Diamonds are a girls' best friend. For more than 100 years, Helzberg Diamonds’ mission has been to make people feel loved. With this as their driving force, they’ve created a legacy built on trust, knowledge, and high-quality jewelry at an incredible price. With over 150 stores and 2,000 associates across the United States, they are passionate about delivering the right assortment both in-person and online. Fueling that mission today is a thoughtful approach to technology adoption to meet changing customer better needs both now and in the future. In December, we sat down to talk with Helzberg executive Nathan Gray about cloud technology, retail forecasting, open-to-buy and inventory management.
In early 2018, Helzberg realized that they needed to replace their merchandise planning system, as it was both antiquated and nearing the end of life. “We took a holistic view of our current planning system and realized we had the opportunity to replace other systems as well. We wanted to take advantage of the scientific advances available to us,” said Nathan Gray, VP Merchandising, Planning and Allocation, Helzberg Diamonds.
Helzberg embarked on a search for a new solution focusing on the tenets of scalability, efficiency, reliability, and accuracy. Critically, it also had to have assortment capabilities that could support Helzberg’s entire end-to-end processes including open-to-buy. Ultimately, they decided on Oracle Retail solutions, specifically Oracle Merchandise Financial Planning, Retail Demand Forecasting, Replenishment Management, Assortment Planning, and the Retail Science Platform. Helzberg proceeded to deploy these solutions alongside their existing Oracle systems, including Oracle Xstore Point-of-Service, Oracle Retail Order Broker, and Oracle Retail Customer Engagement.
“Oracle won for many reasons, including their overall functionality, their great user interface, and exception management,” said Gray. “But what set them apart was the artificial intelligence built-in to the solutions. We strive to be a data-driven company, and the Retail Science Platform will support us in truly achieving this.”
Offering advanced AI for retail at scale, the Oracle platform provides a host of next-generation features for retailers, of which the team at Helzberg found of particular, immediate interest; demand transference. Noted Gray, “Having worked in retail for 30 years, I know that the last thing we wanted was a duplication of assortment. It simply takes up time and resources. The more we looked into Oracle’s capabilities around demand transference, the more excited we became.”
Oracle Retail Consulting worked with Helzberg to deliver a rapid implementation of Oracle Retail Merchandising Financial Planning and the Demand Forecasting project. Helzberg leveraged the AI for retail platform to discover what product attributes drive consumer purchases, which enabled the team to understand what is unique, substitute, or incremental demand. These new capabilities will help guide the Helzberg team on maximizing those SKUs that have higher unique demand while reducing those with greater transferable demand, thus enabling a more compelling product assortment.
Having deployed the majority of their chosen Oracle Retail Solutions over the past 18 months, the Helzberg team begins the final leg of the journey in 2021 to implement assortment planning and an immediate goal of impacting Fall and Holiday assortments. Truly the culmination of the deployment, this last step brings together the information and insight provided by Oracle Retail solutions to enable Helzberg to deliver a compelling retail assortment through optimized retail planning. In today’s increasingly complex and competitive retail industry, this gives them a key strategic advantage and positions them for continued success.