City Beach expanded its technology environment to include SD-WAN across its 66 retail stores and residential warehouses, which, combined with NBN connectivity, telephony and Wi-Fi, has provided the stability and scalability required to meet the needs of today’s customers and employees.
City Beach chief information officer Rhian Greenway pointed out eight years ago, it became apparent the bespoke collection of systems that held the company in good stead since the 1980s were not equipped to deal with the evolving demands of customers and team members.
“It was apparent our technology stack lacked the stability and scalability required to meet customer expectations around reliability and efficiency, but also the needs of our staff. We had to push back anything that might interrupt the core business of allocating stock and sales reporting, resulting in quite a narrow technology focus,” he said.
This prompted City Beach to upgrade its systems with a staggered approach. It commissioned Macquarie Telecom to provide a virtual data centre, a Wi-Fi covering its warehouses powered by Juniper Networks, a telephony platform, and SD-WAN rollout, completed over five months.
Greenway said the Macquarie rollout was cost-effective and provided City Beach with a stable and flexible technology base that has allowed it to thrive in the modern environment.
“With modern systems we’ve been able to evolve our focus beyond break fixes, and we’ve now got a full enterprise resource planning team that does development, design, reporting and analytics. The latter has allowed us to be more agile with trialling new initiatives and moving with technology trends.”
Greenway recalled the stability provided by SD-WAN enabled a much stabler peak period across the retail network. This was significant because Australia recorded an unprecedented spike in online sales.
“With the previous technology stack, we experienced an array of outages, and the transition to Macquarie uncovered a lot of Wi-Fi blackspots in our warehouses. Last year’s peak season, due largely to the SD-WAN stability, we had a much smoother trade across our retail network.”
“Much like we’ve left certain styles of clothing in the past, it’s also imperative for organisations to shrug free of outdated technology to properly serve customers and ensure staff have the tools and speed to do their jobs properly. This is another example of two Australian companies coming together to deliver on this vision and ensure better experiences for everyone,” commented Macquarie Telecom group executive Luke Clifton.
“We’re eager to see how City Beach uses its access to a reliable network, visibility into the customer experience and digital engagement and analytics platform to improve its processes in the future,” says Juniper Networks vice president and general manager ANZ Bruce Bennie.
Over the next six months City Beach will be introducing Microsoft Teams for its staff and Click and Collect services for its customers.
The organisation is also planning pilots for voice picking solutions, whereby warehouse staff wear headsets to scan customer orders and receive instant information about the aisle and pit locations of products, streamlining the delivery process. This technology also includes location tracking, preventing mistakes in the picking and packing process.
City Beach is an Australian youth fashion retailer that capitalised on emerging trends in the market in the 1980s by opening a store in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall.
Over the decades it evolved into an Australian institution, with a presence of 66 stores across the country.
This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 14 June 2022.