Omnichannel in 18 Months: the Boutique Marie Claire Story
4 brands, 300+ stores, but zero digital plan?
The first Marie Claire boutique opened in Saint-Hyacinthe, a city in southwestern Quebec, in 1965. From that day, the boutique was dedicated to selling clothes inspired by European trends. Five decades later, the brand had become Canada’s third largest women’s clothing retailer with more than 300 retail stores. But remarkably, they had no online presence. If you wanted a new dress from Marie Claire, you needed to visit a store. Then, in 2015, Marie Claire decided to join the digital revolution. They wanted to grow from a brick-and-mortar business into a powerful eCommerce operation.
Their plan was ambitious: convert their four clothing brands, all of their physical stores, numerous loyalty programs, and thousands of customers into to an omnichannel experience – managed by an agile team from a single, centralized platform. Absolunet, a Magento Enterprise Solution Partner made the case for Magento Commerce. After much research, Marie Claire agreed that the platform offered the flexibility to support their future needs.
Most importantly, Marie Claire needed to efficiently manage multiple brands without duplicating effort or costs. They also had a clear vision of the brand-specific omnichannel environment it wanted to build, and how they would integrate their in-store and online experiences. All this would need to integrate seamlessly with the company’s internal systems and teams. Their 18-month journey into the digital age began in August of 2015.
"Going digital while protecting our customer relationships was critical. One month in, eCommerce was already 4% of sales for our biggest brand."
VP of eCommerce, Boutique Marie Claire
Omnichannel, right out-of-the-box.
The company’s omnichannel retail strategy started by integrating a custom-built ERP system to source all pricing and inventory data. Combined with the ShipHero extension, Marie Claire implemented Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) shipping and fulfillment in all 300 stores—offering shipping for the first time in the brand’s history. The key to managing this new part of the business was the ability to allocate inventory for online orders, and to ship products between stores for customer pick-up.
Marie Claire and Absolunet worked tirelessly to bring the look and feel of their successful in-store experiences to digital. They built all four branded sites with the same core capabilities, with the flexibility to customize the front end and make each unique. The user experience was driven by an intuitive navigation process designed for customers who may be unused to online shopping, with Live Chat from Zendesk Chat for customers who need active support. Shop the Look capabilities provided by Komes allow customers to browse by individual looks, see product details, and purchase multiple items from a specific look. All these extensions were readily available on the Magento Marketplace.
And what about those brand-specific customer loyalty programs? Marie Claire Customers purchase loyalty cards which they can use in-store or online, and though each loyalty program is displayed uniquely to customers, all are managed through the same out-of-box capabilities offered by Magento Commerce. This was critical to the brand’s shift to digital.
Year 2: A 40% increase in conversion.
In 2016, the company launched ‘Le Grenier,’ ‘Marie Claire, San Francisco,’ and ‘Marie Claire, France,’ all within the period of a few months. This instantly gave their customers more options – from how they shop, to how they pay, and how they receive their products.
Marie Claire succeeded in converting their current customers to omnichannel by creating an on-brand digital experience that felt like the in-store experience they loved. Customers also enjoyed the added flexibility and convenience of buying online: Conversions soared by 40 percent, and the Average Order Value increased by 30 percent. Soon Marie Claire was shipping 1,500 products every week, and had become a serious eCommerce fashion house ready for the next 60 years.
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"After year one, we had surpassed the banks’ independent revenue forecasts."
VP of eCommerce, Marie Claire