Change! Why, What, How?

Beaverbrooks is a thriving, multichannel retail jewellery business with over 1,200 colleagues and 80 stores nationwide. With more than a century of expertise helping customers find the right diamonds, jewellery and watches, Beaverbrooks have applied the best operational technology to support customer retention and growth in this competitive space. In 2021/2022 Beaverbrooks had their most successful year ever, with over £200 million in turnover.

Head of IT, Patrick Walker, and IT Systems Development Manager, Vicki Olthoff, have 50 years of combined experience implementing and maintaining multi-channel retail systems. They wanted to bring a new level of consistency, automation and reliability to customer and prospect data validation, and after conducting a careful review of their needs and the marketplace, they made the upgrade to AFD Software. We wanted to find out how Patrick and Vicki took the selection decision and understand the immediate and expected business impacts.

What Did Beaverbrooks Want?

Patrick says: “From one company we sought five things: 1. A single source solution covering off fast, accurate, consistent contact data entry across all channels. 2. A reliable service that removed anxiety. 3. A process for complete data cleansing including suppressions which would show the highest levels of diligence in the GDPR data accuracy principle. 4. A combination of the highest percentage of accurate automated data cleansing, combined with the fastest processing rates. 5. To put in a new solution and forget it – because it just works.”

Assessing AFD Software - Before

Even with strong commercial, technical, and functional reasons to change their address validation and data cleansing supplier – Beaverbrooks were still keen to minimise risk. Their due diligence on AFD included reference sites, product testing, integration evaluation, assessment of technical skills and evaluation of AFD Software as a company.

And After - How is the Rollout Going?

Vicki reports: “For the past three years we’ve had AFD Software in action on our web platform for validating and speeding up contact data entered by customers. It is also being used by staff in our stores as part of our bespoke Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) and we’re integrating it into our Order Management System (OMS) and our Customer Data Platform (CDP).”

Many Channels - One Solution

Thousands of customers place orders each week in Beaverbrooks stores, on the website, by post, by phone and via partners such as Next and Shop Direct. This complex operation is supported by a variety of systems including EPOS, Web, Mail Order, OMS and CDP which work together as a single ecosystem.

Vicki continues: “When customer data is received from so many different channels it is important that the validation sources are from a single, complete, and accurate source. Whatever the channel used, by colleagues or customers, we want a consistent contact data entry experience. This was another key consideration in choosing AFD. When the rollout is complete, all these systems will have a touchpoint back onto the AFD solutions.”

Accuracy and GDPR Compliance

Beyond this, Beaverbrooks is conscious of its GDPR responsibilities and recognise that customer data degrades over time. To help keep contact data accurate Beaverbrooks also switched to AFD Software to provide services to cleanse address data and detect customers who have moved or are now deceased.

Want Success? Focus on the Customer

Patrick adds: “Because the customer is at the forefront of everything we do, we want that journey, that experience, to be the best it can be. AFD is an essential part of delivering minimum friction and maximum accuracy at crucial parts in that journey.

This has tangible impacts across the business. Purchases are more likely, deliveries go to the right place, our communications arrive – the result is happy customers and increased internal efficiency.

The Proof is in the Increase

One error in an email address makes it undeliverable – and mistakes in data entry are easy in a busy store.

Vicki explains: “Email is an important way to engage with customers and to encourage them to return to our stores. This relies on the accuracy of the email addresses recorded by customers and colleagues. To maximise accuracy, we now use the AFD live email validation service. The instant check enables immediate correction of any mistakes. This ensures our communications are deliverable from the outset.

Increasing deliverability, whether by post or email, means that our communications get to more people who get more opportunities to come into our stores. It’s a real win-win.”

Alignment, Flexibility, Confidence

Patrick continues: “AFD is a great fit for us. We have found the Postocde People at AFD’s technical and support skills and responsiveness to be both very helpful and very good. AFD solutions provide real flexibility of implementation from a unified service that works across all our systems and platforms. The options of on-site installation and hosted services build in a high level of resilience and stability. Our experience with AFD compared with others in this space is very positive: the solutions are very good to use, and we get a personal service. In fact, in terms of culture and philosophy and values we’re very similar.”

Vicki concludes: We’re glad we did the due diligence on AFD Software – they passed the tests – and we are confident we took the right decision for the business – and we are already reaping rewards.

Does your organisation have absolute confidence in its address, bank, and contact data? AFD Software is on hand to help with all your data quality needs. Contact Joel Miller on 01624 811709 or email

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