Territory Ahead sails on cross-channel waters

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CommercialWare Inc. debuted a cross-channel order management system at this month's National Retail Federation show that lets direct marketers such as The Territory Ahead transact and support customers across channels.

The Java-based retail management product includes order management, customer service and fulfillment functionality across channels, benefiting multichannel retailers like The Territory Ahead, a longtime CommercialWare customer. The retailer began as a catalog before making its way onto the Web and then opening retail stores.

"We were looking to further integrate the customer experience with a cross-channel marketplace," said James A. Carling, vice president of IT and operations at The Territory Ahead, Santa Barbara, CA. "So customer data across channels is extremely important to us."

The Territory Ahead sells men's and women's apparel with a rustic-meets-dressed-up flavor, much like the style in the coastal California town where it's based. Products include velvet dresses, pigment dyed cotton sweaters and tailored sports coats made of rugged tweed.

The retailer designs and develops clothing in-house, focusing on the lifestyle of its outdoorsy yet sensible demographic rather than specific fashion trends. Its marketing promotes fun and adventure with outdoors imagery.

CWSerenade has seven modules for cross-channel retailers to manage orders, fulfillment, customer service, warehousing/inventory control, merchandising, marketing and finance. These modules share a database so the retailer can collect and manage transaction details from all channels in real time. CWSerenade is database, application server and operating system independent, so it can be deployed in the retailer's environment of choice.

CommercialWare, whose clients include Abercrombie & Fitch, Ritz Camera, Jos. A. Bank and Patagonia, introduced the product based on customer demand, said Jane Cannon, chief operating officer at CommercialWare, Natick, MA.

"Direct marketers are looking for the Holy Grail of cross-channel, be it Web, brick-and-mortar stores, TV or whatever," she said. "We wanted to make it easier for our customers to be able to implement a sales and marketing strategy across multiple channels in a single place."

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