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Case Studies - Debenhams

Debenhams

Background

Debenhams is the UK’s leading department store with a turnover in excess of £2bn, over 140 department stores in the UK, a further 40 franchised stores around the world, and a significant online presence.

The original Debenhams store, founded in 1913, was based in London, and is still used by the company for its press and communications activities. Acquisitions of Harvey Nichols and Browns stores followed and the company listed on the stock market in 1928. Debenhams continued to expand rapidly in the 1990s before being bought by a private consortium in 2003, returning to the stock exchange in 2006.

In the UK, Debenhams has a top four market share in womenswear and menswear, and a top ten share in childrenswear. It leads the market in premium health and beauty.

Debenhams is available online in 70 countries and is the eleventh biggest UK online retailer by traffic volume. In March 2012 Debenhams was awarded "Multichannel Retailer of the Year" at the Oracle Retail Week Awards.

Project Requirements

In early 2005 Debenhams launched a new initiative to offer customers the ability to order currently unavailable items either from within their home store, or by calling a central phone service. Called ‘Debenhams to you’, the service needed a means by which up to 2,500 internal members of the Debenhams team could be contacted to help make the ‘Debenhams to you’ service a success.

“We decided on text messaging as our means of communication early on, however what we needed was a cost-effective solution that could be relied upon twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week”, commented Paul Munday, Debenhams’ Technical Manager of Networks.

When a customer places an order through the ‘Debenhams to you’ service, text messages are dispatched automatically to local store mobiles for staff to check the in-store availability of the item ordered. Once availability confirmations have been relayed back, the customer is informed and the item is either delivered to their home or can be picked up at their local store.

Project Solution

Debenhams decided to outsource the sending of the text messages to an SMS provider, rather than build that part of the system themselves.

Following a review and evaluation of SMS providers, TextAnywhere was chosen as Debenhams’ text-messaging partner.

“We originally chose TextAnywhere because their service was swift, good value, and they understood the importance of business-critical applications in a customer-centric organisation like Debenhams”, added Paul.

Project Successes

The ‘Debenhams to you’ service has been a great success with thousands of items per week being ordered through this route. And the decision to use a text service to deliver the store-to-store communication has proven to be a good one.

“We are delighted with the success of this sales initiative. We are equally pleased with TextAnywhere. We have worked with them for three years now, and the service has been faultless, simple to use, and highly economical”, added Paul Munday.

Since the introduction of text-messaging to Debenhams, other applications and uses for SMS services have been found. Daily, tailored sales figures are sent out to store managers, regional managers and directors, as a means of providing up-to-the-minute store and region performance data.

The next business area to support SMS services will be within Business Continuity Planning. Text messaging will be used as a means of communication between members of staff, local services, partners and suppliers.

Secure Company

Since 2002, TextAnywhere has offered a range of text services that focus on reliability, ease of use, security and good value, backed by quality support from a financially secure, profitable organisation.

Range of Services

TextAnywhere provides commercial and public sector organisations with text messaging services that enable the sending and receiving of SMS messages from individual desktops or handheld devices, through online and email applications. These can be through a simple pre-paid model or monthly account terms.

The company also offers a Developer Toolkit for clients to integrate texting in to their own applications, as well as a White Label service for partners who wish to offer TextAnywhere's services as their own, branded text messaging services.

If you would like to find out more about how TextAnywhere can help your business communications, please visit www.textanywhere.net or call the sales team on 08451 221 302, or email us on welcome@textanywhere.net.

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