Moss Bros expects £10m boost after introducing multi-channel customer system

Suit hire firm Moss Bros expects to make an extra £10m next year after implementing a central customer system across 150 stores and online channels.

Suit hire firm Moss Bros expects to make an extra £10m next year after implementing a central customer system across its 150 stores and online channels.

The company currently has separate systems and databases for in-store and online customers, meaning customers were unable to order online then pick up their goods in-store. From November 2011, customers will be able to shop, order and collect across stores and online.

Brett Grobler, head of IT at Moss Bros Group, said the company expects to make at least £10m more next year as a result of its £1.8m two-year project to bring the two systems together to provide a unified view of stock and customers.

The company was losing money being unable to check stock availability across channels. "Customers would walk out of stores if we didn't have their size available, but often we had the stock available elsewhere," said Grobler.

He said the business case was therefore an easy one to make. "Our strategy is not based on money-making. It's based on whether we wanted to be around in the next five years or not. That makes the business case very simple."

Moss Bros rolled out a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) live network and replaced routers with unified communications provider, Daisy. The company is also using a business operations platform by business process management (BPM) and cloud platform provider, Cordys.

Part of the project included upgrading the company's in-store till system. Tills have been bespoke-built using Dell hardware and Linux and Java software.

Moss Bros will also use Dell servers to manage cross-channel transactions. The company has yet to decide whether to host those on-premise or through Rackspace.

"We need to work out what the latency is going to be when connecting to our systems through all the Cordys layers. If it's slower, we may host servers with Rackspace," said Grobler.

The project will allow the company to create a new customer relationship management (CRM) system as a by-product of bringing the two systems together.

"At the moment, the customer databases are isolated. It probably doesn't count as a CRM system," he said.

Moss Bros also plans to roll out a mobile website for all mobile platforms. Over the past eight months, the company has witnessed 3-4% of website traffic via Apple iPads.

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