Providing the best customer service has always been French Cuff Boutique’s highest priority. Since 2008, owner Kairy-tate Barkley wanted to create a shopping experience that offered beautiful fashion lines and extraordinary customer service for guests to her clothing store. As the business grew to include three more locations and an online store, French Cuff’s commitment to customer satisfaction has remained steadfast.
A Sudden Change Requires Immediate Action
The online store opened in 2015, with Barkley and social media manager Jessica de Souza insisting on the same high-level of service for their online customers as those who visit their storefront locations. While simple in concept, duplicating it online proved difficult. Inventory updates were cumbersome and time-consuming, which stymied their efforts to offer new collections. Sales came in occasionally, but the people who visited their store showed little interest in exploring their online shop. This led to the assumption that French Cuff’s customers preferred shopping at their street side stores.
When COVID-19 forced Barkley to close her four brick and mortar locations, French Cuff’s customers finally began turning to the online store for their shopping needs and the Barkly and de Souza found that improvements needed to be made in order to reach the level of customer service their customers deserved. Their retail management and POS system had already been established through Retail Pro, but they needed a company to perform the integration with their online retail platform Shopify. They wanted a company that could deliver a fully functioning integration immediately, which led them to Retail Dimensions (RDi). Basing their decision on the project’s plan and the level of professionalism they witnessed during the initial call, the project kicked off in mid-March and one week later their online store relaunched to great success.
French Cuff’s primary and immediate goal was to create an easy to use, inviting online store that would provide an increase sales activity in order to cover the loss experienced at their brick and mortar locations during any type of disruption to business. RDi understood their strong desire to continue the same shopping experience for their customers, as customer service is a core value in our business, as well. Other goals would also be addressed in the plan, including;
- An aesthetically appealing appearance that would reflect the chic, inviting atmosphere experienced at their street side stores.
- An updated presentation of the inventory. The previous platform presented the inventory in a basic catalogue format that did not portray the upscale environment and attention to detail customers had come to expect when shopping at their brick and mortar stores.
- The opportunity to easily offer sales and discounts for the customers.
- An easy data entry process for inventory changes. Under the previous system, the data was entered manually, tying up employees time. There was also the opportunity for mistakes to be made, sales opportunities to be missed, and it was costly and frustrating for management and the employees.
- Speeding up the time it takes to synch updates to the data with their Retail Pro POS system. An automatic “drag and drop” data update system has made this chore that had been cumbersome fast and simple.
- Improved shipping processes in anticipation of an increase in mailed deliveries.
- Options added for the customer, such as delivery mode, specific instructions, and pick up in-store or curbside. This became a top priority during the COVID-19 outbreak but was needed to address disruptions experienced during Houston’s extreme weather occurrences, such as hurricanes.
The Integration Project Begins
During the initial call between de Souza and RDi owner Kurt Beeken, the parameters of the project were decided upon and a fully fleshed out project plan was sent to French Cuff to keep them fully informed throughout the process. It included a step by step rundown of the integration process, how each phase of the process would be linked, a listing of the key players’ contact information for reference, and all the other details that would provide them with full oversight throughout the length of project.
French Cuff management was pleasantly surprised when the project began only a week after the initial planning call. Our tech guru stayed in touch with de Souza throughout the integration on an “as needed” basis, advising them on decisions that needed to be made and guiding them as the project progressed.
Overall, the integration project went extremely well. There were no hiccups along the way. When questions popped up, de Souza could easily reach the RDi tech team to find the answers and updates she needed. However, with a turnaround time of one week from start to finish, there weren’t many unanswered questions.
The magic is in the automatic inventory syncing when an order is processed. It is something that we could never have duplicated on our own.Jessica de Souza
With one week of preparatory work and one week spent on executing the project, Barkley and de Souza were amazed at RDi’s efficiency and feel like their customer expectations were not only met, but exceeded by RDi’s integration team. Within five days of closing all their street side locations they had opened a brand new, smoothly running online store where their customer base could experience the same level of service online that they received at their favorite Houston area location. Today, they are enjoying the results of a seamless transition from the day to day business inside their physical locations, to their busy online store. They see this through;
- A substantial increase in their online sales activity. Their sales numbers began to grow immediately after they launched their new online store. Prior to the integration French Cuff saw occasional online sales activity, but much less than the activity seen at their four physical locations. This was attributed to new shoppers clicking on a specific item found during an internet search that led them to the online store for a one-time purchase. After the integration, regular French Cuff shoppers are finding that shopping online delivers the same satisfaction they are used to receiving when they visit their nearest French Cuff location.
- The time and manpower needed to update and track the online inventory with the inventory at their brick and mortar stores has decreased significantly. The ability to drag and drop images and quickly merge data has provided French Cuff with an edge in how fast the work can be completed.
- The ability to easily offer sales and discounts is now available at all the French Cuff locations, including the online store.
- As a result of the improved efficiency, the French Cuff team has more time to provide the level of customer service their customers are used to at all their stores.
Making the decision to upgrade French Cuff Boutique’s online store with the help of a Retail Dimensions integration has increased their online sales at a time when they need it most. Barkley and de Souza has since found that not only is the online store functioning much better than before, it can now offer the same high-level of customer service their dedicated customers deserve.