Case Study

Canadian retailer builds resilience and longevity through innovation and data.

About the Client. A major player in the Canadian fashion retail market with a chain of over 15 brick-and-mortar stores and a solid online presence. They are on a mission to offer more than just shopping by featuring exciting new pieces from up-and-coming Canadian designers as well as popular national and international brands. Their aim is to create a shopping experience that supports the Canadian economy and puts the spotlight on new talent.

Challenge


Canadian retail, an industry in turmoil.

In 2020, when COVID-19 forced brick-and-mortar stores to shut down in-person shopping, a significant shift occurred: customers increasingly turned to online shopping. This, coupled with the pandemic’s disruption of supply chains leading to product shortages, posed a serious challenge for many businesses. The pandemic rewrote the playbook for Canadian retailers, and to survive and thrive in today’s market, retailers need to embrace an entirely different data-centric market strategy.

When COVID-19 struck, our client was confronted with the greatest challenge in its history. Fresh from investing in a fully automated distribution center and opening new stores, they saw a sharp decline in revenue and supply chain disruptions. However, their forward-thinking investments in innovation, data and analytics, and eCommerce technology, coupled with strong brand recognition and customer loyalty, enabled them to not just survive but succeed despite pandemic challenges.

Real numbers, real results.
 

25%

Quicker diagnosis: Achieved
through insightful BI reporting.
 

10%

Lower costs in year one:
Resulting from the implementation
of new projects.
 

 

Solution


Unlock growth through robotics, sustainable initiatives, omnichannel strategies, and a holistic customer experience.

A firm believer that technology modernization and fact-based decision-making are essential to their longevity and ability to bounce back from adversity, the chief merchant officer, with a 25-year legacy as the former president and CEO, channeled his passion for innovative and unique merchandise directly into enhancing customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Recognizing the need for guidance on their journey, they turned to us, reinforcing our long-standing partnership. Our collaboration has been central to their success and growth, a relationship built on mutual respect and trust, and our track record of providing high-value data and analytics solutions.

As a trusted partner in their progress, we’ve introduced multiple analytical solutions, harnessing the capabilities of IBM reporting and analytics along with Microsoft SQL Server for data warehousing. These initiatives have been crucial to the company’s ability to adapt during economic shifts, ensuring continued profitability. Below are some initiatives we have implemented that support the company’s ability to face future economic challenges.


Shipping Database: Focus Intently on the Bottom Line

Operating on an omnichannel eCommerce platform for several years has brought its fair share of challenges, particularly in logistics. The costs of moving merchandise between stores, from stores to consumers, and directly from fulfillment centers to consumers are a major expense.

The primary goals of this project are twofold: to understand how these shipping costs are generated and to identify strategies for enhancing shipping efficiency and reducing overall costs.

To achieve this, the Shipping Database initiative was implemented. This multi-phase project collects data from various carrier data sources and merges it with the website to generate reports for better decision-making. This setup allows them to see a breakdown of costs by type, such as fuel and packaging, and compare the performance of carriers by postal code.

Utilizing this information, decisions can be made regarding the most suitable carriers for specific regions and the most cost-effective methods for packaging orders. Additionally, the system cross-verifies actual shipments against carrier invoices, pinpointing any billing discrepancies. This thorough approach is instrumental in optimizing shipping strategies and controlling costs.


Project Drop Ship: Diversify Offerings Through Platform Ecosystem

Project Drop Ship aims to enrich offerings through a platform ecosystem. They launched an online marketplace that supports hundreds of artisan entrepreneurs throughout Canada to showcase and sell their products.

“The driving force behind this marketplace is to create a mutually beneficial ecosystem that not only celebrates Canadian creativity and values but also contributes to the nation’s economic success rooted in cooperation and community.”

This platform provides Canadian artisans with an opportunity to leverage our client’s leadership in the Canadian eCommerce sector, aiding them in developing thriving businesses. In support of this, our client has developed a Drop Shipper portal that facilitates direct-to-customer shipping for these businesses.

KPI Digital has played a crucial role by automating the extraction of web order data from these artisanal partners and integrating it into the data warehouse for comprehensive analysis.

This system gives buyers enhanced insight into delivery delays, sales growth, and inventory levels specific to each drop shipper. Armed with this data, they can effectively improve drop shipper performance, optimize the customer’s buying experience, and positively influence the perception of their brand.


BI Web: Discovering Customers’ Changing Needs

This project was designed to merge web sales data with the pre-existing data warehouse, significantly upgrading their reporting process. This was key to giving analysts a clearer, more detailed view into several crucial areas. It improves their understanding of customer trends across multiple channels, sheds light on the supply chain’s operational effectiveness, and tracks the performance of the newly introduced sustainable fashion line. This not only reveals shifts in consumer behavior but helps in evaluating the efficiency of website operations and gauging the market response to new product launches, enabling them to adapt and respond proactively.


Omnichannel Behavior

Improved reporting provides web and in-store analysts with deeper insights into the interplay between online and in-store customer interactions. They can answer the question, “How many customers buy online, return in-store, and follow up with additional in-store purchases?” Or conversely, “How many customers shop in-store and follow up with online product purchases?” These insights are crucial in developing strategies to optimize customer experience across all channels, leading to more integrated and customer-centric retail operations.


Supply Chain and Website Efficiency

Using their newly acquired online data, they can evaluate supply chain efficiency and identify shipping delays based on different shipping methods, pinpointing potential areas for enhancement. This becomes particularly crucial during high-volume shopping events like Black Friday.

The efficiency of their website is measured by comparing the rates of online purchase returns with those in-store. A significantly higher rate of online returns could point to issues with how products are presented on the website, suggesting a need for adjustments or improvements in their visual merchandising.


Sustainable Fashion

A new line of sustainably produced fashion items was introduced, reflecting a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. With the integration of new data, analysts can now easily compare the performance of these eco-friendly products against traditionally produced items. This allows for effective monitoring of consumer response, the popularity of the sustainable line, and the overall success of the program.

 

Results


Embracing Change for a Sustainable Future

In response to today’s unpredictable market, the company has undergone a dynamic transformation, focusing on internal improvements, sustainability, and an enhanced customer experience. Strategic innovations have led to more insightful reporting and streamlined logistics, enabling rapid responses to market changes, optimized resource allocation, and increased operational efficiency.


Enhanced Internal Processes:
Streamlined operations for increased efficiency.

Championed Sustainability: Prioritized environmentally conscious practices.

Improved Customer Experience: Met and exceeded customer expectations.

Data-Driven Reporting and Logistics: Enabled agile decision-making and resource optimization.

Increased Operational Efficiency: Reduced costs and maximized productivity.

This comprehensive transformation has positioned the company to better meet customer demands, stay ahead in a competitive market, and maintain a strong, sustainable business model for the future. By embracing change and prioritizing innovation, the company is well-prepared to navigate the complexities of the modern marketplace and continue to thrive.

What we implemented

Solutions
 
Technology