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How Brooks Brothers is rising to the next wave of digital commerce

3 strategies helping this legacy retailer come back stronger

July 15, 2021
 ·  5 minutes
Man holding a phone and a wallet on a green background

Between March and April of 2020, Adyen platform data showed as much growth in ecommerce in eight weeks as was seen in the last ten years. This digital surge has had an enduring effect; exposing weaknesses in merchants’ digital channels and creating a more demanding and discerning online customer.

Data points showing growth in ecommerce

Brooks Brothers felt this firsthand. We spoke with them to learn more about the strategies the company implemented to address shifting demands. They may have had a difficult early 2020, but by listening to their customers and implementing key technologies, they’ve been able to not just rise to new demands, but get ahead of them. Here are three lessons to learn from our conversation with Brooks Brothers atNow + Next: Unified commerce.

1. Embrace a customer-first mindset

As pajamas replaced tailored suits, Brooks Brothers was forced to rethink how they were going to sell their products to a changing workforce. They started by reframing what was most important from a customer experience perspective. “A lot of our focus was on men's apparel [and attire in] the workspace,” says Brooks Brothers SVP & Chief Information Officer, Todd Treonze.

From September to March, what was traditionally a 52-week cycle to bring new products to market became a launch for a new leisure line from the men’s department. “We’ve been seeing some really great results related to that,” shared Treonze, “Everything from hooded zip up sweatshirts, to some more everyday cozy wear, things that just weren’t part of the brand before.” The results were quick and exciting – since launching their new site in October, Brooks Brothers has seen a 30% increase in orders YOY.

2. Open new avenues with multiple payment methods

When the brick and mortar stores closed, 100% of shopping volume came through ecommerce. After reopening, Brooks Brothers is still seeing over 50% volume on the online side compared with 25% to 30% pre-pandemic.

Brooks Brother digital commerce shopping volumes by year

Brooks brothers digital commerce shopping volumes by year

This trend could be a result of behaviors sticking or still low comfort levels with shopping in stores. But as comfort levels rise, will brick and mortar come roaring back? No one knows for sure, but the company has set themselves up to be ready for anything, with a new order management system and adding emerging payment methods.

“We rolled out our new order management system late last fall. We also rolled out Adyen as our payment partner behind that which has been a big win for us because it opens up avenues for emerging payment types.”

Todd TreonzeBrooks Brothers SVP & Chief Information Officer

3. Make seamless digital experiences a priority

Ecommerce leapt five to ten years into the future and as a result, consumers’ expectations have also evolved. To rise to this new level of savvy, omnichannel shoppers, it meant putting unified commerce at the center. Since partnering with Adyen as a part of their post-COVID recovery plan, Brooks Brothers saw 1.5X increase in ecommerce sales year over year and a boost in revenue.

“Brooks Brothers started working with Adyen at the beginning of the pandemic and within the first four months of implementing the Real Time Account Updater, 211 transactions were rescued, contributing to a $30,000 revenue uplift.”

Rachael ChenAdyen Account Manager

“If you're a multi-channel or omnichannel retailer who has both stores and online retail, an order management system with a greatpayment platformbehind it is table stakes now, because the customer assumes that you have a single view of inventory. If [customers] want it, and you have it, it shouldn’t matter where that product is. You should be able to get it to them as quickly and as efficiently as possible ” added Treonze. “That’s where a great payment platform that offers all of the emerging digital payment types as an option for your customer is going to really drive your conversion rate through the roof.”

What’s next for Brooks Brothers?

In the coming years, staying true to their high-quality roots while continuing to evolve alongside their core customers. Most recently, theyteamed up with FILAto launch a limited-edition collaborative collection. From a tech perspective, aSalesforce Commerce Cloudre-platforming is in the works, adding another way to get closer to customer insights.

“I think in a lot of ways, 2020 was a shocker for everybody and I think it’s going to go without saying probably a once in a lifetime event and all the things we learned, I think that the biggest was life’s going to come at you faster in this new world,” says Treonze, “If you don’t take advantage of some of the things that your customers are telling you to take advantage of, and really listen and make the changes, somebody else is going to take that change and get that customer.”

Adyen’s Head of Retail and Hospitality Jan-Pieter Lips agrees: "Brooks Brothers has really demonstrated how a retailer can set themselves up for success. They've invested in unifying their internal systems to create a single view of inventory and they've partnered with a payments company that can truly support their digital transformation.”

For Adyen, it doesn't matter whether the customer is at home, on the move or in-store and whether they pick up a product in store or get it sent home. The flexibility of our single payments platform helps retailers like Brooks Brothers create journeys that really work for the customer, and adapt to any change or disruption in the future.

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