Omnyfy transforms Australia Post's LPO Trade Expo with complete omni-channel event commerce solution.
Australia Post operates a network of over 2,700 licensed post offices (LPO’s), businesses that are licensed to sell Australia Post products and other merchandise. Each year, since 1995, Australia Post has run the LPO Trade Expo – a procurement based trade event, that allows Licensees to interact directly with sponsors and exhibitors, facilitated by Australia Post’s Retail Network Partnership team.
We caught up with the team from Australia Post during the LPO Trade Expo weekend, in Melbourne to talk about the journey to transform the LPO Trade Expo in under six months.
...Licensees can use their own device, it can be a laptop, a smartphone, a tablet, and that’s the great thing...it’s not just one technology, not one device or one platform, it can be used across any device or channel.
Makarla Cole, Manager Retail Network Partnerships
Talking with Makarla Cole, Manager Retail Network Partnerships, “This event is called the Licensed Post Office Trade Expo. It is for all of Australia Posts’ Licensees who run their own licensed post offices. It is an opportunity for licensee to come along and have face to face meetings with the Australia Post team and get to see our products and services first hand.”
The event consists of a month long road show, all across Australia, for five weekends between the months of July and August, and includes over 2,200 licensees, 86 suppliers and almost 1,700 product offers.
For 2015, Australia Post identified a need to digitise the trade component of the event, which has traditionally focussed on a pen-and-paper based ordering system. With over 1000 orders being placed, the task of transcribing the data post event, collating orders, calculating complex discounts and credits, processing the orders into the back-office systems and thereafter fulfilling the orders required a vast amount of man-power as well as time and effort, post event.
Historically, orders were processed over a 1-2 week period after each event, with LPO’s receiving their orders from the second week after the event.
Andrew Gaythorp, head of Retail Supply & Inventory, gave us an insight into the way things used to work – “We had a very manual process before, and so far from an order capture and order fulfilment as well as just browsing all of the products that we had for our licensees it was a very time consuming process.”
Additionally, there was a lack of sufficient real-time data and information on the performance of the event, as there was no order processing mechanism available on-site. Information was not available until at least 3-4 days after each event was over – removing any ability for Australia Post to quickly react to the market needs and demand from their customers.
In November 2014, Australia Post engaged Omnyfy as their preferred partner to deliver a truly omni-channel experience for the LPO Trade Expo. This included a fully integrated web and mobile experience, where Licencees could plan and order online, and on-site using smart devices.
The solution was required to support complex product types including product bundles with sophisticated pricing discounts based on order quantities, order combinations, SKU’s in cart and more.
Additionally, it was important that the entire solution be made extremely simple to use, to maximise up-take and drive engagement.
Alex Lewis, Head of Technology – Australia Post Retail Merchandising – “There were two key functional areas we had to consider when selecting a platform, one was having a conference related application, such as information about speakers, suppliers, products, locations on the floorplan and so on, and the second part was around the order capture side, we wanted something that could be easily used by the attendees and could capture both of those requirements.”
Using the Omnyfy for Magento, omni-channel platform as the base and leveragings its extensive out-of-the-box capabilities including fully integrated mobile apps, commerce capabilities and extensive product catalogue, Omnyfy was able to deliver the entire requirements of Australia Post within 2 months from project commencement.
Richard Stock is the organiser of the entire LPO Trade Expo from within Australia Post and was a key driver of the omni-channel platform implementation for the event. “A lot of the stuff we wanted to do, was available straight out of the box with Omnyfy, but we did have some stuff that needed to be tweaked and developed in order for us to be able to deliver what we traditionally delivered.”
The omni-channel solution included a full commerce website and mobile applications for both iOS and Android.
In relation to the omni-channel capability of the platform, Makarla added “It’s just like shopping online with any other platform or application. Licensees can use their own device, it can be a laptop, a smartphone, a tablet, a samsung, an apple device and that’s the great thing, it’s not just one technology, not one device or one platform, it can be used across any device or channel.”
Omnyfy continuously refined the solution in the lead-up to the LPO Trade Expo and assisted Australia Post in importing almost 1,800 product SKU’s and bundles.
Omnyfy’s innovative PIN based checkout ensured that ordering was a breeze and retained the required security for Licensees. The solution leveraged existing accounts and account numbers to place orders while enabling customers to confirm the orders using a secure PIN.
Alex Lewis – “…the conferences previously were pretty much paper based ordering, and so to get a new solution in, it’s really going from the dark ages straight to 2015, it’s been quite a big leap. We were all worried about the adoption for our licensees coming in, but it’s exceeded our expectations. The business is really happy, especially with the data that we’re getting in real time, and at the end of the event, which has been fantastic. We’ve had licensees call up and congratulate us on how quickly we’ve fulfilled the orders, so it’s been a real step change for us, and Omnyfy has been fantastic, we’ve been really satisfied. They’ve gone over and above in terms of functionality changes and requests that we’ve made, and being a cloud based solution has meant that it has been cost effective as well for Australia Post.”
Andrew Gaythorpe – “From our perspective, the benefits are huge! I can actually analyse the results during the day and that allows me to manage our vendors who maybe aren’t writing as many orders as they should, to give them live analytics and to help them generate more orders. ”
“From a licensee’s perspective, we are getting great feedback, because they are able to manage their orders properly and it alerts them to products that they might not have seen before. We are also seeing that they are not restricted to placing their orders at the expo, and like a lot of online behaviour, they’ll order it later at night or early in the morning, so we’re seeing a steady stream of orders coming in rather than just in one big rush at the expo.”
“From our supplier’s perspective, they get real time analytics to see how well they are doing on the day, it also provides a great engagement point for our suppliers to talk to our licencees.”
Richard Stock – “We run five events over five weeks, and to do data analysis week on week to change things in between those programs has been incredible, we have been able to turn around things a lot quicker than we’ve ever been able to in the past.“
...the business is really happy, especially with the data that we’re getting in real time, and at the end of the event, which has been fantastic. We’ve had licensees call up and congratulate us on how quickly we’ve fulfilled the orders, so it’s been a real step change for us Alex Lewis, Head of Technology
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