Originally published Oct. 20, 2020
Once owned by one of retail’s top players, digitally native fashion brand ModCloth is looking to get back to its indie roots with the help of new parent company and brand investment platform Go Global Retail. It’s giving ModCloth a digital makeover, leveraging solutions from commerce software company Commercetools and cloud native distributed order management software provider Fluent Commerce to refresh the vintage-themed women’s brand. Commercetools helps retailers break out of their legacy suites, with an API-first platform supporting a modern microservice-based architecture and offers a wide range of third-party integrations. Meanwhile, ModCloth is looking to improve its distributed order management, in-store tooling, inventory and location management, customer service, fulfillment optimization and reporting via the Fluent Order Management Cloud Platform. With the re-platform, ModCloth has dramatically reduced its time to market while improving overall operational efficiency, moving from intermittent code releases to three to four releases a month, according to Thoryn Stephens, chief technology officer and partner of Go Global Retail. “When we acquired ModCloth, we acquired a lot of technical debt,” Stephens said in a statement. “We knew we needed a more agile commerce technology to give ModCloth customers the options and customized experiences they have come to expect and pay off our brand promise of empowering and uplifting women.” Devgurus, a Spain-based software development group recently acquired by e-commerce and mobile enterprise services company DMI, delivered and implemented the Commercetools and FluentCommerce solutions. Go Global Retail discovered the solution from the MACH Alliance (MACH stands for Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless), which was launched in June by Commercetools and others to help enterprises adopt and adapt agile systems, processes and skills designed to turn their digital practices into business differentiators. Technology implementations have been top of mind at Go Global Retail since the ModCloth acquisition, especially as the retailer looks to further cater to its younger audience heavily made up of mostly millennial women between ages 18 and 35. In May, the vintage-style retailer partnered with installment payments platform Klarna to give shoppers access to an interest-free, buy now, pay later service. In August, it rolled out a new PLM system from Discover e-Solutions Ltd. (DeSL) to replace its outdated program, with Go Global citing an overall need for supply chain end-to-end visibility and 3D capabilities. Go Global Retail plans to take the new e-commerce approach it is using for ModCloth and roll it out to its other fashion brands. Go Global’s model is designed to help retailers enhance and expand brand manufacturing capabilities. Since most of its investment capital stems from manufacturers across Asia, this gives these businesses the opportunity to also participate in the supply chain, effectively giving factory owners more skin in the game, and a reason to help build out the brand because as the brand equity rises, so too does their equity stake.
ModCloth is Go Global’s inaugural investment, making it the initial trial of this supply chain format. As of late last year, Go Global had relationships with approximately 40 Asian manufacturers in all key product categories. Aside from the supply-chain functions, the retailer itself is already in a better spot globally due to its recent return to business in Europe after ending operations on the continent in May 2018, when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. The European Union privacy law requires companies to protect the personal data and privacy of Europe-based citizens for transactions that occur within European Union member states. ModCloth never stated the reason why it ceased operations in Europe, but that pause took place under Walmart’s ownership. Businesses had two years to become compliant with the regulation.
Prior to leaving Europe, ModCloth’s international relationships represented 20 percent of its total revenue. “As new owners, our first priority for ModCloth was to reconnect with consumers, listen and continue those relationships in a more personal way which is core to the DNA of this brand,” Jeff Streader, co-CEO of ModCloth, said in a statement. “ModCloth has always been a brand for women and vocal in its support of women’s issues, size inclusivity and creating conversation. Now that we are back to being independent, we can revitalize those aspects of the brand that our customers really loved.”