Thus and Vodat International to Provide NGN Services to Lush

Thus and retail communications provider Vodat International have announced that they have signed a contract to provide network services for handmade cosmetics retailer, Lush. The contract will see Thus and Vodat together implement a fully managed Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network across Lush’s 89 stores in the UK and Ireland. Delivering high-levels of resilience and security, the network will support the company’s transition to internet credit control processing and provide Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance. Additional benefits include improved customer services and reduced queues at the checkout due to faster data transfer.

Lush selected Vodat and Thus due to their extensive experience in the retail sector and ability to provide next-generation communication solutions. The managed next-generation network has built-in PCI compliance and supports Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) for all of Lush’s customers. Thus is providing a 2Mbps SDSL connection to Lush’s headquarters as well as low network contention rates, guaranteeing that it has one of the most advanced network services available.

As a national cosmetics retailer with stores throughout the UK, Lush required a flexible and secure network to support the growing volume of customer transactions it processes, particularly in the run up to Christmas. Statistics from 2006 revealed that 669 million credit card transactions took place in the UK in December alone, making the ability to efficiently process transactions critical to every retailer. The onset of the PCI compliance requirements stipulate that a customer’s data for credit card payments is secure ensuring that it is harder for thieves to obtain information from either online or on-site transactions. Collectively, these external demands provided the incentive for Lush to reassess its existing communication infrastructure.

Chris Risbey, Retail Systems Manager at Lush said, “We understand the impact technology can have on our day-to-day operations and welcome the efficiency benefits the new network infrastructure will provide, especially as we approach the Christmas season. Vodat and Thus impressed us with their detailed knowledge of the retail sector and their ability to demonstrate how we can further integrate essential applications on to the network was a great asset. We believe the new network will significantly enhance our reputation for excellence in customer service and support the company’s continuing growth.”

Neil Poultney, Managing Director at Vodat International, commented, “Working closely with Thus we have delivered a managed private broadband network with built-in PCI compliance. The success of this deployment is proof of our ability to meet the unique needs of the retail sector. We are committed to providing innovative solutions and Thus continues to provide both the network and the expertise to fully support us.”

Phil Male, Chief Operating Officer at Thus plc commented, “Our work with Vodat implementing Lush’s managed broadband network demonstrates the extent to which technology is improving business processes, whatever the sector. The combination of Vodat’s retail experience and our next-generation communication solutions have enabled us to provide Lush with a network designed to meet today’s business needs and to grow with them to accommodate future requirements.”