New Markets And Better Customer Service Taking Shape at Australia’s No 1 plus-size fashion retailer
Established in 1985, fashion retailer Taking Shape is the market leader in plus-size clothing in Australia and New Zealand. Taking Shape has over 150 stores in Australia and New Zealand. Their range is also sold in leading retailers such as Myer and online at TakingShape.com. In 2021, the company expanded its footprint, launching online in the UK.
Taking Shape had plans to add new fulfillment options like Click and Collect and expand into new markets, but their Order Management System was limited in its capacity to automate processes and integrate with other business critical platforms, including Salesforce Service Cloud. They also needed a system to facilitate their transition away from manual picking and order fulfillment. With warehouses, stores and marketplaces in Australia and New Zealand as well as an upcoming launch in the UK, having an accurate global view of stock was becoming increasingly important.
Fluent Order Management was integrated with Taking Shape’s POS, ecommerce, ERP and warehouse management systems – giving them complete control and oversight over stock, purchases and order fulfillment.
“Since launching with our new platform we have seen our online fulfillment time drop dramatically with all orders dispatched the next day or same day. This has resulted in completed orders being with our last mile delivery partner earlier, and then delivered to the customers approx 2 days earlier than pre-launch”, Krista Diez-Simson, CFO/COO
Easy to use
With a real-time view of inventory, not only can Taking Shape staff find an item for a customer quickly, but customers can also view where stock is online and what’s available, so they’re more likely to complete the sale. “Our store staff work hard to create a great experience for our customers. It was important for us to translate this online. We want our customers to have a great experience regardless of the way they choose to shop with us”, says Cameron Jackson, Head of Digital and Customer Engagement.
“The interface is very simple, and everything is automated which means a lot less overhead. Hundreds of people across the Taking Shape business use the Fluent Order Management System. We all have different skill levels when it comes to technology, but we need our team to focus on providing a great experience to our customers. We don’t want them to be overburdened by technology that they can’t understand”, adds Jackson.
The returns process at Taking Shape is now completely automated through a connection to its warehouse management system. “The warehouse team can now handle things like order cancellations and refunds, in-store staff can easily manage Click & Collect, and customers can see accurate stock levels, including which stores items are available in,” says Jackson.
“Efficiency of our pick/pack team has improved significantly. Wages as a percentage of sales have improved by 58% since launch, which has resulted in us being able to cope with increased volume without additional headcount”, Krista Diez-Simson, CFO/COO
New markets and marketplaces
Taking Shape launched online in the UK in March 2021, during the global pandemic, whilst the country was in lockdown.
“We would never have been able to launch into the UK if we hadn’t had Fluent Order Management in place. We needed a platform that enabled us to route orders to different warehouses, particularly from a global perspective, and be intuitive for our staff to use, as in-person training just wasn’t an option,” says Jackson.
Taking Shape has also launched on the Myer marketplace.
“The Myer project was relatively pain free for us, as we had the ecommerce and Fluent Order Management all set up – it just became an extension to the existing process. The orders flow into the same warehouse to fulfil the order, we simply identify them as a Myer order, put them
in Myer packaging and ship them that way, says Jackson.
Better Customer Service
Taking Shape uses Salesforce Service Cloud as its Customer Support platform, which they were able to quickly integrate with Fluent Order Management by using the Fluent Order Management Connector for Salesforce Service Cloud.
The Connector integrates both inventory and order data between SSC and Fluent Order Management. This means Taking Shape can show customers accurate delivery estimates and in-store pickup availability on product pages and staff can keep customers informed as to where their orders are, which helps to reduce support calls.
“We took on a huge amount of change in 2019, both from a project perspective and change management point of view, but it has given us the opportunity to really push through the global pandemic. We would have struggled immensely on previous technology and had many challenges scaling into other countries, getting our products out to customers and fulfilling the changing needs of our customers. Today, the technology we have implemented not only supports our team members to do the best possible job for our customers, but we’ve built a very solid and agile foundation upon which to grow and scale the business,” concludes Jackson.
“Thanks to an optimized omni-channel fulfillment model leveraging store inventory, our warehouses are processing what would usually take us several days, in a single day. This has made a huge impact on being able to scale into other countries and the speed in which we can process orders”, Cameron Jackson, Head of Digital and Customer Engagement