Surprised that the company behind one of Canada’s freshest and most exciting clothing brands was founded in 1957? According to Catherine Chick, SVP IT of Canada Goose, age is just a number. Leveraging technology and innovation, the company continues to build its strong reputation by focusing on putting customers first.

Canada Goose, a pandemic-era success story (which not only sells in Canada, but also manufactures its products here), sells quality clothing. And it’s doing very well – it continues to grow in the global market, especially through online channels. But what is the business really done, says Chick, is served.

Catherine Chick - SVP IT, Canada Goose
Catherine Chick – SVP IT, Canada Goose

“We serve people. This is our priority. Through significant investments in technology, we want to deliver that premium customer experience that sets us apart.

Exceptional experience

In today’s hypercompetitive marketplace, where the superconnected customer can fully assess what you offer with just a few taps or clicks, the experience has to be top-notch. Chick said Canada Goose has recognized the importance of its website as a customer experience tool.

“We recently relaunched our North American website,” she said. “Our content, from photography to video and layout, seems to set us apart as a luxury brand.”

Our goal from day one has been to offer customers a digital version of the experience they would have in one of our physical stores. So far, offering content interaction instead of human interaction has given us great results. »

Chick talked about Canada Goose’s “shop live” experience where, instead of chatting with an AR bot, customers can book time with a real salesperson. Customers click the “buy live” button, an associate receives a ping, and a video call is initiated.

“It comes close to the ‘real feel’ – like visiting a store,” Chick said. “We don’t have a massive footprint, so this is a feature that comes in handy for people who don’t live near a store. People can get all the help they would get in-store from their living room.

People and tools

Chick said it’s important for a company looking to scale to have the right technology in place, but said that’s only half the equation.

“Part of our success in spreading our brand is based on the tools we use. We have made many solid investments. However, without people, tools are just tools. Our marketing team did a great job. Thanks to social media and our own CRM, marketing has extended our reach and significantly improved our reputation. »

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Work to untangle

Chick spoke clearly about the challenges Canada Goose faces with operational complexity, an issue the company is not alone in facing.

“We take a platform approach with our systems. There is a need for a multitude of niche subsystems – it’s a complex ecosystem for us to work within. It’s no small feat to deliver a smooth experience while maintaining the efficiency of internal operations. We are not alone in this struggle, but in our case we are talking about dozens – maybe more than 100 – applications.

Canada Goose has made a strong commitment to the cloud. While this has helped ease the burden of complexity, it’s not a panacea.

“We have almost nothing left. Being able to take advantage of what cloud providers have to offer is great, but we still need a solid enterprise architecture to orchestrate all the elements. We are not unique in this need, but we are very aware of it and do everything we can to stay on top.

Coming

Any organization, especially a retail one, needs to devote energy to both delighting customers today and wowing them tomorrow. Tomorrow’s play isn’t easy, rarely if ever a straight road, but Chick said Canada Goose is looking at it from many angles.

“Those 360-degree views of products that you see on websites like ours are great,” she said, “and we’d do well to take that a step further.” The online experience is still very 2D, and the challenge for retailers is to find ways to seamlessly bridge the so-called traditional online experience with a virtual reality-like experience.

“It’s not just about introducing a virtual world, but about making it immersive. Companies have been trying to do virtual reality for a long time, and it’s still a long way off. It’s because it’s too far for people to commit to it. If we can bring customers into our virtual environment in an immersive way – to blur the lines, so to speak – there will be familiarity and people will interact with it.

A few tips for the road

Chick stressed the vital importance of a common purpose in an organization – top down – and warned of the dangers of overcomplication through technology.

“A clear vision guides the work. Thanks to technology, you can easily get caught up in day-to-day operations alone. This leaves you with tunnel vision, where the big picture and future planning suffer. Staying focused on innovation, moving forward, and finding those limits requires a clear strategy – a set of goals that you aim to achieve.

“If I could offer any advice to any business leader, it would be to find your vision and then design your technology strategy around it. And the vision must be truly long-term. You want a signpost well in front of you to know where you are headed. A roadmap is going to be the piece that ties it all together. »

Free download: “SMBs Leverage AI in the Cloud – 4 Innovative Organizations”