Crabtree & Evelyn: Cloud-based point of sale gives retailers, virtually, everything they need

Crabtree & Evelyn: Cloud-based point of sale gives retailers, virtually, everything they need

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Cloud-based point of sale gives retailers, virtually, everything they need

With an outdated point of sale (POS) system increasingly at odds with security demands and customer expectations, Crabtree & Evelyn’s IT team decided it was time for a change.

The brief was relatively simple: get a new system that could meet the new data security standards set out by the payment card industry (PCI) while providing a platform to support multichannel retailing.

What Crabtree & Evelyn got from us did all of that, and a lot more. In a massive leap forward, the retailer has gone from dial-up to an on-demand store system that includes a PCI compliant managed payment service, a platform for true multichannel retailing and a one-stop shop for all problems and support.

It’s the first such implementation to be deployed on BT’s virtual data centre (VDC) cloud platform. And the benefits of this infrastructure as a service approach are really starting to show.

The initial driver for the new solution was PCI compliance. But once the benefits of handing over all ownership of payments to BT Expedite were understood, it was only a small step to see the benefits of passing over all infrastructure in the same way.”
- Tim Johnson, IT Director, Crabtree & Evelyn


Founded in 1972 by Cyrus Harvey, Crabtree & Evelyn has evolved from a small, family run business – specialising in fine soaps from around the world – to an international organisation with outlets in ten countries, from the US to Australia.

The company’s 37 UK stores are supported by a small IT team. This meant that any time spent fire-fighting day-to-day IT problems was distracting them from more innovative technology projects which could add real value to the company.

Added to this was the fact that the limitations of the legacy system were making it expensive to maintain and impossible to keep up with tough new PCI standards. But while the cost of a security breach is scary, the cost of gaining compliance in-house can seem just as daunting.

So the company needed a system that would help achieve compliance while, essentially, managing itself – freeing them to get on with pushing the business forward. That’s where we came in.


We came up with a complete, integrated solution covering network, software and infrastructure that’s built on three key elements:

  • Virtual data centre
    This provides optimum processing capacity available at any time and can grow and shrink instantly depending on needs.
  • State-of-the-art POS
    Our easy-to-use, feature-rich POS offers Crabtree & Evelyn multichannel trading and covers 90 tills at 37 stores in the UK.
  • Managed payment service
    A secure, end-to-end payment service designed specifically to meet the standard set out by the major payment card schemes to help protect customers against theft or fraud.

Thanks to a template design and over 20 years of best practice expertise, everything was planned, rolled out and in place in just three months – on time and within budget. And all of this is wrapped up in one agreement – meaning we take care of everything for Crabtree & Evelyn, and the IT team have just one supplier with one number to call for support.


There are obvious benefits associated with an infrastructure as a service approach. Virtual data centres offer far greater agility and resilience than traditional set-ups, while charging based on demand reduces the total cost of ownership. Added to this is the attraction of an OPEX investment model through a cloud-based system.

The managed payment service aspect means Crabtree & Evelyn doesn’t have to worry about keeping up with an ever-changing PCI standard. That’s BT’s problem. But the real value comes in bringing all of this together in one solution from one supplier – cutting through the complexity.

BT Expedite runs the infrastructure, the network and the in-life software and service, leaving the IT team to focus on retailing and driving new innovation into stores.

If there’s an issue with the system,” explains Tim, “regardless of whether it’s software, hardware or network, the stores have one number to call. BT Expedite takes ownership for every part of the system.”

Compared to the old system, it’s a big step forward. The new system provides real-time stock visibility, and comes with customer relationship management (CRM) and audit operations management (AOM) straight out of the box.

BT Expedite CTO Steve Thomas says: “Combining Store, AOM and CRM together as part of the standard offering makes the VDC POS offering more resilient, supportable and relevant to multichannel retailers.

It’s designed to be a very open platform – a platform to innovate. Cloud-based POS is the future and retailers should be moving towards a managed payment service to simplify their operation and compliance obligations.” It’s a future that Crabtree & Evelyn is beginning to explore.

About BT Expedite

BT Expedite and BT Fresca together make up the retail solutions division of BT. We provide products, services and solutions for some of the UK’s leading retailers, with expertise across all areas of retail, from e-commerce to supply chains.


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