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If you think back to the ‘90s you’ll remember the distinct fashion choices of the time - some of which will never see a revival. While many wore the likes of plaid flannel shirts, spaghetti strap tops or platform sneakers, professional skier Alastair Parker-Swift was bucking the trend.
While running a surfing school in Salcombe, Devon, he created his debut menswear line, consisting of navy and white rugby shirts made with local materials. With an iconic ‘93 patch sewn on every piece as a trademark stamp, Alastair took his designs to Cowes Festival on the Isle of Wight.
Nearly three decades on, the coastal aesthetic of Crew Clothing has grown from one store on King’s Road in London, to over 100 on its mission to create versatile, quality, and iconic clothing. During this journey the world of retail and fashion has evolved dramatically. In the years since 2020 alone there have been more changes than anyone could anticipate. For the team at Crew, including Head of IT Richard Surman, there were also internal hurdles to jump if they wanted to keep up with the ever-changing behaviours and demands in the industry.
When Richard joined the company in early 2020, his first priority was to formulate an IT strategy that would benefit the company as a whole. This meant an overhaul of existing systems that hadn’t been touched for some time, and replacing them with technology compatible with Crew’s long-term roadmap. He explained:
“One of the things that was very apparent is that we had a huge reliance on our ERP system within the business, which is our sort of living and breathing element from an IT perspective. It’s a very old version that doesn't really do what we need it to. So I took a bit of a pragmatic approach: Where there were only four systems that we would need to replace completely, let's just get best-of-breed solutions to replace it.”
His proposal was approved by the board, but that was only the beginning of Crew’s transformation. Not long after, one of its payment providers served notice. Rather than find another and continue to keep in-store and online transactions separate, this announcement inspired Richard to bring all of Crew’s payments together under one roof. That’s where Adyen came in after a RFP process saw us come out top.
For Crew, this partnership opened up new opportunities and insights for the team that they didn’t have access to before. For example, it means the brand can cater to consumer habits that are now considered a norm, such as digital wallets.
Richard added: “From a business perspective, the ability to see both web and store payments in one platform is amazing, as is the capability to integrate with multiple other partners and introduce more payment types. Previously, one of the other key drivers that we had in the pipeline, but weren’t able to introduce, were methods like Google Pay™, which most brands can take as a matter of course.”
“The ability to see both web and store payments in one platform is amazing.”
While Adyen has given Crew Clothing freedom and control over its payments and finances, MNP has provided an effective order management system (OMS) for over 10 years. It helps the business organise and maintain stock, as well as process orders.
MNP’s StoreActive was created especially to support Crew in its growth. This is an in-store browser-based solution enabling omnichannel brands to meet customer demand by transforming each branch into distribution and collection centres. With a customisable store and stock algorithm, and complete visibility across the business, orders can be automatically pushed to a desired location. Click and collect orders can be available in minutes and returned to any location, drastically improving the customer experience - making it the perfect fit alongside Crew’s cross-channel payment setup with Adyen.
Discussing how the tool helps Crew on a daily basis, MNP Account Manager Glen Wilkinson explained: “The moment an order is placed, the allocation routine kicks into action. Orders are distributed to stores with available inventory to complete the fulfilment process. If stores are busy and maybe haven’t accepted the order within a specific time frame, the order gets unallocated from the original store and distributed to the next available branch with stock. This continues until the order can be completed - when the store accepts it, they have a three-click process with automated label generation and despatch paperwork, and the customer is notified.”
Over 5,000 orders were processed through StoreActive in December 2021, showing the value it has added to everyday processes. Speaking of Crew’s long-standing relationship with MNP, Richard said: “MNP are very flexible in their approach, they bend over backwards when there's something that needs to be done. That's the sort of partnership I'd like to have with our organisation. We're both on the journey to deliver something that's beneficial to both of us and that we can share it is really, really positive.”
With our solutions available to support across every area of the business, Crew immediately experienced positive outcomes. These include enhanced customer services thanks to a clear overview of each transaction, and reduced fraud with our risk management solution.
As Richard noted: “The fraud capability is second to none. The amount of chargebacks we used to get on our own system was just unreal. And really, to date, on our website we've only had one chargeback in seven months, which is amazing. We’ve had minimal issues from a customer perspective, and they've all been dealt with very quickly… It's been really, really good. We’re very impressed and we're extremely pleased that we selected Adyen as our partner.”
“We've only had one chargeback in seven months, which is amazing.”
Additionally, since Adyen joined forces with Crew alongside MNP, Crew saw a 2% increase on their annual turnover during December 2021 year on year. Looking to the future, Richard is confident that things will continue as positively as they began, while Glen also feels the benefits of working alongside Adyen:
“We've got a really good relationship - the integration works well. It's simplified, because you offer the fact that you're the acquirer as well as a payment solution. But the fact that you also have that fraud layer involved as well means that it's just easier for system providers like us to just connect. It's just working.”