The journey we’re on with Salesforce will not only put the customer at the centre of our business but allow us to provide them with more value.”

Nathan Alexander | Chief Technology Officer, R.M.Williams

R.M.Williams applies its craft to create a premium customer experience

Founded in 1932, R.M.Williams has become one of Australia’s most iconic brands. The footwear and clothing company is best known for its boots crafted using a single piece of leather. Originally designed for the rugged Australian outback, the boots are built to last and feature a timeless look, making them a staple for customers globally.

In 2020, R.M.Williams was acquired by Tattarang, one of Australia's largest private investment groups. The acquisition brought the brand back into Australian hands and set it up for a bold new chapter, one underpinned by values such as courage and determination, empowerment, and generating new ideas.

Nathan Alexander, Chief Technology Officer, R.M.Williams shared that the brand had been encouraged by investors to be bold in its thinking and to put the customer at the centre of everything it does. In response, R.M.Williams has partnered with Salesforce on a digital transformation that touches every aspect of the customer experience.

“The desire is for R.M.Williams to be the best expression of what a brand can be and do in Australia and present that back to the world,” said Nathan Alexander, Chief Technology Officer, R.M.Williams. “The journey we’re on with Salesforce will not only put the customer at the centre of our business but allow us to provide them with more value, whether it’s through the amazing products and services we put in front of them or through more personalised communications.”

A values-driven partnership

A key driver for R.M.Williams’ transformation was to provide customers with a unified experience no matter where they shopped or interacted with the brand. First, it had to empower employees with the right tools. The customer service team, for example, had to move between more than 30 systems to manage calls and emails, leading to long wait times and frustrated customers.

“We came from a baseline where none of our systems talked to one another, and we had a very fragmented customer journey,” said Alexander.

R.M.Williams needed the right partner and technology to transform the experience of customers and employees. It found both in Salesforce, with alignment in values and a shared passion for philanthropy and sustainability one of the deciding factors.

“Partnering with Salesforce and adopting Customer 360 was the only way for us to put the customer at the centre and transform how we engage with them online, speak to them in-store, and support them through our customer service channels,” said Alexander. “Engaging the Salesforce Professional Services team played a large part in our success and helped us bring all this amazing technology to life.”

Once Salesforce was onboard, R.M.Williams wanted to move quickly and complete its transformation within 12 months. The Professional Services team worked side-by-side with the brand as well as other key partners to build a roadmap for success. This involved meeting with teams across the business to map the ideal customer journey and co-create new experiences for customers and employees.

The Professional Services team then structured the program into three releases, providing guidance on requirements like resourcing and testing to ensure a successful outcome.

“We initially planned to switch on everything at once, but Salesforce helped us structure the program in a way that allowed us to quickly build momentum and confidence with the business and accelerate time to value,” said Alexander.

Personalised service and engagement

R.M.Williams’ first release was delivered in just five months. The release included some of the foundational capabilities of Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud such as case management which, for the first time, gave R.M.Williams transparency into customers’ needs.

The next release involved the integration of Service Cloud Voice into R.M.Williams's CTI solution, resulting in an immediate improvement in service. The customer service team can now answer the phone and immediately see who is calling. They then have everything they need in one place to respond to questions on the status of orders or coordinate returns or repairs. R.M.Williams has also introduced self-service by using Salesforce Knowledge to publish answers to frequently asked questions on its site.

Results include a 42% reduction in phone calls, as customers now engaged directly from the web which has led to greater transparency of cases and customer needs.

“It’s a massive leap from where we were previously and Salesforce has helped us implement Service Cloud in a way that will make it easy for us to add new capabilities as we grow and the platform evolves,” said Alexander.

Marketing Cloud adds to the enhancements in service by enabling more targeted and personalised engagement. For example, R.M.Williams can now segment data and tailor campaigns based on customer behaviour and purchase history.

R.M.Williams can also engage customers with personalised journeys. The first of these to be rolled out is a 12-week journey for customers who purchase a pair of custom boots. In the past, customers simply placed an order and received a phone call when the boots were ready, whereas they’ll now be taken on a journey through their creation.

This journey and other personalised communications are just being switched on, along with Einstein Recommendations which will be used across email and the website to provide customers tailored product recommendations.

Still, customer engagement has improved already with results including a five per cent lift in email revenue and a 176% increase in average order value from targeted email campaigns. One of these campaigns resulted in R.M.William’s highest online daily sales ever, even exceeding sales from the prior Christmas trading period.

In addition, R.M.Williams has experienced a 65% increase in email deliverability and a 35% reduction in unsubscribe rates.

Connecting the online and in-store experience

As part of R.M.Williams’ transformation, it has rebuilt its ecommerce site using Commerce Cloud’s Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA). The site was already on Commerce Cloud, but the move to SFRA has vastly improved the mobile shopping experience. Benefits include a 42% increase in conversion, a 10.27% increase in average order value, and a 34% increase in revenue.

R.M.Williams now plans to introduce new capabilities through the site, including click-and-collect in-store. The replacement of R.M.William’s Point of Sale (POS) with NewStore POS will help to enable this and allow the brand to provide a truly omni-channel experience.

The connection between NewStore POS and Salesforce will also provide in-store consultants with a complete view of customers, helping consultants have more personalised discussions about their needs. For example, consultants can provide proactive advice about repairing and preserving the life of a customer’s boots, thereby encouraging more sustainable consumption.

Foundation for continued success

R.M.Williams’ transformation represents its most significant investment in technology and the Salesforce Professional Services team worked closely with the brand to ensure its long term success. This included establishing program governance and collaborating with partners to conduct design reviews and keep the program on track.

In addition, the team provided coaching to help R.M.Williams take ownership of the program and ongoing enhancements.

“Working alongside the Professional Services team has been an amazing journey for us as a business. We not only benefited from their expertise on Salesforce, but really increased our maturity around program management and I can’t overstate the value of that,” said Alexander.


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