Cloud helping True Alliance reshape the way customers shop with its retail brands

Moving its e-commerce and marketing teams to the cloud across all 14 retail brands has boosted company total revenue by 103% year on year.

Ben Sherman, J.Crew, Speedos, Nautica, and Lacoste are some of the retail brands that rely on True Alliance to distribute their products across Australia and New Zealand. 

However, according to True Alliance CFO Roni Perlov, the problem was that the company operated on an unscalable, non-integrated, and disparate legacy platform, and did not have the capabilities to service its digital consumers across its 14 sites. 

"Our CRM system and online cart system wasn't integrated. We had a misalignment between our digital, and brand and marketing functions. Our digital teams were talking in acronyms, our brand and marketing teams were talking about traditional marketing, and we weren't getting a synergy between the two," he told Salesforce World Tour Reimagined on Wednesday.

"We also had a situation where as the world was changing and as people were expecting to buy on a mobile basis, we didn't have the capability to satisfy our customers. We were on what I would call a 'hamster wheel' where we were upgrading, and by the time we made one change we got to the end of changes on our 14 sites, we were starting our next round of development. It wasn't productive.

"In addition, we were engaging a number of digital agencies and weren't leveraging the scale of our portfolio of brands to maximise those relationships." 

See also: Robots are changing the face of retail in 2020 (TechRepublic)

From this realisation, the company has been embarking on a digital transformation journey for the last eight years. 

In the last 12 months, part of that process for True Alliance has involved partnering with Deloitte Digital and Salesforce to assist with what Perlov referred to as an "agile implementation" of a cloud-based e-commerce and marketing ecosystem that also includes Salesforce's artificial intelligence (AI) CRM system, Einstein.

"Leveraging Einstein is really a long term project goal for us. Although we did deploy it across our website for launch and commerce cloud, really for us, it's more for our longer term strategic imperative," True Alliance group head of digital Ken Kennedy said.

"We see the benefit of layering AI across what we do from an e-commerce and marketing perspective, and that comes across two key areas: One is boosting team productivity, eliminating that guess work and requirement against merchandising, but also the impact on conversion rate."

Specifically, the team deployed Einstein to address four problem areas: Search results, no page results, product listing pages, and product displayed pages. 

"What we've done is really let Einstein drive that based on user interaction and behaviour. We've already seen the impact on sales uplift, as a result of that where Einstein has really driven higher conversion rates," Kennedy said. 

He added how the company also deployed Quip, a Salesforce collaboration tool, to consolidate cross-functional communication across all teams externally and internally. 

"The amount of communication flows across disparate systems from phone to email, even down to Whatsapp groups was quite disparate," Kennedy explained. 

"What we wanted to do was streamline that process, bring in all of our EDM creations, all of our briefing documents, all of our meeting notes all into one place, so all it's real-time, so our teams can access it through desktop apps and mobile apps in real-time. Our sign-up process sign has sped up considerably to market in a much more informed way."

Read more: How AI can save the retail industry (TechRepublic)

As a result, Kennedy said True Alliance has managed to increase its total revenue by 103% year on year. 

He also pointed out how 65% of all online traffic across brands now went through mobile, which has become the largest revenue channel for the company. Meanwhile, uptime across its websites was now at 99%, and the company now had the ability to "maximise opportunities" around large sales events such as Black Friday, Click Frenzy, and Boxing Day. 

For one "particular brand" in the six months since migrating to its website to the cloud, Kennedy said it has seen a 100% increase in conversation, while mobile revenue went up 130% and mobile transaction was boosted by 147%. 

Looking ahead, True Alliance will continue to deliver its digital roadmap over the next 18 months, Kennedy said, pointing out that some of the key focuses in the next six months would be granular A/B testing, developing a full-scale omni-channel loyalty program for all of its brands, using Einstein to automate and personalise EDM content across all brand communications, and adding additional brands to the True Alliance portfolio. 

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