No matter their size, retailers must always optimize their e-Commerce presence to ensure that companywide processes remain efficient. With proper data reporting capabilities, merchants can gain an edge on competitors by understanding buyer trends and stocking up on the right products.
Woodbury Outfitters, a hunting, fishing and outdoors products retailer with three store locations in Ohio, bolstered its e-Commerce presence with the Celerant multichannel e-Commerce platform. Woodbury now carries approximately 90,000 more SKUs in its inventory than it did prior to beginning work with Celerant in 2013. Joe Miller, Owner of Woodbury Outfitters, attributes this increase to the company’s newfound ability to accurately report data.
“The place it’s helped the entire company the most is keeping the data straight as far as inventory is concerned,” Miller said. “There’s an ease of transferring product from store to store, keeping the actual inventory straight, and having up-to-date quantity on hand available at any time. What Celerant has allowed us to do is to run many reports that we couldn’t run in the past, and get items out online much quicker, and in bulk. We were able to save a lot of time as a result of functions such as the export feature and the ability to move and manipulate data.”
Monitoring prior purchase history is vital to the success of the Woodbury team, especially in finding out which products were selling the most during specific time periods. Based on this data, the team can then make better decisions on which products to buy for their catalog in the future.
“In the past, we more or less were ordering blind, whereas now we look at history,” Miller said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “You still have to try to guess what the future holds, but since we have history behind us, we now can track all kinds of metrics on buying that we’ve never had before. We’ve become more efficient as far as how much inventory we stock. As far as other metrics are concerned, the entire reporting experience has made us more efficient, from gross profit to inventory level to everything about retailing.”
Using Digital To Build Store Traffic
The boost in e-Commerce efficiency also helped the retailer focus on using social media and email to drive more consumers to the store. The retailer has more than 225,000 fans on Facebook, with the page linking directly to the e-Commerce site’s email blast page.
“We have a very large email base that we send email blasts to,” Miller said. “Our entire web presence is definitely helping our in-store sales. If I get a truckload of a product this afternoon, I can immediately have it posted on the web site, I can have the email blasts sent out, and I can have people in here buying that product tomorrow.”
As a seller of firearms and ammunition, the Woodbury team sought out a platform that enabled the retailer to stay compliant with regulations from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Additionally, the company sought out a platform that would enable them to integrate other e-Commerce functionalities, such as best store fulfillment and back office management. Celerant was the only platform they found after numerous demos that could meet both standards.
Miller noted that while the retailer traditionally had a strong e-Commerce presence, there was plenty of room for improvement on the back end. After selecting Celerant, the retailer reduced the number of staff personnel monitoring the web site in half, enabling the employees to focus on other tasks throughout the stores. With a more productive e-Commerce staff, the retailer has gained more room for potential growth, according to Miller.
“I think having the data in front of us in the manner that we do will allow us to dabble into other markets that maybe we wouldn’t have been able to in the past, or had the nerve to,” Miller concluded. “Moving into the future we may look to broaden our selection. It’s a big world when you’re talking e-Commerce, and there’s a world full of people buying all kinds of products. It doesn’t necessarily have to relate to hunting or fishing for us to be able to sell it.”