I sat in on an nChannel implementation with a customer late last week. You know how we all have those moments in our careers when you just get the ultimate satisfaction of knowing you solved a key issue for client? As our new client was watching all his items come in from his RMS system he said You guys have made my life! —damn near brought tears to my eyes.
Ok, thats a stretch. But his fantastic exclamation got me thinking about the pain customers face when they want to sell online as a secondary channel. Heres some background:
Disclaimer: This is a real customer who is happy to provide a referral to nChannel prospects and partners however, he wanted me to keep his name and company name confidential…so were going to refer to him as Zach…
Our client is based in Buffalo and is a provider of high-impact work boots and work apparel. They have one store and sell to consumers as well as wholesale customers. The company is a family business that started back in 1951 and its leadership is now the third generation. The new generation driving the ship has big plans in mind for the business. Our client wants to sell on the web but was struggling with keeping inventory in sync. Getting the data into the web store via an import is relatively easy although time consuming…but managing the inventory however was going to be painful. So painful that the client has been waiting to move forward on their web store initiative until they found a workable and affordable solution.
The problem was that every time they sell on the web site, someone has to go in to the POS system and adjust the inventory in the web site, then go into the POS system and update the inventory there too.
Sure, everyone tells you that they get system A to talk to system B to solve the inventory management issue…theyll tell you yah they integrate. Zach said. But what other vendors leave out of the equation is the cost. They either assume that you have the technical resources to handle the integration or that you can afford to pay thousands of dollars to hire someone to integrate. I can afford to pay a little each month, but I cant drop thousands of dollars all at once – were a small company! I was excited when I heard about nChannels solution because I hadnt come across anything like it.
(shameless plug, I know – but Im using direct quotes…)
We synced this customers Microsoft Dynamics POS database to nChannel in about 4 hours (all 18,000 items). However, theres another issue. The categories that are used in the POS system dont really work for buyers that are searching for product on their web site.
It wouldve taken me forever to update 18,000 items to get them web-ready with the categories we use on our web site. nChannels ability to help me map categories for my initial install is going to save me weeks of time – which means I can launch my website with all the products I want to sell instead of having to limit my products to a handful I can manage manually.
So whats in store (no pun intended) for our ecstatic customer? Using nChannel he can now participate in on site sales programs for his wholesale customers. For example, he may send whats called a Boot Truck to his clients site where employees can purchase work boots and other items. Using nChannel he can create field orders, automatically manage the inventory and even ship items to customers if he needs to.
Im looking forward to having the ability to expand our market. I can now secure clients in other states and regions and offer programs for their employees to use our website to purchase items and automatically apply my customers negotiated pricing.
I have to throw this tidbit in because I didnt even think about the value until he said it. Our client mentioned that he was impressed with us because we knew and understood both systems that he uses to manage his business. Our familiarity with Microsoft Dynamics RMS and AspDotNetStorefront put him at ease because his eCommerce provider doesnt focus on POS systems and his POS provider doesnt focus on eCommerce. Interestingly enough, his AspDotNetStorefront provider is the one that found us on the web and referred us.
If youre a POS reseller and not taking advantage of how you can solve the integration needs of your clients, youre leaving money on the table. If you think your customers eCommerce partners are trying to solve their customers integration problems, youre in for a bumpy ride…but more on that topic in my next blog…