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The Entertainer continues journey in the cloud

UK-based toy retailer The Entertainer said this week that its partnership with managed cloud services provider Rackspace is supporting the business in its roll-out of click & collect, as well as helping to manage spikes in eCommerce traffic during busy times.

The retailer has worked with Rackspace and its consultancy channel partner Conexus to launch a hybris omnichannel solution, which includes the running of click & collect and a responsive site design that enables mobile sales.

Total online sales at The Entertainer rose 60% year on year in the five weeks leading up to last Christmas, while online sales collected in a store were up 81.7%. The retailer said that the deployment of the Rackspace technology has provided a platform for this growth.

Ian Pulsford, head of IT services at The Entertainer, said: "In addition to the scalability that's available through the Rackspace Private Cloud, the high performance it offers is also very important to us.

"It has allowed the business to deploy a click & collect service, which has improved the customer experience and boosted sales. A crucial aspect of click & collect is having an effective stock management system, which we also power by the cloud.

"Every evening between midnight and 4am. we monitor the stock available in each store, collecting data on our 17,000 products. This ensures that the availability we offer our click & collect customers is accurate and updated in real time."

In addition to working with Rackspace and Conexus, The Entertainer works with Itim to manage stock effectively during peak times, which included the recent children's craze for loom bands which it says put increased pressure on the business's infrastructure.

Last year, the toy retailer announced it was working with Belgium-based technology company Zetes to help maintain a real-time view of its stock availability. This partnership, which is further evidence of the retailer's preference for using cloud solutions, allows the management team to gain immediate access to stock count results from any location – information that can be directly integrated with the company's main ERP system. 

Earlier this month The Entertainer opened a store in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, which represented the 100th store in its portfolio. Like-for-like sales for the business over Christmas were 5.5% up on the same period in 2013, and the company is planning to open 14 new high street stores in the UK this year.

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