Pretty much every retailer we work with is at some stage in their digital transformation. Searching for superpowers that will make them faster and smarter.
Some are just starting, looking for a phone booth on the horizon, and others have already completed Captain America levels of change.
One such company is fashion retailer Fenix Outdoor who provide equipment and clothing brands such as Fjällräven and Tierra for an active outdoor life.
It has been on a journey to deliver a consistent experience for customers online and offline.
We invited Christian Bader, CTO of Fenix Outdoor, and Pim Vijftigschild, Chief Compliance Officer at New Black to join us for a webinar to talk about the reality of retail digital transformation, including:
- What it means to them
- How to approach digital transformation
- Common challenges and how to overcome them
Here’s the story in their words.
Going from a transaction to an experience
Stepping out of the pandemic, Fenix Outdoor had a goal. To provide a unified view of inventory across all stores. Making it easier for customers and fulfilling orders from every location.
For them, digital transformation was about going from a transaction to an experience.
It was a challenging scenario for them. “Traditional ERP systems were not able to solve this,” said Christian. “We are a retailer and we have an online world and an offline world but the experience, the user journey, jumps on and off. And that was our challenge. How do we make this happen?”
Fenix Outdoor quickly realized that master data was going to be key in its transformation project.
There was no unified data view between countries, as there was no reason for this to exist in the past.
It also didn’t want to replace everything in one go, so an ‘onion’ approach was selected.
- Keeping legacy technology and removing it at the right moment
- Focusing on smaller areas that are going to deliver results
- Looking at all the different customer touchpoints
Christian explained how they decided on a two year timeline using an agile approach that would reskill the organization to deliver change.
“Fail fast. Stand up. Run again. This is a different mindset that the organization needed to learn, digest and accept. Giving a secure environment for the workforce to learn and move into the new way.”
At this point, Pim Vijftigschild from New Black, joined the discussion to talk about their experiences helping organizations with digital transformation and unifying commerce.
- The importance of choosing the right organizations to work with
- The biggest challenge is the integration of technology, not the purchase of it
- Removing silos to have a single master data view
Benefits at Fenix Outdoor
Although still in its transformation journey, Fenix Outdoor is already seeing the benefits of using smart devices and unifying their commerce. Commonly cited by others going through the transformation process, benefits normally fall into the categories of:
- Greater employee and customer satisfaction
- Improved efficiency
- Lower costs
- Increased revenue
Here Christian explains more about the good things that have materialized from their efforts.
Why transform now?
Although the pandemic has accelerated many digital transformation efforts, in reality many organizations started their journey a few years ago.
Pim said “Customers look at a brand and have no interest in the difference between one country or another, or e-commerce or retail. They just want to buy a product and have a good experience.”
What the pandemic really did was enable retailers to focus on what needs to change.
Shopper behavior is driving the requirements of what touchpoints are important and how they want to transact.
Christian added some insight into the difference between their old and new worlds.
He explained how a unified commerce platform combined with APIs can get information from several systems and serve it to the employee or the customer for an improved experience.
See below for Christian’s insight and Pim’s view on the importance of real-time data in enabling the right processes.
Discovering on the way
Fenix Outdoor didn’t initially set out to have smart devices at the center of its digital transformation efforts. “We discovered that on the journey.”
But going forward, devices powered by smart data capture will enable them to manage transactions, fulfil orders and effectively run the business using a single device.
Christian explains here.
After talking about digital transformation and various technologies, Christian gave us a really key takeaway.
“People, people, people. In the end, people make the difference. Without the buy-in from your workforce, you will never be successful.”
For those of us that work in or with technology, it is easy to forget that.
So wherever you are in your digital transformation, make sure the objective is understood by everyone and involve them in the process.
And be agile so that you can embrace new discoveries that happen on the journey.
You can watch the full webinar on demand here.