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Storied High Fashion Retailer Leaps Into Ecommerce Limelight

The Challenge

Loehmann’s Department Store first opened their doors in 1921 and is now 40 stores strong in 11 states and Washington, DC, plus two flagship stores in Manhattan and Beverly Hills. They are not only known for their amazing designer fashions, but for the solid deals that keep savvy shoppers coming back week after week. Loehmann’s faced multiple business and operational issues that delayed their ability to translate this business model to the internet. However, they saw tremendous opportunity in creating a website that offered the flash style sales featuring luxury brands that they invented years ago. They wanted to capture the same kind of excitement and exclusivity that their loyal following of customers experience in store. There were three critical challenges – complex legacy systems, existing brick-and-mortar business and a critical timeline for launching the new site.

The Solution

Like many retailers, Loehmann’s was challenged by aging legacy systems and infrastructure. Other than the existing Logistics systems, Loehmann’s needed to revamp all of their technology to support ecommerce. They quickly decided against developing the technology in-house and opted to find a SaaS vendor that could provide best-in-class technology and deep domain expertise to out-source the design and website build. After reviewing sixteen ecommerce technology solutions, Loehmann’s chose ShopVisible to power their new online venture. ShopVisible’s commerce platform could support a complete “customer-centric” solution that included in-store returns, mobile commerce, and social commerce. Most importantly, Loehmann’s .Net development environment would work seamlessly with ShopVisible’s technology platform.

It was imperative to the executive team that the new www.loehmanns.com be up and running within 5 months. Upon reviewing the existing business requirements, ShopVisible set out to build a series of partner and API integrations that would tie into the Loehmann’s HUB and automate processes with legacy systems. Part of the assignment was to create direct integrations with SHCDirect, Loehmann’s CRM provider, to extend membership benefits to existing Insider Club members on www.loehmanns.com. Additionally, ShopVisible built an integration with First Data, their existing credit card processor, to keep systems consolidated. Gift card functionality was another important consideration for the Loehmann’s team, and to support gift cards that could be used both online and in-store, ShopVisible built an integration with Ceridian Stored Value Systems.

To support inventory management, one of the greatest challenges to the project, ShopVisible mapped an integration between Loehmann’s inventory database to automatically pass product information, including images, prices, inventory etc to the platform. This completely eliminated the need for manual entry from the Loehmann’s team and created a seamless system to manage online and in-store availability.

The Results

Loehmanns.com launched within the specified timeline, five months after first meeting with ShopVisible. Customer feedback and excitement over the site has been overwhelming, Loehmann’s beat their first month sales projections within the first two weeks. Additionally, although assigned only 100-150 products to launch as part of the original proposal, ShopVisible launched the site with over 500 products. Loehmann’s CIO, Bill Thayer, remarks on the process, “ShopVisible was very clear on what could be done now, what could be done later and what shouldn’t be done at all. They were and remain today a solid partner who we lean on for expertise and support. All integrations with ShopVisible are scalable and can be customized to future needs. The synergy of similar software development languages across applications allows for seamless future integrations of internal and external company systems”.

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