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Nygard Enticify Implementation Interview

Nygard have implemented Enticify on their site Nygard.com.

This is an interview with the mighty Quinn Wilson.

Quinn was responsible for integrating Enticify with the existing Nygard.com Commerce Server site.

About Nygard

NYGARD International is a leading fashion company that design and market women's fashion apparel. Nygard have 150 retail outlets in Canada and the USA. The have complete design, production and distribution facilities in Winnipeg, Toronto and Los Angeles; research and design studios in New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong.

About Quinn

Quinn has been with Nygard for about 12 or 13 years. He knows the business inside and out. Quinn started in the retail team doing Systems Management and moved to ecommerce in 2002.

The Original Business Challenge

What was the original business challenge?

Price point discounts, also also known as fixed price discounts.

Where did these discount requirements come from?

Nygard (Retail) is primarily a bricks and mortar business. The website is sort of a separate entity. The request came from the group that manages promotions for the chain as a whole [website and retail stores]. The group was looking to standardize the promotions across the site and stores.

The Pre-Enticify Solutions

What did you do before finding Enticify?

I would generally code discounts, they would be one off and kludegy. They would be working against the CS discount engine rather than with it. I usually built them in application code. It would grow more complex with the number of products, the number of price points and the number of interactions.

What were the limitations of this approach?

We couldn't always maintain the same types of promotions due to limitations in the product [Microsoft Commerce Server]. I had abandoned hopes of being able to do price point/fixed price discounts. The Microsoft Commerce Server discounting engine is just a black box unlike much of the rest of the Commerce Server system, it is closed and there is no extending or changing it. I had basically abandoned the idea of working with the system to create the desired business requirement (price point discounts and the kind of functionality provided by the shout out service [part of Enticify]). I had done some exploration code to try and solve this a number of different times and ways, but always just throw away.

Was this taking a significant amount of time?

Yes. It was wasted, throwaway time. I Probably spent about 3-4 hours a week on this kind of thing. For some of the discounts it would be much more significant than that. There could be periods of many days spent.

Was this problematic for the business?

Yes, absolutely.

Did it cause any other issues?

Normal software development life cycle stuff. Popping out code on a regular fast pace and throwaway basis. There can be defect issues with this kind of throwaway code. It's new code each time and it's not without its problems.

Finding Enticify

How did you originally hear about Enticify?

I'm a little foggy on this, but I think I saw a Twitter or forum post that you made and I followed that to Twitter and eventually to you.

How did you communicate about Enticify internally?

Everybody involved was very familiar with the problem and it was well received.

The Enticify Solution

Enticify provided Nygard with the full Enticify Promotion Engine for Commerce Server 2009. This version of the software includes the full suite of Enticify promotion types as well as the shout out service and full promotion application accounting. It also shipped with the Enticify Connector for Commerce Server, enabling Nygard to tightly integrate Enticify with their existing site and continue to use the Commerce Server tools without the need for new tool installation or user re-training.

Implementing Enticify

What work was needed to add Enticify to Nygard.com?

The Nygard online store application grew up from CS 2002 2007 and 2009 and we had a lot of code that was dependant on some of the undocumented features and side-effects of the order discount pipeline. I had to go through and in some cases upgrade the code so that it was using documented features, so I had a bit of work to get the site code up to snuff in order to use Enticify. Then I had to go through a very large number of discounts we had setup that were no longer required. Had to go through from a business perspective and throw out what was no longer required. It was an intensive process.

We went through a period of testing and went live in the summer.

How much time was required to integrate Enticify?

I would be guessing. Because of the nature of it, testing was the majority of the work. As we were subbing out a big and critical aspect of the business (the discount engine). The testing was straightforward. The issue was not the testing individual discounts, it was how they interacted with one another.

Did it cause any downtime or disruption when you deployed?

The go-live process was without a hiccup. It was "turn a switch" and we haven't had any problems. It was very smooth.

The documentation was good. You added documentation as you did some additional revs on the product. I thought it was good.

The whole implementation was super-slow because I was trying fit it in to my regular schedule, but I found working with you the turnaround was as quick as possible. Any delays were really on us.

The Results

How has Enticify met the original challenge?

The original business problem has gone away. For some reason I am the one still setting up the discounts! However, we can now move that back to the business. Price point discounts are being run on Nygard.com when they are run in store. The online requirements and limitations have been addressed.

What impact has it had for you personally?

I no longer say "no that's going to take x number of hours" when they [the business] ask for discounts. I really like being able to say YES all the time. I don't have anything measurable, but I like being able to say yes to the business.

They introduced the price point discount at the retail level as they felt it the best one to offer. They were responding to competitors and the market so we had to follow suit.

Any other positive results?

Just going through a lot of old site code is beneficial, but everything worked out so well that we're looking for other ways that you can help us! Just generally speaking we were super-happy.

Future Enticify Use

What do you plan to do with Enticify next?

We have implemented the shout out service but it is not live yet. After that bundling and gift with purchase are very interesting to us. It used to be a large task that I would hand code and that was another one that was always throwaway and ran into issues with bugs. It hasn't surfaced in a while but I expect it to return and I look forward to using Enticify to do that. I look forward to not coding it!