This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of The Record.
Founded in 1819, Eason sells books, stationery, newspapers and magazines at more than 60 stores across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Facing stiff competition from large online competitors, Eason wanted a platform that would enable customers to enjoy seamless and personalised omnichannel shopping experiences in store and on its website. This platform had to seamlessly integrate with the Microsoft Dynamics AX system that Eason used for managing customer, order and product data. It also had to be delivered quickly to enable the company to capitalise on the peak retail period between Black Friday in November and the January sales.
“We looked for a new e-commerce platform that would work seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics AX and would provide our marketing teams with the agility and capabilities they needed,” says Michael Robinson, Eason’s IT manager.
Eason chose Episerver’s e-commerce suite, including its Content Management System, Commerce, Perform, Campaign, Find and Insights components. Working with Episerver’s implementation partner Made to Engage, Eason’s team used Avensia Storefront Connectors to integrate product and customer data from its existing Microsoft Dynamics AX platform with Episerver’s solution. The project started in July 2017 and the new website went live in October 2017, ahead of the Black Friday deadline.
Today, Eason has a robust omnichannel solution that connects its in-store and online operations, while providing the marketing and e-commerce merchandising agility it needs to personalise content and automate promotional campaigns.
Episerver Find provides Eason’s customers with intuitive search functionality so they can quickly locate products, while Episerver Commerce has streamlined the checkout process. Eason can use analytics from Episerver Insight and the machine learning and behavioural merchandising tools from Episerver Perform to personalise communications and automatically recommend products and content to customers based on their past searches and purchases. The Episerver Campaign module supports automated marketing and promotional campaigns.
Thanks to Episerver’s platform, Eason boosted revenue by 60% on Black Friday, 49% over Christmas and 75% during the January sales, compared to the previous year.
Made to Engage will continue to work with Eason to help it optimise the Episerver e-commerce solution so it can provide a truly omnichannel experience and drive value for every customer. This year, it will develop a click-and-collect offering and integrations with Eason’s gift card processes.
“We can now confidently say we have the strong foundation in place to support our continuing roadmap for a customer-centred omnichannel strategy and to establish Eason as the market leader in its space,” says Robinson.
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