Privately-held, 30-year-old Everything But Water operates 95 stores and an e-commerce channel catering to women's swimwear, resort-wear and accessories. Besides being a destination for shoppers seeking chic vacation wear, pool party ensembles and summer style-inspired merchandise, loyal customers are also attracted to the retailer's sales associates who provide personal attention and help transform what could be a stressful swim shopping experience into "a relaxed ‘me-moment,'" noted the retailer's chairman, Randall Blumenthal.
However, when Blumenthal purchased the company five years ago, he immediately noticed that an aging operating system was indirectly impacting the exceptional service on which the brand built its reputation. "The main pain point at the time was a slowness within the [operating] system," he explained. "Besides the platform being slow, it had poor reliability and reporting, and was not scalable."
When preparing to replace the outdated legacy retail system, Blumenthal began evaluating new platform options that would support integrated omnichannel capabilities, including buying, pricing, inventory management, inventory valuation and customer relationship management. These processes are especially important within an omnichannel experience that requires a tight connection between demand chain operations, and one that can ensure that proper product assortments hit the right business channel at the right time.
These efforts required a scalable platform that supports a centralized database to feed these solutions, as opposed to using manually-managed disparate data marts. "We also required a solution that offered several modules that work well together, [tied together] with well-written software," Blumenthal explained. For Everything But Water, Miami-based Mi9 offered the ideal solution.
This end-to-end retail suite includes retail analytics, merchandise management with a fully-integrated mobile platform, point-of-sale and store operations solutions. The comprehensive, scalable, end-to-end merchandise management and store systems solution provides the retailer with best-in-class technology, real-time data accessibility and omnichannel functionality — all features that deliver meaningful visibility into shopper behavior, product performance and vendor reliability.
Because rolling out an all-encompassing solution can be a daunting task, Blumenthal spent 24 months deploying the platform in stages. The first phase was the enterprise-wide installation of the solution's business intelligence module, "and currently all primary modules are installed," he said.
Since beginning the deployment, the retailer has increased business efficiency, streamlined its processes, and managed its merchandising operations and order fulfillment with improved visibility. "Operating one system ensures that nothing gets lost in translation, and our advanced reporting capability has contributed to virtually no errors in our fulfillment processes," he added.