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Endless aisle solution helps Crocs cope with small retail space

Caroline Baldwin

Footwear retailer Crocs has implemented an endless aisle solution in its 200-plus stores in the US, which helps overcome small store space.

Harvey Bierman, vice-president of global eCommerce at Crocs, said the solution now represents a “meaningful percentage” of its eCommerce business, which is growing annually and faster than eCommerce overall.

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Omni-channel strategies often comprise kiosks or tablets in store that allow sales assistants to check stock levels in nearby stores.

“Our stores are relatively small and contain a small percentage of our overall line,” Bierman said. 

“With 350 styles in an average of seven colours, in 1000sq foot store - you’re not going to see 300-odd styles and multiple that by all the sizes. You’re going to see our core line, our core products and core colours, with a sample of new styles which are tied to key campaigns.”

Speaking at the Demandware Xchange 2014 conference in Miami this week, Bierman said the “holy grail of omnichannel” is to update the capabilities of legacy ERP systems and architecture, as well as improving connectivity in stores.

He said that in order to leverage kiosks in store, connectivity can create a challenge for checking real-time inventory levels: “It’s on our road map is to unlock the potential of our stores.”

Omni-channel is about the customers’ journey, rather than buying online and collect in store,” he said. “It affects our thought process, and reflects on customer record, the customer data and that customer experience, and recognising and rewarding that customer no matter what channel they come in.”

Bierman said Crocs is in the early stages of deploying a global CRM programme, which will allow the retailer to collect customer data across primary consumer channels.

While Crocs has collected data for some time using the Demandware Active Merchandising platform, it hasn’t yet been able to tie it to rich customer profiles on a global basis.

“It’s no effort on our front to collect the data,” he said. “It’s just up to us to put the business rules into it,” Bierman said.

So far, Crocs has been able to leverage transactional data from the platform to drive product assorting and product recommendations. He said the data had proven time and time again that using customer information to drive product placement on the website nearly always leads to higher level of customer satisfaction and revenue growth.

“But a CRM programme is now going to give us the level of the big data view of our customers,” Bierman said. “We know the customer that shops in multiple channels has a much greater value and provides us an opportunity for growth as we bring new lines to market and expand the brand.”

In the next two to three months Crocs will be able to access marketable data from the programme. It will allow the retailer to identify those customers who have a propensity to buy more easily and more readily, as well as identifying loyal customers.

“All the piping’s are in place, but the last piece of the puzzle, is connecting the rich customer profile we collect online with the transactional history as well as doing something with it by creating a loyalty programme and giving customers benefits and reason to give us rich data and the rights to market back to them with that.”


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