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European optical retailer invests in new point-of-sale, data integration and business intelligence to improve not only customer service but also customer insight

Vision Express recently announced new IT investments that include new electronic point-of-sale (EPoS), data warehouse and business intelligence (BI) systems to support customer service and analysis.

The UK-based optical retailer will install Box Technologies’ cielo modular lite EPoS system for its high-performance PC flexibility and scalability across its 331-strong UK store estate, including those it operates and joint venture stores. 

The system’s I/O interface also offers terminal expandability to ensure its platform can support a variety of specialist retail applications. For Vision Express, these applications range from the front of house customer-facing systems for clinical consultations, dispensing and payment processing. 

Kerry Hardy, Vision Express information systems (IS) support manager, stated: “Vision Express has selected the Box Technologies’ cielo modular solution following extensive research and testing against a number of branded manufacturers. The Box cielo modular came out on top on a number of technology factors including small form factor design, reduced running costs, increased CPU power and performance.”

Standardised data management

The retailer, which is part of Europe’s largest optical retail group, GrandVision, also recently said it had standardised its data warehouse capabilities on Informatica technologies. 

It is using the data integration and BI technologies to gain greater insight from the fast-growing data amounts of data the company processes. This valuable data is being used to cross-sell and up-sell glasses, contact lenses and other optical accessories, while simultaneously being used to maintain more intimate and rewarding customer relationships.

By uncovering critical customer insights, via a complete customer view, and steering the company away from passive marketing to agile, active marketing, Vision Express anticipates being able to launch new marketing campaigns 50% faster than before. The new systems will also significantly reduce the company’s IT costs, by lowering the resources devoted to application development and maintenance.
Powered by Informatica Vibe, which the provider said is the industry’s first and only embeddable virtual data machine (VDM), Vision Express will use its instances of the Informatica PowerCenter data integration platform and Informatica Data Quality management software to create an accurate, timely view of up to 13 million customers. 

Comprehensive customer view

This customer view includes optical product analysis (including glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses), store demographics, website activity and, in the future, social media. And the knowledge gained will be used throughout the organisation to drive more effective and personalised multichannel sales and marketing campaigns.

David Hart, Vision Express IT and logistics director, commented that the data warehousing investment would help accelerate the next stage of Vision Express’ business growth by enabling a more complete view of customers. 

“The Informatica Platform and Vibe will allow Vision Express to realise its full information potential, by aggregating data from multiple sources and creating trustworthy, actionable and authoritative data needed for business critical processes,” Hart said. “By understanding more about customers’ behaviour, optical needs and preferences, Vision Express will be uniquely positioned to create compelling marketing campaigns aimed at growing revenue and market share. The solution will also ensure repeat optical customers return to our stores time and again. 

“Informatica took the time to understand our business challenges and offered us a way of freeing ourselves from the restrictive, legacy technology that had been dictating our business processes,” he concluded.

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