For most retailers the Christmas and the January sales window is massive. In Ireland, there is also the phenomenon of the Late Late Toy Show, characteristically a few weeks before Christmas, and then we add to that the imported Black Friday, and things get bigger. This is an event that triggers massive sales across the retail industry.
Add the fact that Eason sell books. One of the most competitive sectors for online consumers and you get an idea of the magnitude of the opportunity that could not be missed.
So with potentially the largest sales window the retailer was likely to see facing them, Eason decided to address an ageing, disjointed platform. They did just that, and the results? Well, they speak for themselves.
In short, it happened through the delivery of world leading technology, innovative thinking, and most importantly - collaboration, between Eason and Made to Engage.
But the devil’s in the details, so let’s dive in.
Eason have a vision for 2020 and a number of long-term goals which this transformational platform will help them achieve - to deliver an omni-channel experience to all of their customers, to create valuable engagement over the customer lifecycle, and to improve the experience of stakeholders both internally and externally.
The biggest challenge we’d face as a team would be to deliver on time for the biggest shopping season of the year.
This is the first full implementation of the Episerver platform suite - which includes CMS, Commerce, Find, Perform and Campaign (more on these later). A suite which integrates with their ERP, Dynamics AX, through the intuitive Avensia Storefront, bringing their brick and mortar systems seamlessly into their digital landscape.
This platform is an investment to support the 2020 vision, delivering the fundamentals then taking experiences to the next level.
With an impending deadline, and a sales window too big to miss, the results you see above for Eason’s first few weeks on the Episerver platform came from the implementation of the core platform - CMS, Commerce and Find.
Episerver CMS provides the ability to create, refine and deliver exceptional experiences quickly and easily to segmented visitors. Our solution proved this to be true when Eason decided to rapidly launch a campaign landing page to capitalise on and accommodate the volume of traffic that was generated as a result of the Late Late Toy Show. The platform saw over 1000 unique visitors in under 20 minutes during one part of the show, a level of traffic the old Eason platform simply could not have coped with.
Through the implementation of Episerver Find, supported by extensive user experience research, Eason customers can now locate what they want with ease, due to an intuitive search and autocomplete features, while the refreshed site design and addition of Episerver Commerce has created a streamlined checkout process.
Personalisation has become key to creating exceptional digital experiences for consumers, regardless of industry. Delivering the right amount of personalisation, at the right time, without being intrusive is an important skill to master, and Episerver Perform enables this.
With Episerver Perform in place, Eason will be enabled to use behavioural merchandising, automatically presenting recommendations to consumers based on their purchasing and search behaviour. We were able to tie this in with data from their loyalty provider ensuring purchasing history was understood both on and offline. Tying this in with Episerver Campaign, which is built for email marketing and transactional emails, every consumer to Eason should feel like they are their most important and valued customer.
Why do these personal touches matter? They allow consumers to experience the excellent one-to-one customer service they’re used to receiving from an in-store representative. Eason can now deliver to consumers the omni-channel experiences they deserve.
But that’s not all… there’s huge business benefits to be seen across Eason that aren’t simply reflected in a significant revenue uplift. Remember, the great experience to be delivered was for internal stakeholders too. The integration of AX means that pricing, promotions, orders and stock now have an automated connection from the bricks and mortar stores to Eason’s new digital platform - removing a previously disjointed set up, manual processes and complex technical issues from the mix, allowed Eason to spend time on more valuable activities, like delivering the best experience to their consumers.
We work collaboratively with all our teams and clients, but for Eason we took an alternative approach to how we’d do this. By dedicating a full Made to Engage team to Eason across design, development and digital, and combining this with an in-house Eason team, we created a space which enabled solutions finding, innovative thinking, an expert build and a successful delivery by a collaborative working team.
Our story doesn't end here with Eason. 2018 has big things in store for our combined teams. This groundwork has enabled us to develop Easons Click and Collect offering, a key commercial driver for 2018. As well as developing integrations with their processes around Gift Cards. Huge in the books sector but really that is just the beginning, so watch this space.