The National Army Museum aims to educate and engage its visitors with the history of the UK military, and has done so since its opening in 1960. The museum, based in London, has an on-site retail outlet, but also enables customers to purchase online.
The museum aims to be a place that moves, inspires, challenges, educates, and entertains a range of audiences. The leadership team at the museum wanted to make sure customers the best experience possible across every interaction they have with the museum, so they decided it was time for a technology overhaul.
Time for Innovation
As part of a three-year £23.75M refit, in 2016 the museum set about selecting new retail systems to take advantage of the best technology innovations. They needed a system that was operational quickly – ready in time for the re-launch of The National Army Museum by HM the Queen.
The museum had multiple retail and back-office areas that either didn’t have systems in-place, or if they did, those systems were not talking with each other. The museum was struggling with incomplete views of the customer and disjointed views of the business operations.
Money can often be tight for a free-entry museum, meaning the museum has to be “creative” in how it spends and saves its budget. They needed something that was quick to set up and offered excellent value for money. So, they selected Connected Commerce’s retail integration platform, TIDE, to stand at the heart of the new systems. TIDE’s pre-existing connectors mean that integrating retail systems together takes days, not weeks – which reduces project time and cost.
The museum staff wanted to have a clearer view of the business operations in order to understand their customers, manage stock levels, and improve their bottom line.
The new systems had to be able to manage, synchronise and maintain data across multiple key areas:
- Point of sale
- Inventory and stock control
- Loyalty scheme (called NAMily)
- Customer profiles
Feature Rich and Easy to use
The core requirements for the new system were to enable better stock management, more effective marketing, increased sales, and better performance management.
Stock management was particularly important for the new system due to the varying levels of turnaround time on some of the product lines. Connected Commerce chose systems that would let the business clearly see stock levels and each product line’s performance. This would allow the museum to better manage stock, ensure the warehouse was not overstocked, and use marketing to clear old or slow-moving items.
The National Army Museum have at least 30 staff that work on a rotational basis, so the EPOS system had to be simple to use and have a short learning curve, so staff could pick up the system swiftly. It also had to be easy to remember so that when staff didn’t use it for a while they could easily pick it up and use it again. Connected Commerce teamed a simple to use EPOS with off-the-shelf iPads and BouncePad docking stations to enable the staff to be flexible with the number and location of tills.
The Underpinning Technology
Connected Commerce helped The National Army Museum choose and integrate a set of new, commercial and operational systems. Using Connected Commerce’s TIDE system at the centre, these systems integrated with each other, as well as with the Museum’s existing Salesforce CRM and NetSuite Finance Platform.
The platforms connected were:
- Red61 Ticketing
- Bespoke Reservation System
- Salesforce Membership Management
- Lightspeed EPOS & Inventory Management System
- Salesforce CRM (existing)
- NetSuite Finance (existing)
Normally such a diverse range of systems will almost never speak to, or share intelligence, with each other. But with the TIDE platform acting as the middle-man, data is kept synchronised across all of them
A Streamlined Landscape
The outcome of the project was a fully integrated system that synchronised in real-time and met all of the museum’s needs:
- Automatically create and maintain a Single View of the Customer in their Salesforce CRM
- Consolidate and maintain all financial transaction, from all sales channels, in their NetSuite finance system
- Automate membership programme benefits across sales channels
- Automate management reporting
- Operational efficiencies between sales and inventory
- See visitor behaviour patterns to develop appropriate marketing and sales strategies
Due to the swift speed of integration that Connected Commerce were able to achieve with their integration platform (TIDE), the project was completed in only 3 months, ready in time for the re-launch of the museum.