Speciality Fashion Group offers retail clothing brands designed to appeal to women at different stages of life including Katies, Millers, Autograph, City Chic, Crossroads, and the recently acquired Rivers shoe stores.
Leveraging IT to support global growth
Specialty Fashion Group is using technology strategically to form closer links with customers and suppliers, in Australia and around the world. Technological innovation is playing a key role in facilitating relationships with these new markets, suppliers, business partners, and researchers.
This increased level of innovation is in turn having a significant impact on many levels of the business, as technology is increasingly seen as a business facilitator.
“We focused on the core strategies of optimising our supply chain, developing and personalising our customer interactions, and growing sales through our multiple channels,” explained Speciality Fashion Group chief executive officer Gary Perlstein.
“Past investments in our online platforms, logistics capabilities and ecommerce teams are supporting our online growth, and we are improving our customers’ shopping experience and convenience.”
Investing in the supply chain to take the lead
On the supply side Speciality Fashion Group has invested substantially in an internally developed supply chain transformation, which has facilitated a direct sourcing model.
Rather than rely on information to be passed through third parties, the retail group has made it possible for designers in Australia to be in direct and regular contact with suppliers. No only has this made the company better able to respond to price fluctuations on primary goods, but it has also streamlined the development of new clothing lines.
This direct communication with suppliers in China and Bangladesh has improved quality, reduced costs and ensured the company’s stores can continue to run a unique clothing range.
Using omni-channel retail to boost the customer experience
With an existing database of over 7 million customers, the retail group has also developed an agile omni-channel strategy, which runs in tandem with its supply chain strategy.
The broad omni-channel strategy is supported by Facebook pages, personalised emails, blogs, SMSs, and personalised emails. Further growth is expected over the coming months, following the introduction of “click & collect”, which neatly combines the company’s online and in-store strategy.
“As part of our customer insights program we have been evolving our customer dialogue through continuous two-way communication,” Perlstein says. “Through analysing Big Data we are able to have personalised communication with our customer segments which is critical to the success of our business, and to the delivery of products that she wants, the way she wants it.”
The result overall was a 50 per cent growth in online sales in an otherwise challenging retail market in 2013.
The omni-channel strategy has also helped to increase the level of existing customer engagement, with over 80 per cent of sales coming from existing loyalty program members across the different stores.
Using its strong local performance as a base, SFG is currently expanding into new global markets, opening up six new Autograph and Crossroads stores in New Zealand, and a City Chic store in South Africa.
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