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10/27/2021

L.L. Bean selects architecture to support digital transformation

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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L.L. Bean is implementing a cloud-based enterprise platform to enhance omnichannel commerce.

A 108-year-old outdoor retailer is taking a decidedly modern approach to omnichannel commerce.

L.L. Bean is entering a multi-year agreement with Commercetools to implement the cloud-based digital commerce platform vendor’s MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless) architecture. Leveraging this technology, L.L. Bean intends to enhance its in-store and online experience by blending its physical and digital retail touchpoints. These points of contact with the consumer include social commerce, in-store POS systems, pop-up shops, clienteling, and transactional customer care.

L.L. Bean opened its first digital store in 1995. More recently, the company embarked on a digital transformation strategy that included breaking up its all-in-one legacy e-commerce platform and developing its own custom microservices to better serve its customers. When complete, L.L. Bean intends for its digital transformation program to set the brand up for the next 100 years.

The company is launching this latest step in its ambitious digital transformation strategy as it comes off a highly successful year. L.L. Bean reported its largest net revenue increase in the past nine years during fiscal 2020— and busiest holiday season in 20 years — as consumers sought out gear for outdoor adventures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Freeport, Maine-based retailer’s revenue in 2020 totaled $1.59 billion – a 5% increase over 2019 and its best showing since 2011. The year also brought several new initiatives for L.L. Bean as it entered into wholesale partnerships for the first time in its 100 years-plus history with partners that included Nordstrom, Zappos, Staples and Scheels. 

In addition to the boom in outdoor activities, L.L. Bean also benefitted from the work-from-home trend. The company reported 42% sales growth in slippers (one pair sold every minute for the past six months), 54% growth in sleepwear, and 97% growth in outdoor furniture. Throughout 2020, L.L. Bean also manufactured some 350,000 face masks for MaineHealth, assembled 500,000 face shields, and donated face masks to election day volunteers.

“As our largest channel, our e-commerce experience is critical to our business, and also bringing our brand to life,” said Nick Wilkoff, chief marketing officer of L.L. Bean. “We believe that the Commercetools platform will allow us to further enhance our e-commerce experience while allowing us to leverage our current microservices architecture and best-of-breed solutions.”

“We are excited to help L.L. Bean embrace its ‘Be an Outsider’ mantra in the digital commerce realm by helping them provide truly unique and differentiated shopping experiences,” said Dirk Hoerig, CEO and co-founder of Commercetools. “With the Commercetools platform, L.L. Bean will gain the freedom to experiment, iterate and quickly roll out the best commerce experiences for their customers’ needs.”

Based in Freeport, Maine, L.L. Bean operates 54 stores in 19 states across the U.S., including a 220,000-sq.-ft. flagship store in Freeport, along with 25 stores in Japan.

In 2020, L.L. Bean donated over $6 million to more than 100 outdoor and community-enriching organizations, many of which focus on increasing access to outdoor spaces.