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Essentiel Antwerp

Since its creation in 1999, Essentiel Antwerp has become an internationally recognized luxurious fashion label loved for its graphic and floral prints, and trendy color combinations. The company sells clothing, accessories, and footwear in its own flagship stores in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, UK, and France. The brand is also present in several other European countries with plans to expand beyond Europe, as well.

Business case

The Covid-19 pandemic brought significant challenges to the luxury fashion market and accelerated the digital transformation that was already underway for many retailers. “The pandemic was a turning point for us,” says Peter Bruggeman, Chief Financial Officer at Essentiel Antwerp. “It compelled us as a fashion retailer to reinvent ourselves, and that has clarified a few things.”

At the time, Essential Antwerp’s IT system landscape consisted of several software solutions, including Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP, a legacy POS system, and a third-party eCommerce platform. eCommerce was running on a fully autonomous platform, meaning in-store retail and eCommerce sales operated independently of each other. The inability to connect their online and offline information prevented Essential Antwerp from creating a personalized customer experience. “Until Covid-19 hit, we didn’t feel the need to accelerate in that direction”, says Bruggeman. “Due to the forced closure of our stores resulting from the lockdowns, and the rise of e-commerce, we made a commitment to create an omnichannel journey.”

To reach their customers effectively, the company identified three priority goals:

  • revamp their eCommerce platform
  • offer Click-and-Collect delivery
  • implement a new returns process from the stores

The management team at Essentiel Antwerp started looking for a powerful, flexible software platform that would allow them to implement these changes while optimizing existing business processes.

The solution

Essentiel Antwerp contacted TCOG, a local LS Retail partner and longtime expert in retail and fashion, who suggested moving to the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and LS Central for retail. LS Central retail management is built on the Microsoft Dynamics ERP, uniting financials, point of sale (POS), store operations, inventory, eCommerce, and loyalty in one platform. “We needed the right tools to provide our customers with an omnichannel shopping experience, and the choice for us was very clear: LS Central by LS Retail,” says Bruggeman.

With the help of TCOG, Essentiel Antwerp rolled out the new software in more than 50 stores without any hiccups.

The biggest change for the company was moving from customized processes to standardized processes across the organization. “Standard processes are a lever for scalable growth, and we wanted to be ambitious again,” says Bruggeman. “Today, we’re experiencing the benefits of the new solution in all areas.”


Essential Antwerp already enjoys many benefits from their new POS and retail management software, including:

  • Anytime access to business data - LS Central stores all information in one central database, which enables Essentiel Antwerp to track sales, inventory, and productivity in realtime. Information about a particular transaction, product, or price can easily be accessed by any employee from a single system. “We are always sure that what the staff sees at the POS matches what’s in the stores,” says Bruggeman. “This sometimes differed in the past.”
  • Realtime customer insights - The company gets access to clear sales and customer data, which enables them to create campaigns and promotions for specific customer groups. “In the past, most customers would leave without identifying themselves,” says Bruggeman. “We’re trying to limit that now and ensure that we have the best possible visibility of what each customer buys and where they buy it.”
  • Effective promotions management - With the old POS system, employees needed to apply discounts themselves at the POS, which was time-consuming and costly. This has become simpler with LS Central: the system automatically recognizes customers eligible for discounts, and automatically applies the discount at checkout on the POS.
  • An enhanced customer shopping experience - Customers can now choose their preferred delivery method and enjoy the immediacy of Click-and-Collect. This added flexibility has led to an increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Efficient returns processes - Customers can easily return or exchange a product at any Essentiel Antwerp store, whether they purchased it online or in-store. By streamlining these processes, the company can reduce costs spent on shipping returned items and encourage repeat business.
  • Scalability - LS Central is designed for growth, giving Essentiel Antwerp more confidence to expand their operations whenever they want. “If we want to open ten or twenty new sales outlets tomorrow, we can do so with a quick solution, while in the past, it was always a time-consuming hassle,” says Bruggeman. The action only requires adjusting a few parameters from headquarters. Inventory allocation is also simplified: the parameter Type distinguishes between large, medium-sized, and small stores, and replenishment is optimized based on this information. “A flagship store in Antwerp requires more inventory than a provincial town like Lier.”

While the new POS and ERP solution is already meeting the company’s requirements, Bruggeman believes that this is just the start. “I think new functionalities will be introduced, which is what we want as well. As a company, we don’t stand still. We want to move forward, continue learning, and we believe that we have a strong and solid foundation with LS Central.

The company will soon be launching their new eCommerce platform to foster more interaction between their online and physical stores and help them keep up with customers’ expectations of a seamless shopping experience across channels.

Essentiel Antwerp As a company, we don’t stand still. We want to move forward, continue learning, and we believe that we have a strong and solid foundation with LS Central.
Peter Bruggeman, Chief Financial Officer

LS Retail implementation partner


TCOG is a Microsoft GOLD partner. They guide you through the automation of various business processes: going from inventory management, warehouse management, purchase and sales, retail, to financial management, CRM and human resources management. With their industry know-how and no-nonsense approach, they can properly analyze the situation and recommend the most appropriate solution.

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