IT Science Case Study: How Tommy Hilfiger Created Its Digital Showroom

SOLUTION ANALYSIS: How does a high-visibility international apparel maker/retailer create a digital showroom available anywhere in the world and easily replicable to match company growth? Couchbase provides the answer in this use case.


Here is the latest article in a new eWEEK feature series called IT Science, in which we look at what actually happens at the intersection of new-gen IT and legacy systems.

Unless it’s brand new and right off various assembly lines, servers, storage and networking inside every IT system can be considered “legacy.” This is because the iteration of both hardware and software products is speeding up all the time. It’s not unusual for an app-maker, for example, to update and/or patch for security purposes an application a few times a month, or even a week. Some apps are updated daily! Hardware moves a little slower, but manufacturing cycles are also speeding up.

These articles describe new-gen industry solutions. The idea is to look at real-world examples of how new-gen IT products and services are making a difference in production each day. Most of them are success stories, but there will also be others about projects that blew up. We’ll have IT integrators, system consultants, analysts and other experts helping us with these as needed.

Today’s  Topic: Tommy Hilfiger Creates a Digital Showroom with Couchbase

Goal: As part of its digital strategy, Tommy Hilfiger wanted to streamline its sales processes and shorten the window between retailer previews of new collections and actually delivering those new products to stores. At the same time, the company wanted to minimize the need to produce and transport samples: reducing costs while maintaining the company’s ongoing drive towards sustainability and corporate responsibility by minimizing the environmental impact that comes with sample creation and shipping throughout the supply chain.

The approach: Tommy Hilfiger turned to the Couchbase Data Platform to realize its ambition by introducing the industry’s first, global, digital showrooms. By allowing buyers to browse collections, view pieces, and create custom laydowns and orders via touchscreen workstations and a theater of ultra-high-definition 4K screens, the showroom offers a forward-thinking approach to the sales process. It removes the need to create, examine, and deliver samples to retail locations around the world for every new collection. As a result, Tommy Hilfiger was able to deliver transformational, engaging experiences to partners as they browse and buy from the season’s new collection.

The apparel company’s overarching goal was to streamline sales and create a more attractive experience for retailers, while maintaining sustainability and corporate responsibility. Tommy Hilfiger recognized that for the digital showroom to provide a truly tailored experience for retail and wholesale partners, it needed a data platform to support this new approach to sales: delivering an easy-to-use, reliable experience for partners and consumers.

Describe the strategy that went into finding the solution: To transform the way its clients experience its seasonal offerings, Tommy Hilfiger needed a solution that could provide:

  • access and product specifications in real time according to each customer’s needs;
  • support a one-click ordering system to complete sales and deliver products onto store shelves faster;
  • add new product lines and functionalities as they are created;
  • support in-depth analysis of customer orders to help develop a more targeted, relevant, and successful sales experience; and
  • allow the digital showroom to be easily replicated in various locations around the world.

List the key components in the solution: The Couchbase Data Platform was the most powerful NoSQL platform available with the flexibility, scalability and power to support the digital showroom’s ambitions. With the ability to: provide ease-of-use and performance to accelerate the sales process and radically improve sustainability; deliver a universally engaging experience regardless of device, location or connectivity; and scale quickly and easily to support new collections, multiple regional showrooms and new, innovative projects, the Couchbase Data Platform underpinned the showroom to help build the engaging digital experiences that have never existed before.

Describe how the deployment went, perhaps how long it took, and if it came off as planned: Couchbase’s technology has contributed to the success of the showroom since its launch in 2015. The expected benefits of a faster sales process and reduced sample production are already being realized. For instance, when Tommy Hilfiger’s Asia-Pacific team visited Europe for a buying session, the visit was significantly shortened from the usual three days to just one. It is also recording sales increases, with pre-Fall sales for the Middle East, Africa, and the Netherlands already growing.

Describe the result, new efficiencies gained, and what was learned from the project: With Couchbase, Tommy Hilfiger has achieved scalable, digitally engaging buying experiences and faster time-to-market for new collections. With an ambitious rollout plan by the end of 2018, the aim is to have digital showrooms in more than 25 locations worldwide with more than 100 workstations. With Couchbase powering the showroom, Tommy Hilfiger can offer a consistently engaging, integrated, and seamless brand buying experience across every market and showroom regardless of market or customer size, anywhere in the world.

Describe ROI, carbon footprint savings, and staff time savings, if any: With the Digital Showroom, Tommy Hilfiger was able to cut sample production by 80 percent in European headquarters, and it’s doing the same with digital showroom locations globally.

Other references:

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...