If you’ve ever doubted whether the right retail solution can transform your business, then our latest Behind the Counter retailer will put your mind at ease.
We’d like to introduce you to OSMOSE, a Singapore-based apparel and accessories retailer that sells trendy and fashion-forward pieces for women. There’s plenty to admire about this retailer. In addition to carrying attractive and high-quality merchandise, OSMOSE’s supply chain capabilities allow it to turn over new designs much more quickly. The company also has an omnichannel loyalty program that keeps customers coming back.
We caught up with Puah Disheng Dickson, Director at OSMOSE, and asked him to share the company’s story and secrets to success.
In this post, you’ll discover:
- OSMOSE’s story
- How the company overcame the technical difficulties in their stores
- What OSMOSE did to implement their new retail system and get employees on board
- How OSMOSE reduced the workload of their staff by 40%
- How the company users data to hit their sales targets
- The loyalty initiatives that keep OSMOSE’s customers coming back
A retailer with a modern approach to fashion
According to Puah, OSMOSE has been around for 28 years, and it currently has several stores all around Singapore. It started as an offline-only business, but now has an online store that caters to modern shoppers all over the world.
One of OSMOSE’s competitive advantages lies in its manufacturing facilities. “At OSMOSE, we have self-manufacturing capabilities and manage our own factories,” shares Puah. He adds that this enables them to have a shorter design turnover, and they’re able to put the trendiest pieces on the sales floor much more rapidly compared to other stores.
Dealing with tech difficulties and high costs
But even an established company like OSMOSE runs into technology issues. Before switching to Vend, the company had a system which Puah described as costly and difficult to manage.
For starters, “the hardware and software were expensive and hard to keep up-to-date. They weren’t user-friendly and required technical expertise,” shared Puah. “We also felt that to keep current with market technological advances, we had to invest in additional apps. We paid web and POS system developers to make it happen. But in the end, the project failed because both parties couldn’t work together.”
Dealing with customer data and analytics also became an issue, because the OSMOSE team couldn’t get the insights and reports that they needed.
“Data was hard to manage on our previous channel. We couldn’t generate detailed reports which were crucial to our decision-making process. And our previous system didn’t have the ability to integrate with programs like MailChimp. That made it hard for us to email and market to our customers.”
All those headaches eventually prodded OSMOSE to look for alternative solutions, and their search led them to Vend. According to Puah, some of the things that triggered their decision to switch were:
Omnichannel capabilities – Vend gave OSMOSE the ability to integrate their online and offline stores, allowing them to better manage their inventory.
Robust reporting – The system also gave their team the insights they needed to improve their products and business overall.
“Detailed reports are very important in our design-making process,” says Puah. With Vend, we can easily extract data we need and make decisions based on seasonal design trends. And thanks to its tagging feature, we can see how well each fabric sells or even the performance of different colors.”
User-friendliness – The OSMOSE team was also pleased with Vend’s intuitiveness. The software was easy to learn and even non-techy users picked it up quickly.
“We have some employees who’ve been with us for more than 20 years. We were happy to discover that our workers find it very easy to pick up the new POS system,” he adds.
Rolling out the system and getting employees on board
OSMOSE had been using the same old POS system for 10 years, so implementing a new solution seemed daunting, at first. But things went smoothly thanks to EISOL, a cloud integrator that helps SMEs get up and running with cloud-based solutions.
“Having a new system was a bit scary for the frontline retail staff in the beginning. Thankfully, EISOL made sure that their team was present at each outlet during the first few days of implementing Vend,” says Puah.
“This helped a lot because our staff was able to get live support whenever they had questions about the new system. We’re incredibly grateful for EISOL’s support. Their presence helped our team focus on their tasks instead of having to worry about the integration.”
Reducing workload by 30% to 40%
One of the key benefits of having the new system is an increase in efficiency. According to Puah, they’ve saved 30% to 40% of work hours, thanks to Vend’s automation capabilities.
“There has been a great reduction of workload throughout the whole organisation,” he shares.
“For example, we had an admin staff who used to key in customer details for our loyalty program in the head office and ensuring that all the details are correct. After the implementation of Vend, her role was completely redundant and we shifted her duties to customer services, which aided our customer satisfaction rates.”
Using data to hit their targets
The OSMOSE team also puts their retail data and reports to good use. According to Puah, Vend’s reporting capabilities help OSMOSE’s business managers meet the sales targets for each of their stores.
“We’ve gained a more visual approach to our data by using Vend. We can also predict the low key periods and the high key periods and do a fact check on our knowledge versus actual data. Plus, our staff scheduling has been optimised based on sales data from the POS.
Winning through omnichannel and loyalty
As a retailer that has an online and brick-and-mortar presence, OSMOSE provides exceptional retail experiences by enabling their customers to seamlessly shop across physical and digital channels.
OSMOSE has a loyalty program that lets customers earn and redeem points no matter where or how they’re shopping. “In terms of our loyalty program, our customers expect that their points can be spent online and offline. Accomplishing that can be costly, but thanks to Vend, we have managed to do it with manageable costs.”
Aside from the online to offline integration, OSMOSE’s loyalty program also offers more exciting perks. Rather than generic rewards or discounts, OSMOSE uses more interactive goals to entice shoppers.
For instance, customers can get a Dyson hairdryer after collecting 5,000 points. OSMOSE also offers cash vouchers that can be redeemed at different point tiers.
Puah says that their initiatives are paying off. “We’ve already given out 3 big rewards [e.g., hairdryers], and that amounted to about 15,000 SGD in customer spend. And our redeemable cash vouchers keep shoppers coming back and customer retention has improved greatly thanks to these efforts.”
Speaking of customer retention, OSMOSE makes it a point to follow-up with customers who haven’t stopped by in a while. If a shopper doesn’t visit within 60 days, they automatically receive an email encouraging them to check out OSMOSE.
“This is something that our competitors aren’t doing, and it’s definitely helped us connect better with shoppers.”
As for what they plan to do next, Puah says they’re looking to dominate online marketplaces. “We’ve successfully integrated with marketplaces like Zalora. Our plan for the retail space is adventurous as we have ventured to Cambodia and we’re also in talks with different regions. Our aim is to set up bigger stores in the future to accommodate all of our SKUS.”
“A large part of that is keeping up with technology and using tech as an enabler to bring our customers closer than ever.”
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.