Kohl’s saw online sales increase by 28% during Q2 2013, following the retailer’s transition to Oracle Commerce. The e-Commerce site, in addition to an implementation of Endeca, an unstructured data management, web commerce and business intelligence solution, has enabled the retailer to create a more personalized online shopping journey for consumers.
Oracle Commerce had all of the elements Kohl’s required to ensure best customer experience, such as more advanced search engine capabilities and the opportunity to create more mobile-friendly interactions, according to Ratnakar Lavu, SVP of Digital Innovation for Kohl's. Endeca also helped segment online shoppers based on their browsing and buying behaviors, and create an individualized site experience.
Lavu shared insights regarding how the Oracle solutions have helped Kohl’s boost online sales and improve customer engagement and loyalty during the recent Oracle OpenWorld 2013 event.
Oracle Commerce is designed to help retailers automate and customize the online buying experience. However, the implementation also will help accelerate other initiatives Kohl’s has planned. The retailer announced in its Q2 2013 earnings call that approximately 200 of its 1,155 brick-and-mortar stores will incorporate ship-from-store capabilities by the end of 2013. During 2014, Kohl’s also will introduce an in-store pickup model for orders placed online.
These more flexible delivery options were planned to help Kohl’s keep pace with consumers’ omnichannel behaviors. For example, in-store kiosks already account for one in 10 online orders, and 95% of online order returns go to brick-and-mortar stores.
Although Kohl’s already had a “very lean model” with “very good” customer service within its stores, Lavu explained that traditional buying patterns have changed. As consumers transition across various channels throughout their browsing and buying journeys, they are expecting quality and consistent customer service.
However, creating the same level of consistency across all channels is becoming more challenging, Lavu added. “Every retailer is trying to figure out how to make sure the customer experience is great across all of those channels and that you don’t damage the relationship at one point or another.”
Creating A 360-Degree Experience
With Oracle, Kohl’s can create a more relevant and engaging online shopping experience. Creating a 360-degree view of all customers, the new e-Commerce platform also enables the retailer to identify which marketing tools and tactics customers respond most favorably to. In addition, Kohl’s can receive detailed insights on overall product and inventory mix.
“If you can build the right architecture and the right framework,” Lavu said, “you should be able to provide those customer experiences, no matter what the next interaction is.”
The Oracle Commerce implementation was completed in approximately 13 months. The larger IT transformation and optimization process has taken approximately three years so far, Lavu reported, and likely will continue for another three to five. He noted that it wouldn’t be possible without the “right level of investment.”