Crew recently invested in HSO’s Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail, not only to support its ambitious strategic growth plans, but also to enable an innovative customer experience and improve efficiency, both in the operational and in the field of inventory management.

Crew Clothing Co. is a British chain of clothing stores specializing in luxury casual wear for men, women and children. In 1995, the first store on New King’s Road in London was opened and the first hand-drawn catalog was sent to just 2,000 customers. Now, 17 years later, there are 76 stores throughout the United Kingdom. Every year, more than 3.2 million catalogs are sent and over 400 people work at Crew.

Challenges for the company

Crew took stock: the company grew rapidly and the visibility of the brand increased, both in stores and on the internet. The management team realized that investments in IT were needed to take the company to a higher level.

Justin Hampshire, financial director of Crew, explains: “Our first priority was to find a partner that focuses on the retail market. With whom we also started working, experience with omnichannel retailing, showing successful completed customer projects and having a highly reliable technical solution were important requirements. ”

Hampshire continues: “Our company had grown rapidly and scalability was an important issue.” For Crew it was important that the ERP solution could be used in three main areas:

  • Inventory management: The existing system offered multiple insights into the total stock, based on call center, store or online system. There was a need for a single accurate overview.
  • Customer satisfaction: With the increase in turnover via internet, the associated problems also increased, as customers who want to return their purchase, want to exchange or want their money back. This worked online differently than in the store. There was a need for a single system that could handle all customer inquiries regardless of the customer’s method.
  • Management information: There was a need for better and faster available management information. The retail sector is a dynamic industry. Offering the right product in the right place at the right price is decisive for the success of Crew.

The solution

Crew chose HSO and Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail because of the combination of functional suitability, knowledge of the retail sector and HSO’s in-depth expertise in the solution. “It was clear what was the best choice for the long term and so it became Microsoft Dynamics AX.”

Hampshire continues: “The other solutions we looked at were also good, but did not have the technical functionality or the management information and insights that Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail can offer us. What also appealed to us was what we called the ‘functional fit’. The software closely matches our daily needs. This functionality, combined with the proven retail experience of HSO, was a win-win-win solution for us. ”

The result

Less than ten months after Crew had opted for HSO, the Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail solution was running. The project was divided into three phases, as Hampshire explains. “The first phase of the implementation focused on management of the customer experience and centralization of inventory management through a single scalable system. In phase two the solution is rolled out in all our 76 stores and in phase three the focus is on the online experience. ”

“Management of the customer experience has led to a strong improvement of the interaction between customers and Crew, whether through the call center, the internet or in the store. We are now able to ensure that the customer has the widest choice in clothing and accessories, regardless of how the customer shops, while personal data can still be collected to build a profile for each individual customer. “