Summary
Cath Kidston, the vintage homeware and fashion retailer has improved the service it provides to customers following the implementation of Maginus and Maginus e-Commerce to support the company’s growth.

Maginus has improved efficiency by managing Cath Kidston’s stock control and warehouse environment. The new system enables them to offer customers preferred delivery time slots, improving the customer service offering. Such initiatives have resulted in a 25 per cent reduction of customer complaints and a significant increase in sales.

Maginus eCommerce has provided the website with increased flexibility and consistency. This allows Cath Kidston to increase bandwidth in busy times while ensuring that it only pays for what it needs.

Background
Cath Kidston is a distinctive UK lifestyle brand best known for its cheeky vintage inspired prints and wide array of household and fashion products - from floral china to polka dot bags.

Founded by its namesake in 1992 Cath Kidston is now credited as being one of the most influential and original design companies to emerge in the UK in recent years. Currently there are 30 shops including 3 concessions in the UK, two shops in the Republic of Ireland, seven in Japan and one in Kuwait.

Challenge
Cath Kidston’s continued growth meant it had to look at its IT systems to improve the efficiency of its operations across the organisation and also help it continue to drive the business forward.

The company is focusing on growing its multi-channel efforts. Alongside its UK and Japanese stores, its Mail Order/Call Centre business is undergoing rapid expansion. Cath Kidston sends out a lifestyle magazine/catalogue with up to 200,000 copies per mailing. The business now sees 20 per cent of its multi channel orders placed with the call centre, while 80 per cent are placed on the website which has been recently relaunched. Elsewhere, its wholesale business sells to retail outlets such as John Lewis.

With the business being retail driven it needed technology to control all of these channels, apart from the stores where the technology platform integrates with its current POS solution.

Solution
The business wanted a solution that would support the company as it embarked upon a period of continued growth. Paul Spinks, Managing Director at Cath Kidston, explained, “Our new site will support the business as it continues its expansion. The website needed technology, that will offer better integration between the website and the head office retail system, and we needed a solution that could support our warehouse.”
After a rigorous selection process the retailer selected Maginus. The business went live with Maginus, Maginus eCommerce and hosting services in November 2008 and has 80 users.

Benefits
Maginus has improved how the company manages its stock control and its warehouse environment. Spinks said, “Following the introduction of Maginus we have accurate stock data which is available to all users of the system and on the web site in real time. This ensures that we can give customers accurate information regarding stock availability, which has improved our customer service.”
Cath Kidston has dramatically improved the percentage of orders that can be dispatched on the same day that the order is placed. Also recent stock take results revealed only 0.1 per cent stock loss. This accurate stock data means the business can offer faster dispatch times and different delivery times slots.

Spinks added, “Our picking and packing accuracy has improved dramatically and this means our same day dispatch figures have increased to over 95 per cent. With the new system they can also offer customers a preferred delivery time slot such as; morning, afternoon or evening which has improved customer satisfaction.”

Such initiatives have resulted in a 25 per cent reduction of customer complaints and an improvement in the overall customer experience. Spinks said, “We have a managed customer contact mechanism which includes automated customer contact through both email and paper contact using Maginus ‘batch server’ functionality.”

Maginus eCommerce has provided stability & flexibility to Cath Kidston’s website offering and Maginus also hosts the site & the flexible hosting model. This allows Cath Kidston to increase the bandwidth in busy times and ensuring that it only pays for the bandwidth it needs.

Spinks said, “The previous site used to stop working if there were 400 users, but with Maginus eCommerce we’ve gone through peak times with no drop in performance. The Content Management System within Maginus eCommerce means we can make changes ourselves, which gives us much more flexibility than before and has allowed us to reduce costs.”

This technology is having a big impact upon the day-to-day running of the business. The company now has the flexibility to customise the look and feel of the website, while its peak end of season summer sale orders were dispatched within days.

Spinks said, “The rollout of the technology is crucial in supporting our long-term business plans. We are expecting it to improve the stock replenishment process and we are excited at having more real-time transactional information across the business.”

The business has also managed to reduce costs, particularly in the warehouse, as the system is much slicker and faster than the previous system. This is reflected in the company’s sale figures. The company has achieved significant sales growth in the last year and Maginus has enabled them to manage and handle the growth while dramatically improving customer service. Sales have grown at break-neck pace for Cath Kidston.

The implementation of this technology will help the business as it moves into an exciting new growth phase, allowing key departments to work together and deliver a true multi-channel offering to its customers.

Published on: 9:40AM on 22nd March 2010