City Beach has reported its smoothest peak retail season, against a backdrop of record online sales across Australia, thanks to its work with Macquarie Telecom, part of Macquarie Telecom Group.

With support from Macquarie, City Beach expanded its technology environment to include SD-WAN across its 66 retail stores and residential warehouses, which, combined with NBN connectivity, telephony and Wi-Fi, has provided further stability and scalability.

According to City Beach chief information officer, Rhian Greenway, eight years ago it became apparent the systems that held City Beach in good stead since the 1980s were not equipped to deal with the evolving demands of customers and team members.

“It was apparent our technology stack lacked the stability and scalability required to meet customer expectations around reliability and efficiency, but also the needs of our staff. We had to push back anything that might interrupt the core business of allocating stock and sales reporting, resulting in quite a narrow technology focus,” he said.

Macquarie Telecom was engaged to provide a virtual data centre, Wi-Fi across its warehouses powered by Juniper Networks, a telephony platform, and a company-wide rollout of SD-WAN.

Greenway said the Macquarie rollout was cost-effective and provided City Beach with a stable and flexible technology base that has allowed it to thrive in the modern environment.

“With modern systems we’ve been able to evolve our focus beyond break fixes, and we’ve now got a full enterprise resource planning [ERP] team that does development, design, reporting and analytics. The latter has allowed us to be more agile with trialling new initiatives and moving with technology trends.”

The stability provided by SD-WAN enabled a much stabler peak period across the retail network.

“With the previous technology stack, we experienced an array of outages, and the transition to Macquarie uncovered a lot of Wi-Fi blackspots in our warehouses. Last year’s peak season, due largely to the SD-WAN stability, we had a much smoother trade across our retail network,” Greenway said.

Over the next six months City Beach will introduce Microsoft Teams for its staff and Click and Collect services for its customers.

The retailer is also planning pilots for voice picking solutions, whereby warehouse staff wear headsets to scan customer orders and receive instant information about the aisle and pit locations of products, streamlining the delivery process.