For over 47 years, Canadian retailer CANEX
has been focused on knowing the men, women and families of the Canadian Armed Forces better than anyone, and using that knowledge to create and deliver unique products that fulfill their needs and fit their lifestyles. CANEX is a division of the Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services (CFMWS), a membership organization serving “One Community, One-Million Strong.” CANEX’s primary target customers consist of serving members on and off base, reservists, veterans and their families.
CANEX recently completed a three-year strategic plan which was centered on its re-positioning and having several key deliverables.
“We want to capitalize on opportunities to grow new business and in new markets,” says Diana Sousa, Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Commercial Services at CANEX. “It requires us to be progressive-thinking, responsive and always service-oriented, adapting to change as required.”
As Canada’s Military Store, currently with a limited online presence, CANEX recognized ecommerce as the ideal solution for extending its reach to the CAF Community (especially to those who do not live near a brick-and-mortar store).
“Our motivation to go online,” said Sousa, “was to become more current, accessible and relevant to our customers.”
To accomplish this, their ecommerce platform needed to fit the size and scope of their objectives, yet be flexible to accommodate their mandate. After analyzing several online solutions, CANEX identified the Magento Enterprise Edition
ecommerce platform, with its highly-diversified plug-in ecosystem, as the most appropriate resource to support CANEX’s growth strategy.
“OSF was recommended by Magento,” said Sebastien Gladu, IT Project Partner between CANEX and OSF. “We researched numerous options including assessing qualifications, experience and references, and concluded that OSF was the best solution for this project.”
An Omnichannel Initiative
With Magento, OSF was able to effectively integrate pre-existing plug-ins and perform some customizations, which reduced overall costs versus developing solutions for alternative components. From a rudimentary ecommerce infrastructure, CANEX has come to enjoy an integrated, omnichannel environment, utilizing multiple retail stores to serve as distribution centers, flexible return and shipping options—including in-store pick-up—and ultimately demonstrating their brand through a seamless customer experience.
“It’s a great first experience with omnichannel for our customers in Canada,” said Brian Vass, Senior Business Analyst at OSF. “Usually, there are existing processes we need to adjust to during a replatforming, but in this case, we’re working with CANEX to come up with entirely new solutions—processes that didn’t even exist beforehand.”
CFMWS is a membership organization offering many viable programs and services to the Canadian Armed Forces Community. The CFOne Card is a conduit to accessing these valuable benefits, and CANEX highlights this membership on its online presence. Correspondingly, CANEX’s No Interest Credit Plan, as a payment option, was implemented similarly to a PayPal solution, enabling eligible customers who arrive at checkout to choose eCredit, be redirected to complete the application—with immediate authorization on approved credit—then return to checkout to complete the order.
“The team at OSF should be commended for their willingness, flexibility and responsiveness,” said Gladu. “Through our collaboration with OSF, we have developed an effective working partnership that, in my experience, has contributed greatly to the success of this ecommerce initiative.”