Though he doesn’t like to boast about it much, Shane Lenton’s 12+ years with Cue Clothing Co. have helped his brand — and him — gain increasing prominence in the Australian e-comm community.

Lenton, a multi-award winning retail leader, recently joined Alex Timlin, SVP of Verticals, Emarsys, to share practical, insider tips on how he and his team have helped the already well-established 52-year-old brand evolve to where they are now.

As CIO, Lenton has a hand in literally every corner of the business from e-commerce, digital, CRM and marketing automation to customer care, warehousing, and logistics. He says the proverbial “single view of the customer” and of inventory is key to the brand’s “unified commerce” (a term coined by Lenton) approach.

Today, Cue operates 230 stores in tandem with nine websites. Oh, and the company still produces a large quantity of their garments in Australia, leveraging the artistry of local designers, native designs, and some of the best fabric out of Europe.

A lot of people are boasting about being omnichannel these days… but Cue is one of the few actually doing it, despite the curveball that lockdown and quarantine presented. Listen to Alex and Shane explain how.

Maintaining Profitability Through Covid-19

Like most brands, Cue had to roll with the punches as they, too, were forced to figure out how to survive amidst COVID-19. How did they remain afloat?

Social distancing, work-from-home and the “new normal”

Lenton says an online “warehouse sale” was one way the brand brought a fresh idea to fruition for some immediate revenue:

Adjusting to the new retail landscape

How does a leading retailer respond to upwards of 85% of its revenue being halted almost overnight in the face of the worst retail recession in ages? Lenton explains how social media and marketing automation provided a fall-back when they needed it most.

Turning to B2B retailing for their own stimulus

With 75-85% of their revenue disappearing pretty much overnight — and not knowing when, where, or how a government subsidy would be provided — Cue decided to run a trial-and-error email program to distributors of their products… and it worked:

Omnichannel Excellence in Action

Cue uses their customer data to provide a frictionless experience for customers regardless of touchpoint. Any team member can see who the customer is, along with purchase history, purchase frequency, and preferences — whether in-store, online, via customer care, live chat, or any other channel.

Taking away guest checkout and de-anonymization of data

A lot of people thought Shane was “crazy” when he suggested the brand completely eliminate the option for guest checkout… but it ended up paying dividends as they began leveling up their known traffic.

The best way to sell fashion to Cue’s female customers

As for remaining relevant and top-of-mind with customers, regardless of the season or economic condition, Lenton says it’s essentially about showing the value of the clothing, depending on the time of year:

Removing friction in the CX

Reducing friction, Lenton believes, is like building a house: it starts with the foundation. Connecting digital and in-store shopping with middleware, integrations and APIs while focusing on the value-add for the buyer is key:

Final Thoughts

Omnichannel all starts with a single unified view of the customer and systems that “talk to one another.” Without those two foundational pieces, you will face limitations in how personalized you can get, plus how relevant you can be with timing, context, and channel.

Marketers — especially those in the shifting e-commerce space — really do want to deliver an omnichannel experience like Cue has created. Yet, it seems elusive… something that can be discussed and desired, but that silently tempts and teases, always lying just around the bend. Constantly striving to achieve it can be overwhelming.

Unifying all your systems, data, and marketing is omnichannel, but it doesn’t happen overnight, as Share acknowledges. His journey has evolved over a decade with Cue. Through it, he’s shaped his own ascent to e-comm prowess and recognition — something you can do too.

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