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Global fashion brand Ralph Lauren has made a fairly large change to its Ecommerce strategy: moving from their plan to create a custom Ecommerce solution (as first mooted in 2016) to Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware). The change appears to be prompted by a will to speed up momentum on their change program, following the company struggling to hit financial targets in recent quarters. Financial issues were put down to varying problems such as inventory difficulties, but switching to an ‘off the shelf’ technology will no doubt allow Ralph Lauren to focus more time and attention on customer experience (rather than technical building work), as well as assist with their overall cost reduction and streamlining programme. Salesforce Commerce Cloud also includes obvious positives from a CRM point of view.

We’re only a quarter of the way into 2017, but the year has already been challenging for Ralph Lauren. Chief Exec Stefan Larsson announced he’ll be stepping down from his role on May this year, a shock announcement as Mr Larsson had only been in post for less than two years. The move is thought to be due to differences with founder and chairman of the company Ralph Lauren. Following the announcement, the company’s share price dropped more than 3.5%.

Ralph Lauren’s decision to move to Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud will come as a shock to many in the Ecommerce industry as in June 2016, Ralph Lauren announced a new “Way Forward” strategic plan that was designed to streamline the company’s operations and improve its Ecommerce capabilities. As part of this, the company commented that:

“We are also in the process of building an in-house global e-commerce platform as part of our plan to further enhance our omni-channel capabilities. Rollout of the new global e-commerce platform is expected to be completed in 2018.”

With Ecommerce sales falling 10% in the most recent quarter, it’s  clear that Ralph Lauren could not afford to wait until 2018 for its new custom Ecommerce solution which is why they have shifted gear in their Ecommerce strategy and are now moving to Salesforce’s solution.

As well as moving its Ecommerce business to a more cost-effective platform, the fashion firm has also announced that it will be closing shops and offices resulting in job losses. One of these will be it’s 711 Fifth Avenue Polo store which will help Ralph Lauren to achieve over $140m savings annually as a result. These store closures reflect the fact that people’s shopping habits are continually moving towards buying digitally as well as the fact that Americans generally are spending less and less money on clothing. More and more online retailers are appearing and mimicking catwalk fashion at discounted prices, putting severe pressure on lower end luxury brands such as Ralph Lauren.

Chief Financial Officer Jane Nielsen, talking about the changes that have been necessary, commented:

“The decision will optimise our store portfolio in the New York area and allow us to focus on opportunities to pilot new and innovative customer experiences. The Polo brand remains strong, and we expect it to further strengthen as we continue to evolve the Polo product and marketing.”

It remains to be seen whether these changes by the Ralph Lauren Corporation will make the positive differences required by the organisation.


Posts written by author Ecommerce Guide will be written by multiple authors.

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