When the shutters of storefronts were thrown down more than one year ago, many never reopened; many did everything they could to adapt out of necessity.
And even after those shutters were rolled back up, footfall was heavily restricted by social distancing and safety measures being put in place. For 2020, spending on non-essentials slipped to 40-50% while total revenues dropped between 30-50%.
One of the links that became loose in this moment was the fulfillment and supply chain. Figuring out how to optimize a company’s order management system became one of the most pressing issues to solve.
We recently learned a bit more insight into the issue during this year’s Salesforce Live virtual event, which featured brands and retailers who have been attempting to future-proof their operations. And with one of them, the iconic retailer Fenwick, we’re going to deep dive into it.
Fenwick and Salesforce
Fenwick is an independent retail chain spread out across the UK that was founded more than a century ago in 1882. Today it operates 9 branches and is estimated to be worth £452 million.
The shutters of Fenwick, like most, were shuttered due to the national lockdown. Just after, the retailer decided to put its focus on creating a safer environment for its customers, which in turn would help to boost its ecommerce growth in a moment in which online was the only option.
To set them up with the best possible needs for them, Fenwick decided to launch online with Salesforce.
They plugged in Salesforce Commerce Cloud to handle their ecommerce operations and connected that to Salesforce’s order management system, Salesforce Order Management.
“We started with one of our biggest stores, down in Kingston,” said Kate Smyth, Fenwick’s digital director, “and completely reworked the space and layout… Then a small, brilliant group of people from nearly every department in the business rolled up their sleeves and joined me in the back of the store to start fulfilling online orders.”
Its first step was to use 3 of its stores for fulfilment in addition to reshaping its flagship store to handle online orders. Each of these stores functioned as a miniature distribution center, and each of them started to use the order management system of Salesforce Order Management.
With Salesforce Order Management, it really tapped into the needs of Fenwick. “The OMS is really key,” added Kate, “orchestrating the allocation of orders so as orders come in, it hands off the order to the store that’s going to fulfil it.
“We use a Salesforce partner as a mini-warehouse management system, and give the picking teams in-store a handheld device that shows them the items they need to pick and then pack for each customer.”
In what may be a difficult perspective to reach for many, Fenwick actually took the lockdown and repackaged it as an opportunity to reconnect each of its branches to their local area. “We’re proud of being a retailer with strong connections to local communities,” said Kate, “and in our stores, we try to champion local brands and artisans.
“When we were looking at developing the online proposition, we wanted to bring the level of personalization – the Fenwick quality of service. We made sure that when we designed the site, each visitor could customize it into their own version of Fenwick.
“We promote each store’s services, events and brands, and content across the site is tagged by store with customers able to set local preference through in-built widgets.”
Growing and adapting
Using the broader and deeper digital powers of Salesforce Order Management, Fenwick passed through the majority of the lockdown managing to grow and adapt at a fast pace. And this is particularly important for businesses that operate in multiple locations that need to tailor to each space, given that lockdowns and safety measures have been specific to each region.
eCommerce sales and peak traffic moments were handed by adding a third-party warehouse for its distribution operations, so that it can broaden its geographical range for online orders – all centrally operated through Salesforce Order Management.
Furthermore, Salesforce’s order management system has benefited Fenwick by enhancing its customer experience in new ways. “It’s enabled us to make huge strides across the business in a really short space of time,” added Kate. “For example allowing our personal shopping teams to manage their appointments over video.
“A major part of our digital ecosystem is from Salesforce and Salesforce partners.” And we know all about that because ArganoUV is an official partner on the Salesforce appexchange.