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Creating value for Customer’s Customer...

Creating value for Customer’s Customer...

E-commerce squared

The client, a leading provider of end-to-end e-commerce solutions, is a developer and operator of online retailing and direct response marketing businesses for over 50 clients in the US market. These include retailers, branded manufacturers, media companies and professional sports organizations. Its platform includes website design and development, e-commerce technology, customer service, fulfillment, buying and merchandising, content development and management, online and database marketing, and product development. Given the unique context of a B2B2C organization, with the client helping enable online retailers and HCL in turn, providing services to them; the challenges were both specialized and magnified.

Lone ranger

The main issue with the client was that it did not work in tandem with a partner or service provider – this created logistical problems and a longer service cycle for their clients. The Turn-around Time (TAT) needed to be reduced while the B2C e-commerce solution needed to be scalable, customizable and easily maintainable so that the customer website launches could be easily handled. Ultimately, the solution needed to deliver value to the end customer – i.e. the online retailer, in terms of enhanced branding on the web and revenue generation from the web stores. This demanded not just development of a web store order management and order fulfillment/ tracking systems respectively, but also their seamless integration in order to operate smoothly.

The key components of their functioning were catalogue management, order management, and customer relationship management, with the first being a core process, the second in the nature of a logistical element and the last focused on the actual process of purchase and follow-up. It was imperative that the solution be built quickly, dispatched soon, and offered a quick scale-up besides being flexible and involving low maintenance.

Partnering the client

This was truly a multi-level approach in many ways. The approach to the problem needed to factor in the requirements of every level – the client, their clients and the end user. HCL’s expertise in e-commerce frameworks and intellectual properties proved to be a huge strength in this area. In addition, the rapid speed of solutions delivery also brought vigor to the engagement.

The focus was on supporting the client’s applications through robust design and architecture which helped to link the back-end systems to the web store order processing systems. Developing the Catalogue Management System for maintaining product-related data, web store for B2C orders and Customer Relationship Management and integrating them with the existing Order Management System were the first two phases of a three-step process. The last phase required customization of JDA MMS – the backbone of the Order Management System – to cope with the requirements of the new integrated systems. In addition, the Master Data Management Applications were re-engineered as well.

The delivery

Several applications were chosen and deployed in order to implement the solution. Integration of these in order to ensure a seamless inter-departmental functioning was of the utmost importance as well. In addition, a suitable framework and architecture needed to be put in place to allow not just functioning at the current level, but also leave room for a rapid ramp up as required. This was made possible using specific Frameworks, Tools, and Retail Packages.

And the benefits...

The client registered a significant value delivery after the solution was implemented. With 99.5% application availability, downtime was slashed to virtually zero and the seamless integration of all three critical programmes: Catalogue Management/ Order Management and Customer Relationship Management, which were based on different languages, made the functioning far more flexible and easily scalable. The high availability of web stores in production environment helped the client in focusing its energies on acquiring new customers, thereby aiding in the client’s phenomenal growth in the last two years.

Category-based catalogues including store navigation, content management, promotions, images, top sellers, product customizations and product reviews were developed, which enhanced the user experience multifold. This was further boosted through new features like parametric search and navigation, estimated time to deliver, store locator and other value additions to the end user, and the client was able to leverage the concisely compiled customer data and information through business analytics for effective implementation of features like cross selling, up selling, price and promotion handling. All of these registered under the profit head in terms of revenue increase from a base of US $ 600 million to US $ 1 billion.

Moving along...

The relationship with the client, which has directly had a tangible positive impact on client’s profits, is projected to increase fivefold in purely quantitative terms alone. Qualitatively, we continue to collaborate in order to develop the best possible solutions for the client, to further add business value to the process.

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