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How Toad & Co. Devised a Winning Omnichannel Retail Strategy

Posted by Ian McCue, Content Manager

Modern customers don’t think in channels when shopping – they move between a physical store, online store and mobile app without a second thought.

Socially-responsible apparel retailer Toad & Co. saw this paradigm shift happening right before its eyes three or four years ago and began building a plan for the future.

“Mobile connectivity and the lack of differentiation across channels with consumers and the subsequent expectation for product everywhere, anywhere and pretty quickly is what led us down this journey to build a better customer experience,” Kelly Milazzo, VP of Operations at Toad & Co., said.

Toad & Co. sells men’s and women’s clothing and donates a portion of every sale to creating opportunities for adults with disabilities. It sells online and through its own retail stores but its biggest sales channel is third-party retailers like REI, Amazon and local outdoor shops.

The brand struggled to keep up with customer demands because it used separate, disconnected systems for each channel. Employees spent much time reconciling all product and inventory data between the company’s website, point-of-sale software and ERP.

Single Source of the Truth

To provide a seamless and consistent customer experience across channels, Toad & Co. needed a single view of data and insights from all sales channels. The retailer moved each aspect of its business onto a unified cloud platform to help it reach that goal.

First, Toad & Co. implemented NetSuite ERP, which houses all inventory, order and customer data in one place. The system offers reporting and dashboards on key metrics, leading to operational improvements like better inventory planning – Toad & Co. reduced inventory positioning by 20 percent because it could optimize inventory across channels and better predict how much product it needed.

Connecting the Online and Offline Journey

Next, it focused on improving the in-store experience with POS software that is natively integrated with the ERP. SuiteCommerce InStore allows employees on the floor to see the inventory in all warehouses and stores for an “endless aisle.” For example, if a shopper wants a pair of grey recycled polyester pants but his size is not available, he can order them in-store and have them delivered to his doorstep a few days later.

A few months later, Toad & Co. moved to NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce ecommerce software. The solution enables customers to buy online, pick up in-store and records all online transactions and other digital interactions in the single customer record.

Personalizing the Online Experience

Toad & Co. leveraged the rich customer data it could now access with this new technology to revamp its marketing efforts.

The customer record tracks and dynamically updates things like time of last order, 12-month order count and 12-month revenue. The marketing team segmented its customers into five tiers based on number of purchases per year and average order value.

It sends weekly newsletters to its high-tier customers as well as anyone who has purchased products in the past similar to those featured in that newsletter, generating a spike in click-through rates and revenue per email.

“As personalization becomes more prevalent, we have the ability to understand how you’re interacting with us through all our channels and help narrow down your search,” Milazzo said. “If we know you love our dresses, we can let you know when new dresses are in and maybe you don’t care so much about pants. So our marketing team is leveraging that single customer record to customize that communication.”

Toad & Co. also uses this data for dynamic remarketing ads that showcase the newest colors or styles of products or categories to people who bought similar items in the past. It had tremendous results – revenue per 1,000 impressions for women’s tops, for instance, catapulted from $7.40 to $129.30.

Embracing Omnichannel Pays Off

Toad & Co. created the seamless cross-channel experience it envisioned years ago and it’s seeing the ultimate validation of this transformation – more customers spending more money. The foresight and ingenuity of its staff, paired with a powerful cloud solution, has set up the apparel retailer for unprecedented success.

Many retailers are overwhelmed by the idea of rebuilding their business for omnichannel, but Toad & Co. shows that it is not only feasible but well worth the effort. In fact, smaller retailers hold a certain advantage because they are agile. The evidence shows if you don’t adapt, shoppers will leave you behind.

Learn more about creating exceptional customer experiences and common causes of failure in this white paper, Building the Foundation for Great Customer Experiences.