Kendra Scott’s Fast Rollout of New Omnichannel Tactics Amid COVID-19

Curbside pickup at a Kendra Scott store in Austin. Photo credit: KVUE

A decision by the leadership team at jewelry retailer Kendra Scott to invest in an order management system ahead of last year’s peak season was a critical element enabling the company to quickly turn its fleet of stores into fulfillment centers, after shutting them down to the public in mid-March due to COVID-19.

It’s also enabled a rapid rollout of both curbside pickup (launched last week) and buy online, pickup in store (launching next week) – and kept store associates from being furloughed.

Within nine days of the company closing its 108 stores on March 16, and its Austin-based DC slowed down due to social distancing requirements, Kendra Scott was able to reroute orders and inventory to 3PL partner PFS in Memphis. This enabled the quick standup of ship from store, which will soon be available at all of its locations. The curbside pickup program, begun at its 23 Texas stores, will be expanded shortly to 7-10 locations in other states as restrictions loosen.

“Over the next couple of weeks, as state by state allows, we’ll add (BOPIS and curbside) functionality, eventually to the entire fleet of stores,” said Jim Dunlap, Kendra Scott’s CIO. “We’ll keep the ability where we need it to have ship from store capability in place.” He added that some inventory and orders have been slowly routed back from PFS to Kendra Scott’s DC over the past few weeks.

With Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announcing restaurants and stores reopening with restrictions on May 1, the company pushed the BOPIS rollout at its 23 Texas stores to May 5; it will also expand as restrictions ease.

Dunlap said the decision to implement a new order management system from Manhattan Associates last August, in preparation for the peak holiday season, was what enabled the standup of ship from store, BOPIS and curbside pickup to happen so quickly.

“It was very strategic for us going into last holiday season, having the OMS integrated and sharing volumes with our 3PL,” Dunlap said. “From a capacity perspective, our order volume was overtaking the capacity of the DC. We had a successful holiday season, shifting order volume to PFS in Memphis. If we hadn’t done that piece, frankly the rest (turning on SFS and BOPIS) would have taken a lot longer.”

Dunlap said the decision to go with the Manhattan OMS, and the inventory visibility and reallocation it has enabled, has been one of the best decisions Kendra Scott has made.

“Now we can shift volume as we need to, for instance all of a sudden turning on ship from store, BOPIS and curbside,” he said. “The pace of coding was challenging, but I’m really pleased with the way the team was able to deploy in the midst of a crisis. Since the launch we’ve gotten literally thousands of calls (for ship from store orders), and we’re very excited with the way the customer ‘surprise and delight’ factor has been front and center.”

Privately held fashion brand Kendra Scott, founded in 2002 by the entrepreneur of the same name, was valued at $1 billion as of 2018, according to the company. It expanded beyond wholesale after the recession of 2007-2008, adding brick-and-mortar retail as well as ecommerce.