SAP's been taking its 2013 acquisition of Hybris and running with it, shaping it into a contextual marketing platform...
that allows companies to pull together data sources and use that data to engage with their customers. Multi-brand companies have found that functionality particularly useful as they aggregate data and deliver relevant content to customers. As demonstrated at this year's Sapphire Now conference, apparel, lifestyle and grocery brands are all able to use Hybris to serve existing customers and expand customer bases, particularly those companies relatively new to e-commerce.
Asics runs customer base expansion with Hybris
Apparel company Asics needed to expand its customer base beyond its native Japan, where consumers were aging out of its running, lifestyle and outdoor brands. In 2000, Asics pulled in only 33% of its revenue from outside Japan, according to James Stone, general manager, global enterprise solutions at Kobe, Japan-based Asics, speaking at SAP's 2015 Sapphire conference in Orlando. Stone said Asics' challenge was to create an online and offline strategy for all four brands (the Asics running brand, lifestyle brands Asics Tiger and Onitsuka Tiger and the Haglofs outdoor lifestyle brand), incorporating straight commercial transactions, retail transactions and social transactions.
"Organizationally, we had to learn to do this and build it from scratch, catching up with what our competitors had been doing for 10 years," Stone said. Before 2013, when the sites were launched, consumers could not purchase Asics products from Asics websites. The company needed a stable IT platform that could run its four brands across multiple regions as well as better engage with consumers.
Ultimately, Asics chose SAP's Hybris Commerce Suite (before Hybris was acquired by SAP) and launched its first asics.com website in the U.S. in 2013. That year, 70% of Asics' revenue came from outside Japan, and today Asics runs more than 30 consumer sites on the Hybris platform while keeping its fulfilment and payment processing at the local level, according to Stone. The company met its goals: finding a single marketing execution platform that was reusable and extensible, and that could standardize the way business is conducted across brands while offering the ability to add more regions and brands, he said.
Now, the sports apparel company is integrating data from not only the Hybris Commerce Suite but non-transactional sites like myasics.com, a running community where users post training goals and plans. "By combining multiple data sources, we can have more meaningful transactions with [our customers]. The data from Hybris is allowing us to do that," Stone said, noting that in April, the company had completed its first pilot using Hybris to segment customers based on that aggregated data.
Loblaw serves a mobile fast fashion experience with Hybris
Much like Asics, Canadian retailer Loblaw Co. Ltd., which owns 22 different grocery chains and Canada's second largest apparel brand, Joe Fresh, was new to the e-commerce world in 2012, according to Raif Barbaros, head of technology and e-commerce. The company plunged into the e-commerce world with its apparel brand in late 2012, he said.
"We bet big on a mobile-led experience," Barbaros said. The team used a clean design consistent with the Joe Fresh brand and ensured that everything on the site was "shoppable," with very little pure static content. "It pushes us to strip away a lot … widgets and features that don't perform well on a handheld," he said, noting that almost half the traffic to the Joe Fresh site, and one-third of the revenue from it, is from touchscreen devices.
The Joe Fresh project took nine months to complete, going live in late 2013. Because it's fast fashion, at any time 3,000 SKUs rotate on the site, with more than 15,000 SKUs per year. "Like a store, everything else is driven out of Hybris," Barbaros said, noting that the company uses Hybris Product Content Management and Hybris Web Content Management System, fed with SAP product master data and financials.
Grocery shopping personalized for Loblaws with Hybris
Shortly after the Joe Fresh launch, Loblaw began its journey to Hybris for Loblaws, its grocery brand. Once again, the company placed its bet on a mobile experience for its "click and collect" method: a customer will start a grocery order online, pick a two-hour time slot, and drive to the store to pick it up, according to Barbaros. The goal is to have customers pull into a dedicated parking spot, announce their arrival via phone, and have the groceries brought out to them, using a mobile kiosk if the customer wants to change the payment type, he said.
Of course, click and collect has its own challenges, particularly because grocery inventory moves very quickly, and grocery shopping also means filling a shopping cart with 10 times the items of an apparel purchase. Add in the personalized loyalty program, and Loblaws is working with massive amounts of data and a need to ensure customers are able to quickly place their orders, Barbaros said. The company uses Hybris to customize the online shopping experience, creating lists of frequently purchased items and sending offers to shorten the process.
On the front end, in addition to using the same Hybris and SAP stack as Joe Fresh, Loblaws uses a separate warehouse management system for an in-store planogram for picking, using warehouse management principles to zone pick batches of groceries, Barbaros said. Additionally, he said, Loblaws uses Hadoop for personalization and assortment algorithms.
Shoppers Drug Mart, another of the Loblaw brands, is the next phase of the company's e-commerce journey, according to Barbaros. The main lesson learned from Loblaws in particular, that there is no finish line, will be key for moving forward with the project. He advised attendees to adopt the principles of the agile manifesto and hire good Java engineers without Hybris experience, because Hybris is a developer-friendly platform.