Berkshire Blanket’s Digital Transformation
In 2011, Berkshire Blanket faced the dilemma of whether to be a brand manufacturer or an online retailer when it made the move to using an e-commerce solution and began selling directly to consumers. Already supplying more than 10 million products to top retailers worldwide, the shift made sense; however, the company wasn’t sure how this decision would impact its long-term business strategy. Did it have to make a total conversion to being a retailer?
Berkshire chose a different path and adjusted its strategy. With the help of marketing vice president Emily Pfeiffer, the company embraced cloud computing and found comfort in being a brand manufacturer that is empowered by its cloud-driven online storefront.
Endless Digital Shelf
Rather than keeping consumer sales and retail orders separate, Berkshire Blanket has leveraged Oracle Commerce Cloud to bolster the concept of what Pfeiffer calls an “endless digital shelf.” Berkshire now offers consumers direct access to new products without taking up valuable floor space in brick-and-mortar stores.
By analyzing purchasing patterns and customer interest in new product lines, the company identifies top-performing items that it can then suggest to retailers. In effect, Berkshire’s e-commerce offering does the legwork of market research and increases total sales volume. The IT infrastructure required to manage product images, descriptions, pricing data and SKUs simply isn’t possible on a local scale. Leveraging a set of REST APIs, however, enables Berkshire’s IT team to effectively link the company’s product database to Oracle’s cloud offering.
Customized Search Results
In addition to data generated from the endless digital shelf offering big benefits for Berkshire and its retail partners, the company is also using cloud resources to increase customer satisfaction. By using real-time session data, it’s possible for Berkshire to discover what customers are searching for on its e-commerce site. The company uses the data to tailor its marketing efforts to individuals, rather than large groups, which in turn improves its conversion rate.
For example, one visitor might search for fun kids’ blankets while another looks for luxury throw pillows. Armed with real-time data, Berkshire provides customized search results and creates merchandising efforts (such as sales or promotions) that speak to unique consumer needs.To achieve this aim, Berkshire uses a number of third-party applications as data collectors as well as built-in collectors of its cloud offering to integrate this data stream with its e-commerce platform. Put simply? The cloud enhances customer experience, improving brand loyalty over time.
Berkshire faced a now-common challenge: how to adapt to the world of digital commerce while maintaining its brand integrity. By embracing a transformation strategy rooted in the cloud, the company was able to improve its customer-facing web portal and enhance the market data it supplied to retailers. Berkshire Blanket is a testament to the fundamental cloud premise: technology should always revitalize, never restrict.