Case Study: URBN

URBN reinvented warehousing with their new cloud-based management system.

A collection of creative and inspiring consumer brands, including Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People, URBN is dedicated to creating unique retail experiences for their customers. When URBN launched a brand with a radically different retail model from their previous ventures, they turned to Promptworks to build the custom systems that they needed.

The brand, Nuuly, allowed customers to rent their clothes each month but it wouldn’t succeed without a warehouse management system that tracked each garment’s:

  • Location and condition

  • Cleaning, repair, and shipping status

  • Availability for rental

Here was our challenge:

Promptworks needed to build an app that could:

  • Integrate with URBN’s existing applications for ecommerce, payment processing, customer management, and supply chain.
  • Involve the Nuuly’s engineering team so that they could easily maintain the application.
  • Withstand changes in the physical infrastructure. As Nuuly acquired, adapted, or used different physical assets in the warehouse, the application needed to adjust.

Because URBN had designed an entirely new business model, the project required a flexible process, so that it could accommodate evolving company decisions.

Here's how we solved it:

Promptworks had to invent several creative techniques due to this project’s unique nature.

For identification, each garment was given its own fingerprint for tracking—more precise than a SKU.

Using this tracking method, we engineered a new way to locate garment status across many systems. Unlike traditional multi-query methods that are less efficient and more error-prone, we implemented a single query method.

We also created a method to aggregate query responses in each individual system’s respective “language,” which would send the garment status where it was needed.

After integrating existing systems and establishing a tracking system that could withstand changes in physical infrastructure, the Nully engineering team was able to take over management for long-term support.

See the results:

Nuuly could now guarantee the status of each piece of clothing at every step of its journey, which helped build customer trust in a novel business model.

In the back office, employees were now able to do everything they needed to support reliable service and brand growth.

Interested in more examples of our work?

See how we helped MSS streamline communication and workflows with a new mobile app or how goPuff found the right audience for new flavors with a more usable UI and analytics.

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