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Exclusive Q&A: Kendra Scott fast tracks curbside for Mother’s Day

Jim Dunlap
Jim Dunlap

A fast-growing specialty jewelry retailer is integrating omnichannel transactions into its order management system for efficient curbside pickup.

Chain Store Age recently interviewed Jim Dunlap, CIO of Kendra Scott, about the retailer’s efforts to quickly stand up a curbside pickup program as stores are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kendra Scott also needed to roll out its curbside program in time for Mother’s Day, an important peak period for the retailer.

What made Kendra Scott decide to implement curbside pickup?
Our brick-and-mortar locations are an incredibly pivotal part of our business, not just from a transaction side but from the engagement side. Following the ripple effects of COVID-19, Kendra Scott transitioned to more digital interactions with customers, launching new virtual activations to maintain engagement and philanthropic connection with its large customer base.

This led us to the curbside pick-up and the buy-online, pickup-in-store (BOPIS) offering. The newest initiative we fast-tracked demonstrates Kendra Scott’s commitment to its customers and community, allowing us to get closer to the customer during a time when they can’t shop us in-store as they traditionally would. Especially ahead of Mother’s Day, an important peak period for us, we wanted to give our customers an option that was quick and convenient for their shopping needs.

Why did you select Manhattan Associates?
In August 2019, we launched Manhattan Associates’ order management system (OMS) for its robust omnichannel capabilities that gives us the flexibility to quickly respond and scale our business in response to customer demands. The Manhattan OMS orchestrates and executes the complete fulfillment lifecycle for customer orders from any channel – which is an important need in our business going forward. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that retailers need true omnichannel systems that are easily adaptable, enabling the fluid shift of inventory and orders between channels.

What type of back-end realignment was needed to support curbside on the customer side?To improve the customer shopper experience when enabling curbside, BOPIS and in-store traffic, the OMS required additional information, such as store sales, to be able to interact with the e-commerce website and give the customer the best view of products available to purchase. Because its store order fulfillment capabilities allow the same picking process for curbside and ship from store on the same solution, this also eases any change management and training for the store associates to be able to complete fulfilment.

How were you able to achieve rollout at eight stores in nine days?
We could not have rolled out ship-from-store and curbside pick-up in nine days if we did not have the new OMS integrated and our 3PL running. The OMS delivers inventory visibility and enables reallocation, which allows us to shift order volume when turning on ship-from-store, curbside or BOPIS.

When our Austin (Texas) distribution center switched to minimum basic operations as a result of COVID-19, we quickly huddled our team with Manhattan Associates to find a solution that we could implement immediately and landed on ship-from-store. From there, we worked quickly to get select stores set-up for fulfillment, which included manually loading store inventory.

We started piloting orders within days and successfully went live at 8 stores. Since then, we have quickly expanded fulfillment to other stores and introduced curbside pick-up in all 23 Kendra Scott Texas stores and beyond as new local and state ordinances shift. 

What are your future plans for curbside?
We’ve been very pleased with the response from our customers on curbside pick-up and along with rolling that out to other locations, we’re looking forward to launching buy online, pick-up in store in select locations starting next week. We’re working very carefully to make sure all of these offerings follow recommended state guidelines for health and safety precautions of our customers and employees and plan to continue to expand to new stores as it’s safe to do so.

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