Transformation for Ireland's favourite bookstore
Omni-channel commerce growth. A personalised, automated experience. Built on Epi and Dynamics
Eason has been a staple on the Irish High Street for over 100 years. When they hired us in 2017, they faced the same obvious market threats felt by retailers all over the world. With over 70 stores nationwide and with increasing online pressures, Eason’s leadership took the bold steps that would deliver for their customers, sustain their business and drive growth up to and through the Covid crisis of 2020.
Their online platform was restricting their ability to compete. The online wasn’t integrated with the offline. There was no consistency in product range, pricing, promotions. Plus, customer accounts for loyalty, gift cards and customer service were in separate systems. There was no effective way to leverage the channels together in unison. Their mobile experience was poor. On creaking technology, their tech, marketing and ecommerce teams were running just to standstill.
As Eason embarked on a major refurbishment of their entire retail network, they also invested in the IT and ecommerce technologies which would underpin their own revolution in retail.
The vision was to create a seamlessly integrated, highly personalised omni-channel experience for customers. In store, online, in email and by Christmas. It was May.
Episerver & Dynamics for Retail
At the heart of this project was the ability to integrate and leverage some of the markets leading and emerging technologies to drive the digital experience. That’s where we started.
Eason were already re-investing in their Microsoft AX & D365 for Retail infrastructure, upgrading and extending capabilities across the business. Our job was to create the integrations and synchronisations needed to empower an intelligent ecommerce experience, delivered by Episerver Commerce Cloud, surfacing AI driven personalised product recommendations online, in email and even into Customer Service channels.
Starting with an agile team, embedded within Eason for maximum impact, we started work on an ambitious programme of work that would become vital to the organisation as events unfolded later.
We designed a technical architecture that supported their omni-channel vision, hooking up Microsoft Dynamics AX & 365 with Episerver Commerce Cloud, whilst harmonising integrations to multiple legacy platforms for payments, loyalty, gifting and more – to create a single customer view.
After 5 months of incredible effort by a cross functional team from across Eason, Made to Engage and Episerver, we launched the first iteration of the new Eason digital experience weeks before the critical Christmas and cyber season.
Core integrations to AX were established. Data flowed freely for products, pricing and orders. Campaigns and promotions initiated online were supported in store and vice versa. The same went for gift cards, loyalty features and customer account data.
The Eason digital team, newly empowered with Episerver’s experience management and campaign capabilities achieved outstanding results and saw an immediate uplift over Christmas 2017:
- 30%+ in online revenues YOY
- 60%+ increase in campaigns YOY
- 21% increase in AOV
But the story didn’t stop there. In 2018, we created a 2 hour Click & Collect promise for top titles across Ireland, integrated more data channels and allowed the Episerver platform to learn more about customer trends and behaviours. Christmas 2018 saw a 20% increase in online revenues and a further 26% in 2019.
2020 & Covid
It was in 2020, as the world of commerce was turned on its head globally, that Eason’s investments began to really pay dividends. The multi-year investment in a best in class digital infrastructure, delivering exceptional range, effective online services, personalised recommendations and agility for a distributed digital team, allowed Eason to pivot to a digital first offering, as stores were forced to close or become become Click & Collect only.
Leveraging email, social and creating campaigns to address new demands for families at home, Eason were able to deliver for their customer, to compete for the online spend and to sustain their business in the toughest of times.
The omni-channel investments allowed Eason to increase revenues 5x in 2020 vs 2017, and the digital experience drove conversion rates incredibly to to almost 10%.
- 5x revenues in 2020 vs 2017
- 5% conversion rate in 2020
The power of partnership with Episerver
This project was a special one for us. Not only were we helping an Irish heritage brand lay the foundations for a rebirth and continued success, we also worked closely and directly with Episerver to implement the full Episerver Commerce Cloud product suite.
We were the first team globally to bring together the newly acquired Product Recommendations platform (Peerius / Perform) & Omni-Channel Campaign Management (Optivo / Campaign) & it’s emergent analytics product Insights – with an integration to Dynamics AX.
This work, and the outstanding results we achieved immediately and consistently over the coming years – led to our recognition as Episerver’s Partner of the Year for Digital Experience 2019. A moment we are very proud of.
"When setting up any new platform here at Eason, we look for a platform that seamlessly integrates with our core business applications, and we found that in Dynamics 365.
The impact of having a fully integrated marketing platform has been huge for Eason, the Christmas personalised campaigns were incredibly successful in which we saw an increase of 60% in Blackfriday sales."
IT Manager, Eason
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