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Retail and Hospitality

Interview:

Cath Kidston improves retail ops

Cath Kidston is a lifestyle brand famous for its original, vintage inspired prints

Karen McCandless finds out more about retailer Cath Kidson’s decision to turn to Retail Assist for its help desk service and data exchange solution

Cath Kidston, the lifestyle brand famous for its original, vintage inspired prints, has selected managed IT services from Retail Assist to aid the company’s growth plans. Retail Assist was commissioned to provide a help desk service to stores. Previously, the retailer only had an internal help desk system, which wasn’t ideal as it took up much of the support team’s time and prevented them from working on more complex tasks.

Cath Kidston researched other offerings and carried out cost analysis but settled on Retail Assist. As Mike Padfield, the retailer’s IT director, explained to OnWindows: “I have worked closely with Retail Assist in various different businesses over the last 15 years and outsourced help desk functions to Retail Assist in a previous role. The company offers a scalable service, which is important for our store opening plans. And now that they offer 24 hour cover, we can extend coverage to international stores as they come on board.”

In addition, when the store has a technology problem, they can ring one number to resolve the issues and the call will be dealt with there and then.

Cath Kidston has also implemented Retail Assist’s Ra-X data exchange solution. Padfield told OnWindows how this benefits the retailer’s operations: “We have disparate partners – in the Far East in particular – who all work in their own way and have their own systems and information. Historically, data was being sent to us in spreadsheets or e-mails without the detailed information behind the sales transaction. This made it very hard for buying and merchandising teams to track and understand how sales at those partners were performing.

“What Ra-X provides us with is a way of translating all the disparate systems and information into a file that can be output in a format we can use. We then feed it into our data warehouse and use that as a basis for reporting. It makes life a lot simpler for us as we don’t have to translate and manipulate the data that comes in internally.”

Retail Assist offers a scalable service, which is important for our store opening plans. And now that they offer 24 hour cover, we can extend coverage to international stores as they come on board

Mike Padfield, Cath Kidston
 
Padfield sees Retail Assist more as a partner that just a services and solutions provider. He said: “Retail Assist has a real can do attitude and has the ability to support stores with as little knowledge as is possible. They will always have a go at fixing something even if they haven’t been previously trained in it. I see Retail Assist as a working partner – I will go to them for a specialist requirement for example if we had a problem with our exchange system and they have understanding of retail in general. They are almost an extended team resource.”

Retail Assist has also enabled Cath Kidston to be up and running in time for the key Christmas trading period. Padfield told OnWindows: “As we go into Christmas, we will have stores open until midnight. To be live prior to key trading period of Christmas is key.”

Karen McCandless

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