Hot Topic Base CaseBy David F. Carr | Posted 2003-10-01 Print
Installing a wide-area communications network let workers and managers easily talk about the latest styles, keeping the hip retailer in a groove.
Company: Hot Topic
The annual sales per square foot for this 500-store retail chain. The average at competing youth-oriented retailers is $367, according to an industry survey by Wachovia Securities.
Business: Retailer of music-influenced apparel for young people, with an emphasis on alternative styles. Torrid, a second brand of stores for young women, bills itself as "The Alternative for Sizes 12-26."
Headquarters: City of Industry, Calif.
Key Business Executive: Gerald Cook, president (formerly chief operating officer)
Key Technology Manager: John Horwath, vice president of technology
Project: Eliminate dial-up credit-card authorization and time-consuming paper-based processes by deploying a wide-area network linking stores to headquarters. Include support for Internet phones and in-store e-mail.
Objectives: Improve customer service, solicit more style and product suggestions from employees, and boost sales with faster store checkout.
Technology Used:Cisco routers, firewall, and IP phones; GERS and Traversity retail operations software; JDA Software's Arthur Allocation for determining store merchandise needs; IBM Regatta server and "Shark" Enterprise Storage Server.
Lessons for Big Companies: Don't just focus on saving money. Improved customer service and better communication between headquarters and store staff will lead to higher sales.
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