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Macquarie Telecom partnership sees benefits for City Beach

By Zach Thompson
Fri 10 Jun 2022

Macquarie Telecom’s work with City Beach has resulted in the retailer reporting its smoothest peak retail season, which occurred against a backdrop of record online sales across Australia.

The collaboration saw City Beach expand its technology environment to include SD-WAN across its 66 retail stores and residential warehouses.

In addition, combining this capability with NBN connectivity, telephony and Wi-Fi has allowed it the stability and scalability it needs to meet customer and employee demands.

“Much like we’ve left certain styles of clothing in the past, it’s also imperative for organisations to shrug free of outdated technology to properly serve customers and ensure staff have the tools and speed to do their jobs properly,” Macquarie Telecom group executive Luke Clifton says.

“This is another example of two Australian companies coming together to deliver on this vision and ensure better experiences for everyone.”

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.

Since then, the brand has evolved into a staple of Australian fashion and now has 66 stores across the country.

City Beach chief information officer Rhian Greenway says the company recognised eight years ago that the bespoke collection of systems that held City Beach 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,” Greenway says.

“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.”

The realisation prompted City Beach to upgrade its systems with a staggered approach.

Macquarie Telecom came on board to offer a virtual data centre, Wi-FI across its warehouse powered by Juniper Networks, a telephony platform, and a company-wide rollout of SD-WAN, which was completed more than five months ago.

“This is yet another example of an Australian household name reaping the benefits of our AI-driven solutions and industry-leading switches,” Juniper Networks A/NZ vice president and general manager Bruce Bennie says.

“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.”

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,” Greenway adds.

“The latter has allowed us to be more agile with trialling new initiatives and moving with technology trends.”

Greenway also said 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,” he notes.

City Beach will also be introducing Microsoft Teams for its staff and Click and Collect services for its customers over the next six months.

Moreover, it is currently planning pilots for voice picking solutions which will see warehouse staff wearing headsets that scan customer orders and receive instant information about the aisle and pit locations of products to simplify the delivery process.

This technology also affords users location tracking to prevent errors in the picking and packing process.

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