City Beach reports smoothest peak retail season with Macquarie Telecom

Luke Clifton, Group Executive, Macquarie Telecom

Macquarie Telecom, part of Macquarie Telecom Group (ASX: MAQ), has announced its partnership 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.

With support from Macquarie, City Beach expanded its tech environment to include SD-WAN across its 66 retail stores, which, combined with NBN connectivity, telephony and Wi-Fi, has provided the stability and scalability required to meet the needs of customers and employees.

What is City Beach’s market offering?

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. Over the decades it evolved into an Australian institution, with a presence of 66 stores across the country.

According to City Beach Chief Information Officer Rhian Greenway, eight years ago it became apparent the bespoke collection of systems that held City Beach in good stead since the 1980s weren’t equipped to deal with the demands of customers and team members.

“It was apparent our tech stack lacked the scalability required to meet client expectations around efficiency. We had to push back anything that might interrupt the core business of allocating stock and sales reporting, resulting in quite a narrow tech focus,” he said.

This prompted City Beach to upgrade its systems with a staggered approach, with Macquarie Telecom engaged to provide a virtual data centre, Wi-Fi across its warehouses by Juniper Networks, a telephony platform, and a rollout of SD-WAN, completed over five months.

What was the impact of Macquarie rollout?

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.

“We’ve been able to evolve our focus beyond break fixes, and we’ve now got a full enterprise resource planning [ERP] team that does development, design, reporting and analytics. The latter has allowed us to be more agile with trialling initiatives and moving with tech trends.”

Greenway also said the stability provided by SD-WAN enabled a much stabler peak period. This was significant because Australia recorded an unprecedented spike in online sales. “With the previous tech 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 said.

How has tech advancement aided growth at City Beach?

Luke Clifton, Group Executive, Macquarie Telecom commented: “Much like we have 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 appropriate tools and speed to do their jobs properly. This is another example of two Australian firms coming together to deliver on this vision and ensure better experiences for everyone.”

Bruce Bennie, Vice President and General Manager, Australia & New Zealand at Juniper Networks, commented: “This is yet another example of an Aussie household name reaping the benefits of our AI-driven solutions and industry-leading switches. 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.”

Over the next six months City Beach will be introducing Microsoft Teams for its staff and Click and Collect services for its clients. The firm is also planning pilots for voice picking solutions, whereby warehouse staff wear headsets to scan orders and receive instant information about the aisle and pit locations of products, streamlining the delivery process. This tech also includes location tracking, preventing mistakes in the picking and packing process.