customers

Samantha Gadd on why great customer experiences start with great employee experiences

A vital element in delivering a great customer experience is your employee experience. If your people feel good about their work, that transfers to all their interactions with customers. So, what exactly is employee experience and why is it important?

T2 Tea selects Triquestra to unify brand experiences and power global expansion

Premium tea retailer will modernise its retail operations to give customers seamless experiences using our Infinity unified commerce platform

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We’re thrilled to announce that Unilever's retail tea business, T2 Tea, has selected Triquestra as its strategic partner for the transformation of its retail system.

T2’s goal is to create immersive and frictionless experiences for customers across online, in-store and mobile channels.

Infinity will be installed as T2’s point of sale with the power to create a central hub for the brand’s inventory and customer loyalty across eCommerce, wholesale and a growing global footprint of over 100 stores across APAC, Europe and North America.

A key factor in T2’s decision was Infinity’s maturity – it’s a proven unified commerce platform that will scale and adapt to shifting consumer expectations and new technologies and give T2 the flexibility to quickly extend support to new stores, channels and markets.

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Established in Melbourne in 1996, T2 Tea is a premium tea brand that prides itself on quality products that are beautifully packaged and presented through engaging and immersive in-store experiences. In addition to its global retail outlets, T2 operates a thriving wholesale business selling teas to restaurants, cafes, gourmet food stores and airlines, and has eCommerce channels spanning direct to consumer (t2tea.com), marketplaces and wholesaler third-party sites.

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We will support T2 in all areas of retail operations and management, including point of sale, inventory, customer data, order management and loyalty. Infinity will integrate with T2’s other technology solutions, including Oracle NetSuite, Salesforce Commerce Cloud for eCommerce, and HighJump Warehouse Advantage for warehouse management.


Integration of in-store and online channels

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“To keep pace with new technologies and changing consumer demands, we decided to bring everything together with a unified commerce strategy,” says Rohan Penman, T2’s Global Head of Technology.

“Following an in-depth software review process, we selected Triquestra as our strategic partner to help achieve that vision. Triquestra already supports retailers with a strategy of omnichannel innovation and provides best-in-class products and processes, a broad unified commerce portfolio and a referenceable track record of success with multi-store retailers across multiple geographies.

“Infinity will give us a single hub for our channels, reducing integration complexity and manual overheads, while increasing efficiency and accuracy,” Rohan adds. “It will also be our platform for growth and innovation, helping us to deliver evolutionary innovations that will accelerate our business agility and competitive advantage.”


Immersive and frictionless customer experiences

Our CEO, Kelly Brown, explains: “T2 shares our vision, with a single-minded focus on creating immersive and personalised experiences for customers. It has mastered the art of creating magical in-store experiences, through storytelling and adventurous in-store displays that encourage visitors to discover and experiment.”

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“We’re looking forward to supporting T2 in its next phase of growth as the company harnesses new technologies that help to put innovation at the core of everything they do.”

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A springboard for innovation

T2’s transition to Infinity will be a phased approach that starts in Australia and New Zealand and extends to Singapore, North America and Europe. Infinity will provide point of sale and a central hub for inventory and customer data to give customers ‘endless aisle’ access to T2’s entire inventory from any channel or touchpoint, as well as new payment options and fulfilment services such as click-and-collect and ship-from-store.


If you’d like help to unify your brand experiences, get in touch. We’d love to chat about how Infinity can help you create personalised and frictionless experiences for customers across all channels.

How to turn the ‘try before you buy’ returns trend into profitable growth

How to turn the ‘try before you buy’ returns trend into profitable growth

Returns are the new normal. And how you deal with them – before and after purchase – can differentiate your brand, give you a competitive advantage and even make you more profitable. Here’s how to tackle the returns challenge and delight your customers with new ‘try before you buy’ services.

People, partnerships and innovation: Why we introduced agile to Triquestra

Faster time to market, quality customer experiences, engaged employees and disruptive competitive advantages – each of these core business goals can be boosted with agile working.

Kelly Brown - CEO of Triquestra

Kelly Brown - CEO of Triquestra

I spoke with Kelly Brown, Triquestra’s CEO, about the business case for agile and how it helps retailers tackle their most pressing problems to deliver value for their customers and people.

For more on becoming an agile retailer, see our earlier blogs on why retailers should adopt agile and why you need both stability and agility to innovate.


What made you first pursue agile working?

KB: We started agile in 2016 with four business goals: High quality software, fast product delivery, energised and engaged people, and tight client partnerships.

Agile has helped us meet all of these objectives. It has improved the way we innovate to deliver products faster and better, and we adapt more quickly to market demands. Plus our team and clients have been impressed by what we’ve achieved together so quickly.

While many of agile’s benefits are well understood, its impact on both internal and external partner relationships is sometimes less appreciated.

People often talk about building ‘partnerships’ with their customers but aren’t clear on what that actually means. When you think about any relationship, you don't expect it to go well all the time. Things do go wrong and when that happens, the key question you’ll have to ask yourself is: ‘Do we have the same goals and will we collaborate to fix the problem?’

If your customer relationship goes bad every time something goes wrong, then it’s not really a relationship. It’s a transaction.

Agile changes the engagement from transactional to collaborative. It’s a completely different way of working together.


What can retailers do to move from transactional to collaborative partnerships?

KB: For agile to succeed, both parties have to play an active part in building a successful collaboration. This is done by focusing on shared success, continuous learning and iterative processes. Our clients not only achieved this with the Triquestra team, but within their own organisations by bringing their own business and technology teams closer together.

These business stakeholders are now highly involved in every stage of our product development. The work is delivered by self-organising and cross-functional teams selected from across each client’s organisation and the Triquestra team.

And they operate as one team. Everyone jointly sets the goals, agrees what’s in or out of scope, makes decisions as one team and equally shares in project success.


What were some key learnings from your move to agile?

KB: One of our biggest learnings was that although agile is perceived to be totally flexible, it’s not. The process is actually very rigid and disciplined. Once you put agile methodologies in place, your build becomes automated, like a factory.

But scope, priorities and mindset with that methodology – is really flexible. And that’s what generates all the innovation, agility and value.

Mostly it comes down to ‘being’ agile rather than ‘doing’ agile.

And we are constantly working on how to take both our processes and thinking to the next level. Our commitment to continuous learning has seen us recently engage experts at Fr@nk Innovation and Transformation to help us with current best practice and continually evolve our approach.


What else needed to change?

KB: The impact on people is profound and your culture will need to change. While we were fortunate to start with a flat management structure and diverse team, it can be challenging for people to move to small, self-managing teams.

We found that some people find it easy to adapt to agile and some people don’t. It comes down to each individual’s willingness and desire to embrace change.

Agile isn’t for everyone. Some people just don’t like change or prefer to be task driven. We found that the most successful people take the attitude: ‘I'm empowered, I can get this done’ and ask what they need to do to succeed in their role and help others do the same.

Another big learning was how to select and deploy the systems and technologies you need to support agile working. Agile teams need high visibility and regular communication and this can put pressure on traditional time, tracking, financial and management systems.


What are the successes you’ve had with agile?

KB: It’s no coincidence that the winning retail brands we support – such as Z Energy, Cue Clothing and Fonterra’s Farm Source – are the clients using agile with us.

With a deep knowledge of each client’s business needs and very close working relationships, we’re delivering higher quality products with valuable features, faster.

Agile has also transformed our culture. Our people are more engaged, energised and, generally, far happier. Because we’ve adopted agile, our teams are empowered to make the best calls on products and services, they achieve things faster, and their relationships with clients are better.

That has improved our staff retention and talent attraction. In a recent internal survey, almost everyone said that they would recommend working at Triquestra.

Another exciting outcome is that our clients recommend us to others and nominate us for awards. For example, we were thrilled when a panel of industry experts assembled by Inside Retail awarded us runner-up 2019 Supplier of the Year.


What are the benefits retailers can anticipate if they move to agile?

KB: Our clients tell us they enjoy the same benefits we’ve experienced. Their teams are happier and more productive, with better engagement and retention, they have greater connections between their business and IT teams (and the Triquestra team), they spend less time testing and get products to market faster. And their customers are getting innovative new experiences, faster.

One client reduced its regression and UAT testing by 50 percent. That’s a massive saving in time and effort, which has driven down costs and is helping to meet evolving market and business demands.


What are the most common questions you get from retailers considering the move?

KB: All clients want to know if agile is going to cost them more. While upfront costs can increase, our clients’ internal costs dramatically decrease, resulting in overall cost savings. And the improved time to market means that they are unlocking revenue increases or cost savings faster, re-balancing the return on investment equation.

For example, the retailer I just mentioned acknowledged that while agile was going to result in more upfront spending on product development, this would be more than offset by those downstream savings they’ve achieved through reduced testing.

The other common question I get is ‘Am I going to be able to control the outcome?’. It’s an important question because an agile partnership does need a high level of trust. You’re going to move from a top-down hierarchy to a more horizontal, self-managing model. There’s still control – it’s just exercised in a different way, with the focus shifting from the process to the output.

And while agile generates short bursts of tangible outputs and regular outcomes, the end product is not going to be defined and costed upfront like a traditional, waterfall approach.

That's a big shift and one that doesn’t work for all organisations or even all projects. But for those that make the jump, agile will forever change the way they work and deliver fantastic new experiences for their employees and customers.


If you’d like advice on how agile can work within your organisation, get in touch. We’re continually evolving our approach to product development using the agile methodology and we’d love to help you deliver capabilities faster and better to meet your changing market and business demands.


For more on how to give your retail business the flexibility and agility you want, download our ebook.

Your four stages to unifying customer experiences

If it’s time to make a unified commerce approach a top priority to connect, simplify and innovate, this adoption model can help you build an ecosystem of technologies, tools, processes and experts.

1

Get tight control of your inventory

2

Extend your brand experience across all channels

3

Create delightful, personalised shopping experiences

4

Innovate, innovate, innovate


Stage 1

Get tight control of your inventory

Ensure you can accurately manage your inventory levels across all your locations and customer touchpoints by centralising your inventory information in near real time. This step is as much about business process, training, discipline and compliance, as it is about the software you install.

With a unified inventory management system in place, you can guarantee you’ve got the right inventory available in each location, without carrying the cost of overstocking. You can also react to trends quickly, and forecast demand based on historical data, sales forecasts and seasonal variations.

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See how Night ‘n Day started with inventory to create great customer experiences and increase net profit by around $12,000 a year for each store.

 

Stage 2

Extend your brand experience across all channels

Once you’ve got control over your inventory, you’re free to increase your purchasing channels with certainty.

Exposing, rather than replicating, inventory and customer data from your platform to each and every channel means everything stays in sync. Your staff and customers will have consistent product visibility and can expect fluid and accurate interactions, whether in-store, on mobile or online.

And with real-time data on stock levels, you’ll be able to see where inventory is located, find the lowest cost or fastest fulfilment route, and provide better promotions.

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Here’s how Cue Clothing is using unified commerce to combine physical and digital channels into a ‘one-brand’ experience.

 

Stage 3

Create delightful, personalised shopping experiences

Now it’s time to build genuinely meaningful customer experiences. You need to mix emotional and rational factors to connect and build relationships.

Rational value is the starting point for a great customer experience. It meets each customer’s very logical need for price and product so that they feel they are ‘getting’ value. It’s also the functional experiences you offer, such as convenience, fulfilment, flexibility and speed.

To make customers ‘feel’ valued, you want to tap into aspirational motivations and fulfil their deep, often unspoken needs. Personalised communications, recommendations and offers, rewards for spend and tailored in-store experiences fall into this category and are a great way to surprise and delight – especially if the experience is unexpected.

Stage 4

Innovate, innovate, innovate

By using APIs to expose data and functions, and easily plug in and deploy new services, channels and devices, you’ll reduce integration and maintenance overheads, increase real-time accuracy and enjoy virtually limitless scalability and agility.

These improvements in IT efficiency and availability let you shift your team’s priorities to innovation. By using agile methodologies and creating a community of third-party apps and systems working together in an ecosystem, you can drive critical strategic initiatives and continually innovate.

The end result is the ability to create extraordinary customer experiences that help to capture market opportunities, generate additional revenue and build brand advocacy.

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See how APIs can help you innovate at pace and build powerful ecosystems to give customers extraordinary experiences.

 

Contact us if you have questions or would like advice on any of these unified commerce stages. We can examine your pain points and make recommendations to help you solve problems and find new opportunities that deliver frictionless customer experiences and differentiate your brand.


For more on unified commerce and why it’s the future of retail, download our ebook.

Top tips for unified order fulfilment

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I recently joined Triquestra as a business analyst after spending four years with a shipping automation software company.

As we’re all seeing, the ability to give shoppers a range of pick-up and delivery options is now a big part of a successful customer experience, and I wanted to share my top tips for a good fulfilment strategy. You need to start at the beginning to keep customers happy through to the very end of their sales transaction.


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1: STOCK: Inform your customers about stock levels  

How disappointed would you be if you discovered that the pair of shoes you badly needed for your race this weekend couldn’t be delivered for three weeks because the stock was unavailable?

Set your customer expectations by providing accurate stock levels on your website during the browsing process so they can see right away what’s available and what has to be ordered.


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2: SHIPPING COSTS: Be sure you’re getting the best rate

Shipping can be complicated, with costs varying according to the destination, the weight and the size of the packages you need to deliver. You want to make sure that you are using the best courier in every situation: Who’s best for international packages, is it the same company for national and bulky packages, what about deliveries in the same city?

To choose the best couriers for yourself and your customers, define simple rules within your retail system to select a carrier according to the weight or destination of the package. Or integrate a shipping platform that can determine the best carrier automatically.

Another solution is to let your customers select the best option by listing all your courier services and their prices during the checkout process. Then your customer can decide between the cheapest service or choose to pay extra for premium or express service. We know some customers value convenience over price.


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3: FULFILMENT SPEED: Don’t let an order backlog grow

Ensure you are using the best processes and tools to run your dispatch centre. Packing slips and a barcode scanner are a must, and you also need to test your operation to make sure it matches the volume of orders you need to fulfil.

Consider fulfilling orders from your stores to reduce shipping costs and allow your customers pick up their orders themselves.


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4: COMMUNICATION: Keep your customers in the loop

Make sure you inform and update your customers about their deliveries.

  • Send proactive delivery information by text or email at every stage.

  • Let customers track their orders through your website, instead of a courier company’s website. Then customers will have constant contact with your brand and can see details of their purchase as well as its delivery journey.


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5: RETURNS: Offer returns to win customer trust

Most major online retailers offer free returns. While returns are often seen as an additional expense, they can actually drive revenue, increase profit, improve customer experience and boost your brand’s reputation. Please see our recent article on why returns should be part of your customer experience strategy.


Infinity partners with fulfilment platforms such as Temando and Shippit and can help you build a fulfilment strategy that offers customers many options while reducing your inventory holdings and delivery costs. Contact us to find out more.

Why returns should be part of your customer experience strategy

Why returns should be part of your customer experience strategy

New ‘try before you buy’ (TBYB) services are fuelling a surge in product returns that could overwhelm retailers. Here we look at what’s driving the TBYB trend, the challenges it creates and why the growth in returns is actually good for retail.

How to put a smart click-and-collect strategy in place

Click-and-collect is changing the way consumers shop and interact with retailers.

With a click-and-collect strategy, you can provide near instant gratification: customers order and pay for items online, then collect them in store, merging the in-store experience with online convenience.

The benefits for retailers

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There is growing competition from big brand and overseas competitors, such as Amazon, who are able to offer free delivery on minimum spends and relatively short delivery times. To maintain your competitive advantage, you want to respond with a mutually beneficial online sales strategy, like click-and-collect. Click-and-collect secures the sale and even increases sales. According to the International Council of Shopping Centres, over 60% of shoppers who use click-and-collect services go on to purchase additional goods when collecting their items. Click-and-collect also minimises returns, as customers are able to try on goods before they finalise their purchase.

For consumers, convenience is key

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With click-and-collect, customers are not charged delivery fees and can avoid the delivery-card-in-the-mailbox scenario. Additionally, customers are not risking a trip to the store, only to find the items they want are out of stock. And items can be collected when it’s convenient for the customer – often within hours of placing an order – providing an immediacy that delivery cannot meet. Better still, if the item is not suitable, any issues can be resolved before the customer leaves the store.

Getting your full click-and-collect strategy ready for launch

 

For click-and-collect to be effective, you want to make sure all your systems are working together to offer customers an easy, reliable and seamless experience.


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Inventory available on-the-go

Make sure that your mobile site and app are up-to-date and give consumers access to all your inventory wherever they are. Highlight items available for click-and-collect prior to checkout. Also given that a click-and-collect strategy is a shift towards customer convenience – with less emphasis on price – consider offering free click-and-collect.


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Make it quick

Consider a time commitment that you can stick to. For instance, tell customers they can pick up their order on the same day until you can be confident in your processes, and then aim for 30 minutes.


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Keep in touch

Send text message alerts to customers to let them know the status of their order and more importantly, when it is ready for collection. You’ll keep the customer up-to-date on their order and get them into the store at the right time. When customers do come to collect their goods, items should be ready. You may also want to consider dedicated pick up points in-store or alternative collection points.


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Returns should be hassle free

Customers should have the option to change their mind before leaving the store and be able to return click-and-collect items in-store.


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Turn your stores into disciplined distribution centres

Fulfil orders from your stores to get items to customers faster and save on delivery costs. With the right technology in place, you can be sure of great customer experiences as well. For example, you can set up your system to alert head office if an online order goes to a store and that order isn’t acknowledged by the store and ready to be picked up by the customer within a certain timeframe. Head office can then contact the store to prompt staff. These kind of alerts lead to a robust, timely process that keeps customers happy.


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Incentivise multiple teams

To help in-store staff see the benefit of online sales, create remuneration strategies that reward store staff who are picking and packing the items for online orders. A unified commerce platform can offer sales attribution reporting in addition to reporting on sales channel effectiveness.


When you give customers what they want, they are less likely to shop elsewhere

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In short, to remain competitive you need to give your customers options. Offering click-and-collect is one option and makes you different to those retailers offering online shopping only. Click-and-collect will encourage more customers into your stores, giving you shorter sale times, alternative ways to interact and further opportunities to upsell.


If you’d like help with your click-and-collect strategy and unifying your customers’ experience, contact us.

Becoming an agile retailer: Why you need both agility and stability to innovate

Becoming an agile retailer: Why you need both agility and stability to innovate

Building your business case for agile working? According to McKinsey, the best approach is to build a stable foundation of things that don’t change, to free you up for speed in other areas. Here’s how to  create that stable core for reliability and efficiency, while introducing more dynamic elements that let you respond nimbly and quickly to new challenges and opportunities.