IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 20 Jun 2007

Merret wins ERSA 2007 E-Commerce award

Retail Assist news

Market-leading supply chain solution, Merret, has secured its second win in the European Retail Solutions Awards. At last week’s ceremony, its partnership with Fresca and Rubicon Retail was recognised by the judges as the ‘Best use of e-commerce in a retail environment’.

The award-winning application was based upon the creation of a web-based home shopping platform for three key brands in the Mosaic Fashions portfolio. Initially developed for Principles and Warehouse, the project was subsequently rolled out to include the four Shoe Studio Group brands.

Explains Merret’s Nigel Illingworth: “The aim of the project was to merchandise the full range via the web, giving customers the benefit of optimum product availability and exceptional service. A streamlined and hassle-free process was the goal, enabling home customers to order goods and, if required, return them by post or via the stores.”

The timescale for the project was very demanding: to deliver in just 5 months a new, end-to-end, fully-integrated, multi-country, web home shopping business.

Complete system integration was required between the shopping site and the back-end systems for stock, fulfillment despatch and returns.

A single stock pool was built to service all channels and to eliminate the double stock handling issues that challenge many multi-channel retailers. At the same time, processes were put in place to reserve stock for the web business to ensure core lines were always available for home shoppers.

An additional sophistication was the need to service the UK and Ireland with differential pricing and currency functions. Shopper location recognition allows the correct pricing and delivery information to be displayed to customers in different regions. This process also provides a model that will support the retailer’s European expansion.

The new transactional websites are powered by online shopping experts, Fresca Commerce. Incorporating easy navigation, high-quality graphics and a sophisticated search mechanism, they offer fast and pleasurable product selection. Checkout and payment processes are rapid and are backed up by call centre operations.

The sites are tightly integrated with the Merret solution which, based in an IBM i-Series environment, takes care of all elements of the supply chain. These include centralised content management, stock allocation, handling Distribution Centre orders, ‘pick, pack & despatch’, and the processing of returns.

Concludes Nigel Illingworth: “Our project impressed the judges by its delivery within timescale, to specification and to budget. At the same time, they commended our partnership for creating an exceptional web-based shopping experience which sets standards for other retailers to follow.”

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