Brooks Brothers Closes In on Omnichannel Retail
Brooks Brothers has been in business for nearly 200 years. It’s a retail pioneer with a flair for innovation, and right now it has its sights set on one of the hottest trends in the industry – omnichannel.
Much has changed since Henry Sands Brooks opened his first store in New York City in 1818. The brand synonymous with well-dressed gentlemen now has lines for women and children and operates over 600 upscale retail stores and outlets around the world. Consumers have changed too. They are global, fast-moving, and have immediate access to anything they want in the palm of their hand.
To stay competitive in the retail and fashion industry of today, Brooks Brothers had to make some changes to its business operations and systems. “We need to continue to reinvent who we are, both from a product standpoint as well as customer experience,” says Sahal Laher, executive VP and CIO at Brooks Brothers. To do that the company required innovative technology.
Consumers demand a simple and seamless purchasing experience across channels, and Brooks Brothers needs access to customer and purchase history data in real time. “In a growing, global, omnichannel world, we found it challenging to fulfill customer expectations with a set of aging technologies,” says Laher. The business required a global supply chain system that would eliminate data silos and provide full visibility across all its markets.
To get where it needed to be, the company kicked off a program called Brooks Brothers Global Transformation. The project team identified gaps in the company’s technology footprint, determined the system requirements needed to grow as a global retailer, and selected SAP software as the solution. “We selected SAP to have a global, scalable system from an innovative partner with a strong background in fashion and retail,” says Laher.
Brooks Brothers began its transformation by implementing the SAP Apparel and Footwear application. This was the first step to gaining control of its global supply chain. “The key process benefit that we’ve realized with SAP so far is better visibility into our inventory and our financials,” says Laher. That’s critical for a fashion retailer because inventory management is the central nervous system of the business. To offer an omnichannel experience, inventory must be accessible from any location close to the customer at any time. “We cannot go to market with a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Laher.
Brooks Brothers is also implementing the SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) and SAP Customer Activity Repository applications. These systems will provide a 360-degre view of customers worldwide. The company prides itself on fine quality and personal service, but every customer is different and Brooks Brothers has a large assortment with thousands of stock-keeping units. “SAP helps us simplify our customer experience by giving us a universal customer master database, which allows us to understand our customer, their purchase history, and their preferences in a real-time manner,” says Laher.
The company is also excited about the SAP HANA platform and the new SAP Fashion Management application. “SAP HANA will power our customer master as well as our CRM system so we can go through large volumes of customer data and come out with personalized recommendations in near-real time, “says Laher. And SAP Fashion Management will enable Brooks Brothers to operate its wholesale, manufacturing, and retail business processes in one integrated system. “The ability to have all of those functions in one ERP system is extremely powerful for us,” says Laher.
The future for Brooks Brothers is built around becoming a true global omnichannel retailer. This requires a consistent set of capabilities and systems across all markets. With SAP solutions in place, Brooks Brothers has better visibility not only into its supply chain, financials, and overall business, but also into its global customers.
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