Jewelry customers gain a personalized digital experience

Optimizing e-commerce fulfillment with cloud-based order management
by Tom Farre
7-minute read
Pandora store

Since its founding in 1982, Pandora Jewellery has become the world’s largest jewelry brand by volume. The Danish jeweler is known for its affordable, hand-finished and high-quality jewelry. And customers appreciate the individual attention they get at Pandora-brand stores and points-of-sale around the world, where they can try on and personalize the distinctive charm bracelets and other collectible pieces.

Similar to the jewelry industry in general, Pandora traditionally has relied on this personal, high-touch approach rather than e-commerce. Its website was more akin to an online catalog than a digital store, and it was slow. Heritage technology for order and inventory management was inefficient and unstandardized globally. And customer service agents lacked insights into orders, inventory and logistics that could answer basic questions like “Where is my order?” and “When will it ship?”

These issues led Pandora’s management team to prioritize becoming a leader in omnichannel commerce. By digitally transforming online sales, order management, fulfillment and returns, the retailer could offer personalized digital interactions similar to the in-store experience, whichever channel customers chose.

“Today’s consumer demands more personalized products, services and interactions,” says David Walmsley, Chief Digital & Technology Officer at Pandora. “How we derive benefits from technology and data to create a great customer experience is key for us as a global brand.”

“Our main focus is on personalization,” adds Anil Uttamchandani, Director of Engineering at Pandora. “It’s the ability to treat customers with all their individuality and give them a personalized experience across channels, whether it’s online or in our stores.”

Pandora jewelry

In less than one year of operation, Pandora’s digital platform handled a

100%

increase in e-commerce volume

An API-based framework helps IBM Sterling Order Management

streamline

integration of online systems and services

With rich functionality configurable out of the box, IBM Sterling Order Management

accelerates

e-commerce feature development

We chose Salesforce and Sterling Order Management because they are the best available in the market. And I always get a feeling from IBM that they want us to succeed.
Anil Uttamchandani
Director of Engineering, Pandora Jewellery

Starting in 2018, Pandora’s team evaluated technology to power the new digital platform. Scalable, cloud-based solutions were a must, and “out of the box” intelligence and process automation would minimize custom development. Ease of integration among diverse operational systems would speed development. And the team sought vendors who were able to deliver what Pandora was looking for.

The team chose a platform powered by Salesforce Commerce Cloud for e-commerce sales and IBM Sterling® Order Management on Cloud to optimize fulfillment. “As we were somewhat late to the e-commerce party, we wanted to arrive best dressed,” quips Uttamchandani. “We chose Salesforce and Sterling Order Management because they are the best available in the market. And I always get a feeling from IBM that they want us to succeed.”

Pandora’s production site
Pandora store interior
As we are on an ambitious digital journey, we are working with several partners that can help us successfully realize our goals. Sterling is one partner that helps us create this landscape where developers can think about solving business problems rather than technical problems.
Anil Uttamchandani
Director of Engineering, Pandora Jewellery
Accelerating transformation during the pandemic
As we are on an ambitious digital journey, we are working with several partners that can help us successfully realize our goals. Sterling is one partner that helps us create this landscape where developers can think about solving business problems rather than technical problems.
Anil Uttamchandani
Director of Engineering, Pandora Jewellery

Pandora began the initiative in 2018 – 2019 with a pilot covering the US and Canada, and another for the Australia-New Zealand market assisted by IBM Business Partner Publicis Sapient. The pilots created a cornerstone platform powered by Salesforce Commerce Cloud as the customer-facing front end and Sterling™ Order Management on Cloud, a SaaS solution for optimizing inventory and fulfillment.

The platform linked order management with systems for sales, warehousing, distribution and the contact center. This gave Pandora personnel insights into inventory and orders in real time, while an intelligent and automated fulfillment engine shipped orders to customers as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

The Sterling platform can power omnichannel functions such as order online, pickup in store (click and collect) and virtual queuing, which notifies customers when an order is ready for pickup. And inventory visibility offers the potential to use stores as mini-distribution centers for online orders.

With the pilots creating a sound operational template, in early 2020 Pandora planned to extend the platform to Europe. Then the pandemic hit, causing stores to close and making e-commerce even more essential. The Pandora team responded by turbocharging its transformation. It established a Digital Hub unit of some 100 technical specialists in Copenhagen, whose task was to further enhance the digital experience and drive e-commerce sales.

All newly onboarded digital and technology talent at the Digital Hub and across the globe added significant capabilities to the foundational platform. In selected markets, a chatbot supplemented call-center personnel. Sales colleagues working from home assisted customers over webcams. Augmented reality let customers try on items online. In addition, the majority of the stores were operational and Pandora.net, the online platform, offered features like click and collect as well as engraving.

All these features were successfully developed and implemented by Pandora’s digital and technology team in just a few months to be ready for peak season amidst the pandemic.

“Click and collect is an important feature because it supports personalization, providing the ability for customers to choose to collect online purchases from a nearby store, instead of waiting for them to be delivered,” says Uttamchandani.

A blueprint for innovative transformation

Working remotely, the Digital Hub deployed the enhanced Sterling platform in Europe in less than five months. The results have been excellent.

“We had a very good year in 2021 because of all our amazing colleagues across the globe, our store staff and our colleagues in manufacturing. Of course, the online platform helped, and Sterling is one of the partners that helped us on our way,” says Uttamchandani. The platform sets the stage for continuing Pandora’s transformation into e-commerce leader.

“Our vision is to have a simplified technology landscape to provide velocity that reduces time to market for additional digital features, for innovation,” says Uttamchandani. “As we are on an ambitious digital journey, we are working with several partners that can help us successfully realize our goals. Sterling is one partner that helps us create this landscape where developers can think about solving business problems rather than technical problems.”

As an example, Uttamchandani cites giving digital customers the ability to change payment providers. “It sounds like a simple thing,” he explains, “but it’s much easier when you have an API-based platform capable of integrating different providers without changing anything at the fundamental level.”

Another example came when distribution center managers requested the ability to divert heavy loads to another center. Developers added the feature quickly because the Sterling solution lets such changes be made in configuration — without requiring custom coding. “With Sterling, we can get things done faster and solve supply chain problems out of the box,” says Uttamchandani.

The platform’s initial success hasn’t caused the digital team to slow down. Developers are working to extend the platform to every Pandora geography. Omnichannel enhancements include buy online, return to store and an endless-aisle service that lets customers order items that are out of stock in stores or not normally sold there. Developers are implementing order promise and the ability to distribute online orders from stores. And they are furthering personalization with data-driven recommendations.

Additionally, Uttamchandani is exploring features from the latest Sterling version that can help “prepare us for tomorrow,” he says. Operational dashboards give business managers more control; AI-assisted fulfillment analyzes a range of complex factors; and a “save the sale” function lets associates locate out-of-stock inventory in other stores and estimate delivery times.

In implementing this aggressive agenda, Uttamchandani is confident in his team’s prospects for success. He sums it up this way: “2022 is the year we will be able to accelerate because now our base is ready.”

Pandora Jewellery logo
About Pandora Jewellery

PandoraExternal Link is the world’s largest jewelry brand. The company designs, manufactures and markets hand-finished jewelry made from high-quality materials at affordable prices. Pandora jewelry is sold in more than 100 countries through 6,800 points of sale, including more than 2,600 concept stores. Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, Pandora employs 27,000 people worldwide and crafts its jewelry at two LEED Gold-certified facilities in Thailand using mainly recycled silver and gold. The company generated sales of EUR 3.1 billion in 2021.

Publicis Sapient logo
About Publicis Sapient

Headquartered in the US in Boston, Massachusetts, Publicis SapientExternal Link is an IBM Business Partner specializing in digital transformation. The company’s SPEED capabilities include Strategy and Consulting, Product, Experience, Engineering and Data. Publicis Sapient is a division of Paris-based Publicis Groupe, which employs around 20,000 people in more than 50 offices worldwide.

Solution component
Pandora Jewellery logo
About Pandora Jewellery

Founded in 1982, PandoraExternal Link is the world’s largest jewelry brand. The company designs, manufactures and markets hand-finished jewelry made from high-quality materials at affordable prices. Pandora jewelry is sold in more than 100 countries through 6,800 points of sale, including more than 2,600 concept stores. Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, Pandora employs 27,000 people worldwide and crafts its jewelry at two LEED Gold-certified facilities in Thailand using mainly recycled silver and gold. The company generated sales of EUR 3.1 billion in 2021.

Publicis Sapient logo
About Publicis Sapient

Headquartered in the US in Boston, Massachusetts, Publicis SapientExternal Link is an IBM Business Partner specializing in digital transformation. The company’s SPEED capabilities include Strategy and Consulting, Product, Experience, Engineering and Data. Publicis Sapient is as division of Paris-based Publicis Groupe, which employs around 20,000 people in more than 50 offices worldwide.

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