Retail omnichannel has primarily been discussed as an e-commerce and brick and mortar affair, with key trends revolving around:
At Ortega National Parks, a family-run organization at key US National Parks, none of these typical omnichannel trends apply. Instead, omnichannel is extended much further:
Andrew Bloomfield, Director of IT at Ortega Parks, has been evaluating software options, optimizing IT, and enabling smarter operations at Ortega Parks for nearly a decade. Connecting and sharing data across their enterprise has been his most recent, and perhaps his most inspiring challenge.
Initially, Bloomfield considered using Micros software for their retail stores, since they already use it in their restaurants. They needed their retail software to manage all different aspects of vendors, physical inventory, and costs. Upon evaluating capabilities in multiple software, Retail Pro proved to be the natural fit for their retail and inventory management needs.
Retail Pro allows retailers to track inventory by serial numbers, expiration dates, hierarchies of vendor, style, size, color, and any user-defined field. It also allows you to track inventory KPIs natively within the software.
Because tech collaboration is critical across the parks to standardize data and monitor performance, Bloomfield is building a network capable of integrating all the data from their retail, hotel, restaurant, and employee management software. Retail Pro is flexible to its core, so Bloomfield was able to tap into its API to integrate the platform with all his other tools.
Bloomfield works with the Retail Pro Business Partner Complete Data Systems on their major tech strategies and implementations, commenting, “They are one text message away from a consultation.”
"We love working with Ortega National Parks," said Jason McCall, CEO of Complete Data Systems. "It has been a long-time relationship and it is our pleasure to be partnered with them as they continue to grow and reach their goals. We pride ourselves on providing them with the best possible support, maintenance, retail management solutions, and latest technology they need for their retail strategy."
Ortega Parks management uses their connected software to share vendor performance data between each property and their corporate headquarters. All of their data is in a single repository, significantly simplifying omnichannel data management.
The data scientists at the corporate office analyze the information and disseminate it to parks in actionable summaries. This allows store managers to spend more time on the sales floor, immersing themselves in inspirational experiences with their tourist customers, rather than behind closed doors deciphering data.
They also share data between parks.
Clearly, each park sells customized merchandise that’s unique to the attraction so inventory sharing and shuffling between stores as a typical omnichannel operation is unrealistic. However, they do tend to share vendors.
Because Ortega Parks consolidates and shares vendor data and performance across parks, store managers are better able to maintain high levels of product quality and performance, and build strong vendor-retailer relationship.
"Managers have the data at a glance to quickly analyze it," Bloomfield explained, "so they can make smarter ordering decisions because know their products better."
In addition, having a centralized database of vendor and purchase orders makes it easier to train new managers who are not familiar with the purchase process.
Orders from Amazon are automatically transferred into Magento through Retail Dimensions and then treated as a regular e-commerce order, with data being shared in and through Retail Pro. Magento transfers key data like tracking numbers, significantly reducing the time spent on data entry.
At Ortega Parks, unless someone is going on a summer-long tour through every national park on the continent, they are unlikely to experience that sort of omnichannel journey.
However, the true key to omnichannel is for every retail technology and operation across the company to be so seamlessly connected that customers do not notice the transitions and focus instead on the joy of the whole experience.
The technology and processes should not detract customers’ attention from the awe of feeling so small in the midst of monumental grandeur.
And the retail part of the experience should serve to help tourists crystallize that surge of breath-taking emotion in their memory with meaningful mementoes from the trip.
The National Parks Service requires a mix of American-made, Native American-made, and local artisan-made products significantly impacting store inventory decisions. This adds a constraint to Ortega Parks' freedom to select vendors and make profitable supply chain choices. However, enterprise-wide reporting through Retail Pro grants a better understanding of popular items and vendors so they can use the data to choose the best performers from the mix.
This means their customers are getting the perfect relic of their experience and Ortega Parks is attaining higher margins while adhering to regulations.
"Cool gifts are a part of the experience!" Bloomfield commented. "And better performance data management through Retail Pro allows us to give a better customer experience."
Currently, Ortega Parks is working on centralizing all their reporting tools and data in the cloud. This project comes with a significant amount of complexity: how can they get all their data into the cloud with stores out in the wild and down in the deep where (at least today) no satellite connectivity is possible?
The aim is to have a single, automatically compiled snapshot of daily sales report for all of the businesses. An intuitive dashboard will let both the corporate and retail purchaser to see at a glance the relationship between each of their channels – stores, restaurants, and hotels.
These are the kinds of challenges Bloomfield enjoys – and it will take a lot of innovative IT work to build the vision!
Request a consultation today to see what tools and resources are available in the Retail Pro ecosystem to help you build your omnichannel strategy.