Discover Algolia’s Digital Expert Series
The Digital Expert Series is a 30-minute rapid fire session hosted by Algolia that brings you face-to-face with high-performers who have successfully driven digital transformation strategies in leading businesses around the world.
On March 16, Tovi Heilbronn, Director of Digital Product and Experience at Harry Rosen, one of Canada’s leading luxury menswear retailers, spoke with us on how Harry Rosen and Algolia partnered together to drive an effective digital transformation for the company. You can check out the video replay of the session here. Harry Rosen has been in business for nearly seven decades and has over 100 employees across 15 physical and three digital touchpoints.
The following are highlights of the main themes discussed in the session followed by audience Q&A.
- On the vision – Harry Rosen’s philosophy is to carry men’s wear that dress leaders, visionaries, and creatives who drive our communities. So we see ourselves very much in the confidence business – that is by dressing men who are trying to be their best, (we will enable them) to actually achieve their best.
- On the business challenge – Harry Rosen has approximately 10,000 products online at any given time, which are spread across 50 categories and in three distinct digital channels. So we have a very broad and deep catalog. Our products themselves tend to be highly seasonal, so there’s very little carryover from one season to the next. Additionally, our inventory position is generally low with high velocity. So as a business, we’re continually challenged with improving our product discovery through curation along with projecting our brand, and product display. Also all of this needs to be backed by good data, good attributes, and good tooling.
- On roadmapping the digital transformation – There were four main areas that were the focus of our transformation: the technology, people, and processes, as well as the vendors that we had to work with. We were still using a very old tech stack that could not keep up with customer expectations and evolving business needs. So on the technology side, we had trouble scaling our infrastructure and that in turn impacted the development of new features because of a very fragile code base. We couldn’t integrate with external solutions because of this very rigid tech ecosystem.Similar challenges existed in terms of people and processes. We had very siloed internal thinking which impaired our ability to execute. Many functions weren’t really thinking in their day to day about how their work impacts the digital customer experience. Lastly, in terms of vendors, we needed vendors who were essentially co-invested in our success. So whatever solution we built out, had to address all of these areas.
- On questions that digital transformation leaders must ask themselves – When looking at building out features, a lot of leaders only get as far as considering does this feature work? So it is very operations driven. At Harry Rosen, we were never reaching into the realm of, does this excite our customers? Is this remarkable? Is it different? So obviously, when we started this digital transformation journey, we wanted to aspire to that higher level of experience and functionality that would enable us to break out of our current box across both our physical and digital channels and search was going to be a very important ingredient to that successful recipe.
- On evaluating the right solution – For Harry Rosen, it was important to have major structural, transformative changes and not just iterative ones as part of this process. We wanted to put business users truly in the driver’s seat, so that they had the ability to actually tune results and do merchandising that really brings the business along the digital maturity curve. Also, this needed to be done without constantly asking for support from the development side of the house. Additionally, we needed to ask ourselves if the solution (that we were proposing) was ready to scale in lock-step with our business.Lastly, transparency. Did we have a powerful dashboard tool that would let us be agile and nimble to not just configure various parts and pieces but also to understand what the data was telling us. So it wasn’t just about having the best tech in the market, which Algolia’s solution satisfied, but also about reinforcing the idea of having the best partner for Harry Rosen from the point of view of our customers and not just our business or technology teams.
- On success milestones and the road ahead – Some significant growth successes that we have seen include a 68% increase in transactions, a sizable increase in conversion rate, and an 18% increase in average order value. Algolia’s solution is now deployed across all three Harry Rosen digital channels including HarryRosen.com which is the flagship store, Final Cut – the online off-price/ discount option, and Herringbone which is the clienteling app. Future areas that Harry Rosen is looking to scale with the help of Algolia’s headless e-commerce solution, include: refinements to the customer’s omni-channel purchase experience, greater personalization, tighter integration in the tech stack, and deployment of voice search.
Missed this session? Check out the entire video replay of Tovi’s insightful talk along with the audience Q&A or watch previous sessions in Algolia’s Digital Expert Series.