder, Joshua Lionel Cowen, the U.S. was undergoing social upheaval, and the idealized image of Lionel railroading no longer fit in. Cut to today, and Lionel is stronger and more popular than ever among serious model railroaders, due in part to an increased digital presence and success with branded and licensed part- ners, such as NASCAR. In order to maintain steady growth and deliver the best possible customer experience, Rick Gemereth, Lionel's CIO, explains how a strategic focus on e-commerce has helped the company surpass its goals. Gemereth shares that for years, two different brands had been running on mul- tiple, separate Magento-powered e-com- merce websites — the first, Lionel Trains, the 117-year-old model train business, and the second, Lionel Racing, the exclusive provider of die-cast collectible NASCAR race cars. As such, the company endured chal- lenges conducting business with consum- Inside Lionel's Omni-Channel Growth ers and retail partners, including Kohl's, Target, Toys "R" Us, and Sears. "The e-com- merce sites were not fully integrated with our back-office systems, which forced us to perform time-consuming batch processing and dual system updates just to introduce a simple price change," he says. "Both websites were loosely connected to Lionel's order and inventory management systems. This led to time-consuming, batch-synchro- nized processing and forced us to update two systems every time we introduced a price change or new products. In turn, we often had inaccurate inventory data that impacted the customer experience." Unified Omni-Channel Commerce Improves CX Legacy ERP systems at the Lionel parent company forced business users to rely on IT for basic business information. Delays and poor visibility into sales, customer, inven- tory, and supplier data undermined busi- ness efficiency and growth potential. Lionel incurred unnecessary costs in outsourcing its distribution and fulfillment functions to a third-party logistics provider. To move the business forward, Lionel implemented BY ERIN HARRIS May-June 2017 10 Proven Innovations

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