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CASE STUDY: House of Amber sparkles with inventory visibility

By Retail Technology | Friday February 28 2020

Danish jewellery retailer House of Amber has improved sales performance and customer service with inventory visibility

Background

House of Amber was founded in 1933 in Copenhagen, and through generations has become one of the world’s leading brands within exclusive Scandinavian amber jewellery and amber art.

The retailer operates a mix of stores and concessions in Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Dubai and the USA, as well as an online store.

International tourist sales make up over half of annual turnover. And of the 60 plus nationalities that buy from House of Amber, the Chinese make up the largest audience. Chinese women visiting Scandinavia enjoy buying one or two items of amber jewellery as a memento of their trip, or as gifts to bring back for loved ones. Average transaction value is three digit and above.

Outstanding customer service is critical to the brand: “The product is so unique that a good in-store experience for tourists on a one-off visit is essential,” says Lars Bladt, House of Amber’s CEO.

Slick service

House of Amber needed real-time updates on stock across stores and online so that it could improve the in-store experience and maximise sales. A major pain point was not having the slick, reliable systems in place in stores to be sure of offering a fast transaction and securing sales.

Bladt says: “Often there is a limited time for customers – particularly tourists - to spend choosing and making a purchase. Systems need to be reliable and slick at all times, and availability of stock maximised so that sales opportunities aren’t missed on the day.”

Legacy IT systems have been an obstacle to growth for House of Amber in recent years.  Every country had its own point-of-sale (PoS) system and it wasn’t clear what stock was held in each location, as there was no unified view of inventory. This meant that head office purchasing teams weren’t able to observe real-time sales performance. It was difficult to accurately forecast demand and ensure availability at the right place, right time.

There was also no opportunity to have a 360-degree view of the customer base, and to tie customer relationship (CRM) activities to store operations.

House of Amber also faced limitations to analysing pricing and promotions globally and adapting ranges to local markets. This was due to the fact that data insights were not available. It was felt that sales opportunities were being missed due to this lack of visibility and agility across the House of Amber business. 

International rollout

House of Amber selected Cegid to install a Unified Commerce Platform and PoS solution. Cegid Retail is the modular solution that House of Amber chose to take its business forward.

The solution was implemented quickly into the initial pilot store and a series of development sprints were completed after three months to finesse the solution. It was then rolled out to the estate reaching completion across all 20 stores by the start of the following year.

The robust architecture of the new solution allows integration with the wider tech stack, from ERP to the CRM and an integrated payments system.

House of Amber can now manage its business processes on a centralised platform, a much-needed move away from spreadsheets and manual processing of data through its on-premise software.

Tailoring to local needs

It’s now possible for head office to monitor sales performance across time zones giving a total view of what stock is selling where. Stock can be moved if a popular piece is doing particularly well in one country, and data patterns are revealing which lines typically sell well in which location, meaning conversion rates are improving simply due to improved range planning and availability.

“Cegid Retail gives us the chance to better manage from the back office, and for a store in one country to request from what they see available in other countries,” says Bladt.

While head office teams have vital business intelligence at their fingertips, the Cegid solution helps House of Amber deliver a superior customer experience at store level because merchandising and stock allocation has been closely tailored to local needs and demand patterns.

Through the payment solution, there are localised versions of receipts, so for example, in Dubai, receipts can be provided in Arabic, and Chinese in China.

Another benefit is that the store solution is designed to be user-friendly for local sales staff, helping speed up transactions and making on-boarding of new team members quick and easy.

“Pop-up stores, and any future additions to the existing estate are easy to put live thanks to the simple installation process for the software,” says Bladt. “The system we chose is easy to learn for colleagues, and simple to set up. It was particularly impressive that it took just two days for the system to go live in the new store in China.”

House of Amber is confident that sales conversions, supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction have all improved since the switch to Cegid Retail.

House of Amber is confident that sales conversions, supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction have all improved since the switch to Cegid Retail.

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