Collegiate retail is experiencing disruption to its long-established business practices as campus stores are increasingly having to compete with startups and Amazon on merchandise sales and textbook rentals.
Despite the changing industry, The Duck Store wanted to continue its tradition of serving the University of Oregon Duck fans for generations to come. But first, it needed the modern technology to build customer loyalty and provide omnichannel retail across its 13 campus stores, sporting venues and malls.
“One challenge we have is that the collegiate retail world has four or five primary legacy systems that we all work on. The problem is they’re based on old technologies and are not highly flexible or customizable.”
The Need for Modernization
A 15-year veteran of The Duck Store, Lyons has first-hand experience working through the challenges of legacy systems. For years, The Duck Store faced difficulties in data access, visibility and reporting with an outdated green-screen application for financials, inventory and point of sale (POS). Lack of integration between ERP & ecommerce platforms forced The Duck Store to run separate shopping carts for textbooks and general merchandise.
“It was hard to get the information we needed quickly,” Lyons said. “You always felt like you had to go through 14 different menus to get one piece of data. The challenge was that our inventory system wasn’t what we needed for our internal teams or customers.”
The Duck Store selected NetSuite for ERP, order and inventory management, ecommerce, POS and the Bronto Marketing Platform. Lyons hopes their deployment is seen as a roadmap for other collegiate retailers looking to modernize with a unified cloud solution.
After going live in 2016, The Duck Store is now customizing NetSuite to handle the deep complexity of textbook inventory and sales — hardcover and digital, rentals and buybacks, new and used.
“It’s been a great transition to NetSuite,” Lyons said. “We’re seeing benefits in transparency, reporting and efficiency that are hugely impactful in making us more nimble and proactive.”
With NetSuite, in-store pickups and returns of items ordered online are seamless. The unified platform enables in-store personnel to see real-time inventory to better fulfill customer requests. Inventory and purchasing managers have real-time visibility into 50,000 SKUs, from books to bumper stickers and sweatshirts. In addition, The Duck Store has reduced its single-page bounce rate by 25 percent, increased pages viewed per session by almost 40 percent and increased time on site by close to 60 percent.
“As a unified solution, NetSuite has enabled us to make the leap towards 360-degree, customer-centric omnichannel commerce,” Lyons said. “We’re able to see customers who shop online and in stores and build loyalty in a broader sense.”
Engaging Brand Experiences
With a new SuiteCommerce Advanced website, new filtering capabilities allow shoppers to narrow down products by color, size and other variations. A mobile-friendly, responsive design was critical for The Duck Store with half of its traffic coming from smartphones and tablets. They are now able to provide rich, seamless online experiences on any device – which also helps them compete with bigger retailers selling Duck merchandise.
“NetSuite has been a great solution for The Duck Store, “ Lyons said. “We’re showing the collegiate bookstore world how to stay viable by embracing the cloud.”