OPERATIONS

Cloud computing to drive Billabong’s omnichannel experience

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A board sports apparel retailer is taking steps to blend its physical and digital retail channels.

Billabong is leveraging the Aptos Singular Commerce platform to support omnichannel retailing across its global enterprise. The cloud-based solution will merge the retailers’ physical and digital retail channels, and create a single view of customers, inventory and orders, among other operations.

In addition to managing point-of-sale, the solution also supports customer relationship management (CRM), order management, merchandising and auditing functions. By integrating these functions, Billabong is positioned to deliver truly seamless customer experiences regardless where, when or how its customers shop, the company said.

Transitioning to a cloud-based platform also helps Billabong to consolidate its retail technology stack, and accelerate the implementation of new solutions — goals that required a seasoned partner.

“Aptos’ global presence, leading cloud-based technology, and professional services and implementation team were important considerations in our selection process,” said Michael Yerkes, senior VP, global operations of Billabong International Limited.

Billabong operates 372 retail stores, as well as operates e-commerce sites for each of its key brands, Billabong, RVCA, Element, Von Zipper, Honolua Surf Company, Kustom, Palmers Surf and Xcel.

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Discounter’s head of risk and compliance to depart

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Target is losing another key executive.

Jackie Rice, Target's chief risk and compliance officer, announced she will be leaving the company at the end of the month. Rice announced that leaving is a personal decision, and she wants to be closer to her family who lives outside of Minneapolis, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

Rice, who joined Target in 2014, was responsible for overseeing the enterprise’s risk management, compliance, vendor management and corporate security. She lead a team focused on evolving and enhancing enterprise risk and compliance standards to protect Target and the company’s stakeholders, including customers, team members and vendors.

Rice’s team, which is comprised of approximately 60 associates, will now report to chief legal officer Don Liu, who has a background in risk compliance. The company does not plan to replace her, the report said.

In the report, a Target spokesperson said, via an email, that the company was "extremely thankful for the work Jackie led in the past three years to strengthen our risk and compliance efforts." Rice was hired by CEO Brian Cornell, shortly after he joined the company in 2014 — and on the heels of Target’s high-profile data breach in a year earlier.

Rice’s upcoming departure is the latest in a string of leadership changes at Target in the last year. These include the addition of a new chief digital officer, head of grocery operations and leader of innovation and strategy.

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Uniqlo creates plan to embark on digital transformation

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

In a move to attract more specialized information technology specialists, Uniqlo is renovating its digital DNA.

The fast-fashion giant — which doesn't have a reputation as a “cutting edge” digital company and struggles to attract the best IT talent — will undergo a digital transformation. Its first step in this strategy: to hire an army of experienced information technology specialists who can help improve operational efficiency and create innovative systems, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

Once this team is in place, the company plans to focus on big data and artificial intelligence (AI). Specifically, Uniqlo envisions how AI could help factories, distributors and stores understand — with precision — what the customer wants. This insight will also help the chain reduce excessive inventory. Meanwhile, by analyzing big data on consumer behavior, Uniqlo could make recommendations on clothes or deliver the right product at the right time to a specific customer, the report said.

The company is already taking steps to rebrand itself as a digitally-innovative company. Earlier this month, the Japanese retailer announced it would begin rolling out 6-ft.-high vending machines at airports and malls across the United States.

The devices will enable customers to purchase T-shirts and lightweight down jackets. Customers use a touchscreen to select shirt and jacket styles, colors and sizes. Purchases can be made via credit or debit card, and unwanted items can be returned in-store or via mail.

To read more, click here.

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