Douglas Hollinger, Vice President, Strategic Commerce Consulting

 

What does your company do?

PFS [IRDX VPFS] is a commerce services business combining integrated technologies, professional services and a worldwide network of systems and logistics capabilities to deliver global commerce solutions for leading retailers and brands. The company works with customers at every point of the commerce lifecycle from strategic consultancy through to trading, fulfilment and call centre support. Projects range from strategic analysis identifying business opportunities, outlining digital roadmaps and operational efficiencies through to analysis of consumers’ online and omnichannel experiences.

PFS is solution agnostic, with strong and longstanding partnerships with the major enterprise commerce platform providers, which results in the best technologies being utilised for each digital build or omnichannel implementation.

WHAT IS YOUR USP?

Historically, PFS built up its business by offering digital marketing, logistics and call center services and even operating commerce channels on behalf of retailers and online businesses. This operational experience has resulted in a world-class understanding of the daily challenges facing retailers and the longer-term shifts in the retail landscape and technologies. We bring a pragmatic and realistic view of what technology, people and operational processes can achieve. Sometimes we challenge what customers are trying to do, with a view to ensuring their ongoing success. This consultative approach informs how the company engages with every project, be it a competitor benchmark or full-service end-to-end commerce implementation. The company’s global footprint enables it to reduce the steep learning curve that customers could go through if expanding into new markets and geographies alone.

“PFS is a commerce services company that leverages years of experience building, operating, and scaling digital businesses globally, enabled by technologies and services that help our clients succeed in a rapidly evolving marketplace.”

WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?

PFS works with leading retailers and global brands based predominantly in the US, UK and Western Europe. These include The Entertainer, Burberry, The White Company, HP, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Columbia, L’Oreal, Movado, ASICS and LEGO.

As well as advising customers on global expansions, the company is seeing a growing shift of brands and CPG companies moving into new areas and business models as they expand to a direct model of selling to consumers. Among retailers, there are many questions still around omnichannel investment and branding in a market where the pace of evolution keeps accelerating.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE CHALLENGES FOR RETAILERS OVER THE COMING YEAR?

Changes in consumer thinking and shopping behaviour is escalating the need for retailers to evaluate their place in the market, how they add value to their customers and differentiate themselves from the competition. The traditional retail industry is struggling with its value to the consumer and how to solve the issues around standing out in a crowded market often driven by discounting. This re-evaluation is resulting in better consumer experiences, often at a personal level across digital and stores, as retailers implement omnichannel services.

The makeup of many store estates is changing too as is the look and feel of individual stores as digital technologies are implemented to open up a full view of stock and customer history to store associates. Mobile technology is putting that same information directly into the hands of consumers.

Much of the work behind omnichannel services though is structural and operational rather than digital and this is where PFS’s deep background in commerce operations comes to the fore.

HOW ARE YOU PREPARED TO MEET THESE CHALLENGES?

PFS has an end-to-end view of retail and is proactive in highlighting issues which may arise downstream in other areas of the business when making changes in another. We can guide customers through the questions that need to be asked when scoping a problem or removing friction.

Solutions do not necessarily come from within the retail industry. A global footprint means we can bring in lessons from other industries or regions to accelerate learning for retailers in another area.

This is true of technology too. PFS works with the major platform providers including Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware), SAP Hybris, Oracle, Magento and IBM as well as having pre-built integrations for payments, fraud, order management and customer service. As the market shifts, we continually investigate new ways of working and technologies so that we are better able to advise on the right priorities for retailers while tying that back into specific business problems with measurable outcomes.

This Company Spotlight was produced by InternetRetailing and paid for by PFS. Funding articles in this way allows us to explore topics and present relevant services and information that we believe our readers will find of interest.

Customer Case Study

Barbour’s quintessential British style and excellent quality clothing are renowned over the world. With a presence in over 40 countries, the brand has grown to sell over 2000 products designed for a stylish and functional wardrobe. Barbour continues to evolve as a lifestyle brand while embracing and honouring its rich heritage that dates back to 1894.

To support their online growth and to improve their customer interaction, Barbour were on the lookout for a partner who had consumer experience at the heart of its strategy combined with expertise in fashion retail and seamless technical delivery capabilities. PFS were well positioned to respond to their needs, by helping them drive innovation into their ecommerce platform, and by optimising their brand engagement channels. With Barbour’s customer journey metrics in hand, PFS were able to analyse and address the brand’s pain points and come up with a strategy that would improve usability and the overall customer experience.

The user interface was updated and the site boasted a new design with a more engaging navigation experience. Strategic, functional and configuration changes enabled the platform to scale to accommodate the highest seasonal online peaks and give the brand an optimal foundation for future commerce capabilities with the most innovative features. PFS looked at how the internal team used the platform and armed them with the right tools to optimise the platform’s functionalities and ensure a smooth commerce venture for Barbour in the long run.

The new website was launched in less than 6 months and proved to be the ideal stepping stone for greater B2C and B2B service. Providing customers with a quicker path to purchase saw the brand’s overall site conversion increase to 38% YOY. Mobile and tablet device navigation were improved to reduce clicks within the customer journey from product selection to checkout and to boost overall product visibility. As a result, the brand has seen its mobile conversion increase to 70% and its tablet conversion to 34%. Barbour now owns a strong relationship with their digital customers and benefits from increased margins and upsell capabilities. The overall solution implemented by PFS allows for a robust but flexible commercial model that can support Barbour’s omnichannel growth and limitless innovation.


PFS IN BRIEF

Date launched: Established in the US in 1994. Launched in Europe in 1999 and the UK in 2014.

Global reach: PFS has a global reach working from 15 locations in the US, Europe and India.

Turnover: US$288m in FY2015.

Customers: Over 170 world-class brands including P&G, Diageo, Lego, L’Oréal and Pandora.

Employees: ~2,600

Partners: PFS is a solution-agnostic provider working globally with the leading enterprise platforms including Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, SAP, Magento, IBM and Oracle ATG. In the UK market, the company also partners with Qubit, Amplience, Monetate, Tealium, Adyen, InRiver, Bazaarvoice, Rackspace and Mirakl.

Contact: For further information contact PFS at www.pfsweb.com, via Twitter @PFSweb, Facebook www.facebook.com/PFSweb/ or telephone 020 3475 4000.

 

Mentioned in this piece…

PFS

PFS

IRDX: VPFS

PFS is an ecommerce solutions provider with omni-channel ecommerce solutions. (more…)