WESTCHESTER, ILL., Jan 16, 2018 – Follett Corporation, higher education's leading campus retailer and operator of college stores, announced today that it is making a $50M investment to transform the company's collegiate eCommerce platform. The company's shift to "headless" eCommerce keeps Follett at the cutting edge of commercial online retailing.
"This fundamental change in our technology platform will make us hyper-responsive to the unique brand of each of the 1,800 college campus web properties we manage," said Roe McFarlane, Chief Digital Officer of Follett Higher Education. "The customizable user interface is a 'mobile first' strategy and supports faster releases and agile site management allowing us to respond quickly with localized content that drives the priorities of each campus on a real-time basis."
In addition to the change in architecture, the project will significantly enhance the way Follett's customers interact with each site, with innovative features and functionality to enrich the shopping experience for millions of students, faculty, administrators, alumni and fans.
The innovative technical infrastructure upgrade is already underway. Features include:
- A responsive design that drives optimal, effortless shopping for the customer whether on a computer, tablet or phone.
- A refreshed site design with easy navigation that personalizes the site's look, feel and content by shopper.
- Intelligent, data-driven product recommendations, promotions and savings offers.
- Enhanced product descriptions and ratings/reviews to assist the customer's product searches and selections.
- Ability to create and share a personal Wish List, which is ideal for students starting their college career.
The new capabilities will add to the omni-channel convenience Follett already provides through the combination of campus branded sites at each physical campus store. "We are constantly analyzing trends to proactively enhance the way students, faculty, alumni, parents and fans shop on Follett's site," said McFarlane. "For example, 70 percent of students and customers who order online select instore pick-up, and we expect our more mobile-responsive eCommerce platform to lead to even higher levels of store relevancy and sales."
"IBM Watson Customer Engagement is excited to team with Follett to transform their eCommerce platform and deliver differentiated customer experiences," said Richard Hearn, General Manager Offerings, IBM Watson Customer Engagement. "Adopting IBM's modernized, cloud-ready architecture, infused Artificial Intelligence shows Follett's commitment to innovating and winning market share."
As the leader in collegiate eCommerce, Follett is partnering with strategic partners and industry leaders such as IBM, IBM iX and Sogeti, Capgemini Group's Technology and Engineering Services subsidiary, to deliver this leading edge cloud-based solution to expand the browsing, searching and shopping experience for the 1,800+ physical and virtual campuses Follett manages in the U.S. and Canada.
"Sogeti is thrilled to partner with Follett to help them create a truly dynamic experience for the users of their campus branded sites, establishing Follett's collegiate eCommerce platform as a one-stop shopping site for all collegiate merchandise," said Raj Nath, CEO for Sogeti USA. "Sogeti has worked with Follett for more than a decade. This latest project demonstrates their ongoing commitment to their customers, and we're excited to be a part of continuing this journey with them."
Sogeti is a leading provider of technology and engineering services. Sogeti delivers solutions that enable digital transformation and offers cutting-edge expertise in Cloud, Cybersecurity, Digital Manufacturing, Digital Assurance & Testing, and emerging technologies. Sogeti combines agility and speed of implementation with strong technology supplier partnerships, world class methodologies and its global delivery model, Rightshore. Sogeti brings together more than 25,000 professionals in 15 countries, based in over 100 locations in Europe, USA and India. Sogeti is the technology and engineering services division of Capgemini SE, listed on the Paris Stock Exchange.
About Follett Corporation
Follett Corporation is the world's largest single source of books, entertainment products, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett provides education technology, services and physical and digital content to millions of students at 70,000 schools more than 2,850 physical and virtual campus stores in North America. Through Baker & Taylor, Follett's reach also extends to the public library and global retail markets.