Along with our partners Style Arcade, we recently had the absolute pleasure of catching up with Emma Filliponi, Head of eCommerce and Marketing at Blue Bungalow, a women's fashion brand based in Queensland, Australia. They're not just a clothing company though - they put the emphasis on giving confidence to their customers through what they wear, and being a 'friend in fashion'. Pretty awesome stuff for a business that has tripled in size, expanded internationally, and opened new offices and warehouses in the past 2 years.
Staying on trend, designing high quality, affordable garments, building an engaged community AND shipping every order with speed and precision have kept the Blue Bungalow team pretty busy, mind...
Describe the journey the company has been on over the last few years as you’ve built up the brand. What have been the major developments or milestones?
It's been a beautiful journey of learnings and success over the last few years. We've had multiple head office and warehouse moves due to fast growth. We've successfully entered into the New Zealand market with a standalone website. We've felt the effects of a global pandemic, both positive and negative, but most importantly have been able to quickly pivot to meet the market, which has involved completely changing product and marketing strategy. We still feel like we've only just started so there is a lot more to come.
What is at the core of the business? What do you care about most of all?
As cliche as it sounds, our customer is the core of the business. Their buying and onsite journey behaviours are influencing our product, ranging and communication decisions on a daily basis. We actually don't think of ourselves as a fashion retailer. Taking the 'fashion' out of decisions allows us to give our customers exactly what they are wanting, because do you know what, sometimes the least fashionable products are core volume drivers.
On working with Style Arcade:
What challenges were you facing that led you to look at technology as a solution? What problems were you looking to solve?
Many. Software solutions have transformed every area of our business to improve efficiencies and fast track our growth (enter the likes of PVX for our warehouse operations and Unbxd for onsite search and merchandising intelligence for example). We were still exporting to excel to make buying and replenishment decisions. The lack of visuals to support the text attributes slowed decision making and weakened the creative element. Excel might work sufficiently well for seasoned merchandise planners, however we needed a technology which supported strategic functions cross departmentally.
Speed to access data is crucial for eCommerce decision making. Marketing plays a different role in eCommerce structures compared with traditional bricks and mortar retailers. They need on the pulse access to sales performance and future orders. Technology has moved beyond weekly excel exports.
How has Style Arcade helped Blue Bungalow since implementation? Has there been time/money savings and/or increased productivity?
The biggest impact has been speed in identifying sales trends which have no simple way of surfacing in an excel format. We can identify gaps, and anyone can simply slice the data, without any advanced excel skills required. One of the big challenges we faced pre implementation was the importance of retained knowledge within our buying team. New recruits were handicapped and onboarding was taking longer than it needed to.
What’s the main reasons you would recommend Style Arcade?
Instant access to size curves by product, real time data with the benefit of visual reference - an undervalued asset by those who are used to going without - and a platform which will be used cross departmentally for maximum benefit.
And their experience with Peoplevox for managing their warehouse:
Can you recall a time when the volume of orders you were receiving on a daily basis was starting to overwhelm the team? What was the point when you knew a change needed to be made in your fulfilment and warehouse processes?
Vividly. We grew quickly and were so focussed on not slowing that down, operational improvements didn't rise to the surface until things got bad. We were dealing with a concerning number of parcels going out with incorrect products, messy inventory, lack of automation and an increasing number of man power hours dedicating to fixing problems in our warehouse. This dawned on us at the very start of peak season a few years ago. We'd grown too big for the manual intervention and needed a fix geared for eCommerce.
How did you come across Peoplevox, what were your initial impressions, and what made you decide to go with us?
Research & a very convincing head of sales led us to Peoplevox. Seeing that some of the most innovative and fast growing eCommerce players were already using the technology took a lot of the uncertainty out of the equation. Our first impression was that PVX was potentially too 'enterprise' for the size we were. Given our growth trajectory, we knew it would be a sound investment to allow us to scale effectively. With speed, agility and innovation being most important to our business, partnering with specialists in each area rather than implementing a clunky ERP was a strategic decision PVX fit perfectly into.
Since ‘going live’ with Peoplevox, what were the immediate improvements in the warehouse, and how have you grown since then? Have there also been more ‘long term’ benefits to having a scalable warehouse management system as part of your operation?
The list is long. Our inventory accuracy has transformed, efficiencies within the pick/pack function have allowed us to maximise time, data flows almost seamlessly from our eComm platform, through to PVX, then through to our shipping platform to deliver a superior customer experience. In the time since we went live with PVX, the business has tripled in size.
Long may that exciting growth continue! For more on Style Arcade, Australia's leading software for range planning and fashion analytics, you can check our their website.
And you can read more Peoplevox success stories and customer testimonials here.