Fashion brand Desigual, which runs 500 stores in 100 countries, is reporting higher sales after investing in technology to share data about its stock levels and customers with its online outlets, shops, concessions and franchises.
Desigual has reduced “lost sales” by 2% in Spain, Germany, France and Italy by creating an app to help in-store sales assistants source out-of-stock garments from other outlets. It expects similar improvements in sales as it deploys data technology in Asia in 2018.
The work is part of a project by the €760m turnover company, known for its distinctive, colourful clothing designs, to link together a wide range of sales channels into what it calls an integrated omni-channel that will allow it to analyse information on sales, prices and stock from multiple outlets.
Desigual has redesigned its technology infrastructure to integrate data from 13 different sales channels quickly, without the need to build custom interfaces to link its own IT systems and those of its business partners.
“We are working to provide one experience for customers. It does not matter if she or he buys from a department store, or dot.com, or retail store. We have all the same information from them and we have direct contact,” Eduard Ponce Martínez, process architecture coordinator at Desigual, told Computer Weekly.
Desigual’s five-strong in-house technology team went on to develop a tool for its sales assistants that allows them to show customers the full range of items available from stores and the website.
The Ask Me application, which is currently in the process of being rolled out across stores, can also recommend other products the customer might like based on their previous buying history.
“If we don’t have a garment in the store, we can order it for you and sent it to you, or you can pick it up later,” said process architect Héctor Colomer Martín.
APIs support data sharing
The company used Tibco’s BusinessWorks 5 software to build application programming interfaces (APIs) which feed real-time data about stock levels, prices and purchases by each customer to a central database.
“It is an ongoing challenge. Not all sales channels are in the same place or implemented with the same features. [We hope] maybe in two or three years they will be,” said Martín.
Desigual plans to extend the project to allow online marketplaces in Asia, which also sell the company’s fashion products, to feed back data on sales and customer behaviour to the retailer.
The marketplaces will be able to tap into Desigual’s APIs to set up data-sharing links within a day – a process that could previously take weeks or months.
Desigual is using Tibco’s Mashery software to publish and manage its catalogue of APIs.
“We can say if you want to start this service, you can configure it as a new customer and it can work tomorrow. Before, it took a long time to set up API connections with five different systems,” said Martínez.
In some cases, the IT team could spend weeks building an interface between Desigual’s IT systems and an online marketplace, only for the business to cancel the project. Now, the technology allows it to develop one API and re-use it multiple times.
“It is no longer seen as a barrier for business projects. We are an enabler. They tell us what we need, and we can say, ‘When do you want it?’. That is a great accomplishment for us,” said Martín.
Desigual assessed a range of technologies before selecting software from Tibco, which offered the company a consultant to work on the project for the first month and assisted with the design work.
“They committed a lot to us,” said Martín. “They came to our offices, said, ‘What do you need? Explain your business and we will guide you and help you as much as we can’.”