Fashion, Apparel & Accessories
Inside Forever New’s Omnichannel Revolution
Omnichannel is the new black
Founded in Melbourne, Australia, in 2006, Forever New is known for their effortlessly wearable and timeless collections. Each Forever New collection is designed in Australia with a unique blend of seasonal trends, feminine silhouettes, and of-the-moment detailing, giving customers the confidence to feel beautiful in every moment. It was this vision that powered Forever New to become one of Australia’s fastest growing fashion brands, with more than 200 retail and concession stores worldwide, and a thriving eCommerce operation.
Forever New (which trades in North America under the name Ever New) had experienced phenomenal growth on Magento Commerce 1, but had a vision for delivering a superior omnichannel experience. They needed to split orders fulfilled from multiple locations, a better allocation rules engine, and real-time inventory updates. They also wanted to create a global platform to create better efficiencies like speed to market and scalability. In 2018, they decided to upgrade to Magento Commerce 2 with Magento Order Management.
Magento offers the flexibility and scalability to deliver on Forever New’s vision for global expansion and a best-in-class Omnichannel customer experience.Carolyn Mackenzie
Managing Director, Forever New
“Pick fails” are a thing of the past
Forever New’s solution partner, Aligent Consulting, got straight to work, integrating a comprehensive set of business systems with Magento Commerce. These included their ERP (Retail Directions RMS), PIM (Akeneo), POS (Retail Directions SMS and a Magento Commerce customized storefront), WMS (Accellos), CRM (Emarsys), as well as their data warehouse, custom image management system, and product lifecycle management systems. The extensive APIs provided by Magento Commerce 2 and Magento Order Management allowed for a simple integration using a contemporary industry-standard middleware tool (they used Mulesoft). Hosting on the Magento Commerce cloud removed any worry about optimizing and maintaining their global hosting solution.
Forever New had a vision of rapid and seamless fulfillment for their customers, backed by total access to their inventory across the whole organization. A total omnichannel experience would be a key differential for their consumers in a crowded market full of pure-play and international vendors. Magento Commerce 2 delivered a wide variety of fulfillment options, including Ship-From-Store (all stores can now have orders routed to them by default, and any store can opt-out at certain times). Split Shipments help when inventory is not located in a single store or warehouse. And “pick fails” are now handled elegantly with “hop” logic, ensuring that even complicated orders are delivered. Forever New Online customers can choose In-Store Pickup, while Endless Aisle allows orders to ship from other stores or warehouses. Meanwhile, Buy-Online-Return-in-Store improves customer confidence, and increases in-store foot traffic.
Thanks to Magento Order Management, Forever New can sell every SKU currently held in every location, on every channel. Endless Aisle and public web sales draw from stock holdings in physical stores and warehousing, while marketplaces have alternate inventory allocation rules suitable to their shipping requirements. Adding a new store to the inventory pool can be completed within 15 minutes. This has halved the rate of short pick order cancellations, positively impacting total online revenue. Additionally, in-store staff can now access inventory from the entire network.
The apparel industry is notorious for high rates of returns, so Forever New paid particular attention to minimizing it, and the associated cost. They made extensive investments in product photography and video (including on-body and alternative views) and descriptive content regarding product sizing. Customers were also provided with a fully automated self-service portal within Magento Commerce to exchange a purchased item for an alternative size. The replacement item is dispatched after receiving the return without any input from Forever New’s customer service team, significantly reducing operational costs.
A backend that means business
After selecting key solutions and partners in February 2018, the store’s first go-live was September 6, 2018. Straight away, they achieved a number of key improvements: The time for orders to reach the warehouse for picking has been reduced from 1.5 hours to 30-45 mins. The timeliness of inventory updates across all channels has been reduced to 15 minutes, while the percentage of orders resulting in short-pick failure has been dramatically reduced. “Magento Commerce delivered the right mix of automation and efficiency that is essential for scalability and cost management, combined with unlimited control to personalize and optimize,” said Jonathan Day, Founder, Aligent Consulting.
Omnichannel has delivered outstanding results to the business, and to the consumer. Delivery times and success rates have significantly improved, inventory utilization and visibility have increased across the whole network, and customers and in-store staff can access a much broader range of products. Staff adoption of the new omnichannel tools has been excellent, and customers have responded to the wider availability (combined with other frontend enhancements) with a significant lift in online conversion rates. A key win was the ability to change the Warehouse Management System only three months after the original Magento Commerce and Order Management go-live.
The Buy-Online-Return-In-Store feature for the New Zealand market has given customers greater confidence to purchase online, and also provided opportunities for attachment sales – that’s when a customer arrives in-store to return a skirt and spontaneously buys three dresses. Founded on this success, Forever New plans to roll-out more stores on Magento Commerce in next 12 to 24 months, with an ambition to lead the Australian charge in the global fashion industry.
Magento is the bedrock to our digital growth plans.Carolyn Mackenzie
Managing Director, Forever New