City Beach’s implementation
City Beach delivers a new wave of personalised shopping with social networks
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – 22 February 2010 – (NYSE: IBM) City Beach, one of Australia’s largest surf, skate and lifestyle fashion retailers, recently launched its new on-line store, powered by IBM e-commerce software. The new site delivers a new interactive experience that reflects the surf and skate lifestyle including the latest YouTube videos, celebrity blogs and industry news.
Known for its in-store entertainment, City Beach has more than 57 stores throughout Australia and is home to iconic brands such as Billabong, etnies, Roxy and Ripcurl. E-commerce in Australia is in its infancy with the retail industry having largely been driven by physical location. City Beach is finding that its best location is online where it is able to extend its reach to new customers and markets.
By using IBM WebSphere Commerce, implemented by Salmon, City Beach has transformed its small web presence poising it to become a dominant leader in the Australian market. City Beach is able to more effectively leverage the growing influence of online social networks bringing brand and product discussions back to its site and converting them into transactions.
Through its content-rich site City Beach’s customers are able to view surf and skate products in action with online video demonstrations. Based on performance, customers are able to develop a list of their favourite products and share them with family and friends and link to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
“City Beach’s customers are avid users of social media tools and want to converse wherever, whenever and with whoever they choose.”” said Chris Somerville, CMO at City Beach. “Through social networks and affinity sites we are able to build relationships with our customers that allows us to gain their valuable feedback on future product offerings and marketing strategies to deliver a more personalised and relevant shopping experience.”
The retail industry is becoming increasing fragmented and competitive as consumers traverse across multiple channels -researching products online, visiting the store and making purchases through the call centre – making it difficult for retailers to track shopping habits. By aligning the in-store and on-line shopping experience, City Beach is able to leverage its online presence to drive in-store traffic. The site’s ‘Gig Guide’ includes store events, entertainment and celebrity visits.
“The Websphere eCommerce integration project is core to the significant infrastructure changes we are making to support our business. In just 100 days, we launched a new customer call centre, opened an in-house photography & art studio, a new e-store within our warehouse and upgraded our telephony system. These facilities are critical to provide a truly personalised shopping experience.
The IBM WebSphere Commerce platform positions City Beach for future growth as a multi-national business by connecting various shopping channels with its back-office business systems including finance, merchandising, supply chain, enterprise data warehouse and point-of-sale corporate data and systems.” said Paul Downs, CIO at City Beach.
“IBM WebSphere Commerce allows retailers to connect with customers at every point in the purchasing process whether its online, in-store through a social network or even a mobile device,” said Peter Domjen, Director eCommerce, IBM ANZ Software Group. “This personalised customer interaction delivers a new level of intelligence to retailers about their customers shopping habits.”
Update 16 March 2010 – City Beach has also launched their own press release:
LEADING Australian surf, skate and lifestyle fashion retailer City Beach has launched a new online channel set to bolster market share in the ultra competitive youth market.
The nation’s largest surf retailer has partnered with IBM for its new online store to deliver a fresh interactive experience that reflects the vibrant surf and skate culture.
The site citybeach.com.au includes the latest YouTube videos, celebrity blogs, tweets and industry news.
City Beach marketing manager Chris Somerville, says the interactive platform is the perfect way for the brand to stay connected to its loyal customer base and to broaden its global appeal.
“E-commerce in Australia is taking off and City Beach is finding that its best location is online where it is able to extend its reach to new customers and markets,” said Mr Somerville.
“Customers can ‘talk to’ City Beach about fashions and trends. The site also features blog entries to interest our savvy demographic, which are at the cutting edge of fashion, music and what’s fresh on the street. This way, they have a reason to keep coming back.
“This brings connectivity between our burgeoning national market and our buyers. Word of mouth is paramount to any business and in retail, it can make or break you. We want to be a part of the conversation.”
City Beach has transformed its small web presence to become a dominant Australian retail leader. The business will effectively leverage the growing influence of online social networks bringing brand and product discussions back to its site and converting them into transactions.
The retailer is forecasting a modest growth in sales this year as a result of the online channel, set to improve year on year once the site becomes an integral component of its marketing ethos.
Since flicking the switch on citybeach.com.au in November, online traffic has increased by 400 per cent.
“Online trading is at the crossroads in Australia and it’s about to go to the next level,” explained Mr Somerville.
“As far as acceptance, Australia is where the US was six or seven years ago. We are thinking fast and on our feet now. The environment is fast changing and we need to stay with it.”
The site is powered by IBM WebSphere Commerce, implemented by Salmon Asia Pacific.
Paul Downs, Chief Information Officer, with overall responsibility for delivering the new channel said: “The Websphere Commerce project is core to the significant infrastructure changes we are making to underpin business growth and profitability. This platform provides our organization the flexibility to expand both internationally and into new digital channels at an appropriate juncture.”
The retail industry is becoming increasing fragmented and competitive as consumers traverse across multiple channels and researching products online, visiting the store and making purchases through the call centre – making it difficult for retailers to track shopping habits.
By aligning the in-store and on-line shopping experience, City Beach is able to leverage its online presence to drive in-store traffic. The site’s ‘gig guide’ includes store events, entertainment including instore DJs and celebrity visits.
City Beach has 57 stores throughout Australia and is home to iconic brands such as Billabong, etnies, Roxy and Ripcurl. The retailer has opened six stores per year average and is on track to have more than 60 outlets by the end of 2010.
“We have made a massive investment in resources, but it’s an investment in future proofing our business,” said Mr Somerville.