Office Supplier, Amax Launches Four B2C Websites and Doubles Revenue Goal by Leveraging nChannel
Amax is a global leader in the development, manufacturing, and distribution of office products, tools, and consumer goods. The company’s portfolio of brands and products includes Bostitch® office products and Konnect™ desktop organization, PaperPro® office products, Stanley® tools and scissors, and BLACK+DECKER™ laminators and LED lighting.
Amax launched in 2009 as a B2B retailer but in 2013 decided to expand their business model to sell direct to the consumer. Given that their products target different audiences that range from corporations to teachers, they decided to launch a series of B2C websites starting with the BLACK+DECKER brand.
Creating a B2C presence was new for Amax. As a B2B company, their systems weren’t set up for eCommerce transactions, and they wanted to test the viability of this idea without making considerable investments in time, money and resources. Therefore, they took a methodical approach to this endeavor and set a strategic goal to launch one site per year. This way they could build on each experience and make iterative and impactful improvements.
To start, Amax had one fundamental requirement. The sites needed to work within their current infrastructure. Amax was already using Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains as their ERP provider, and therefore, searched for solutions that could seamlessly integrate.
When searching for a solution, we honestly didn’t know what to look for because we hadn’t launched a B2C website before. However, what we did know is that we needed a flexible, easy to use eCommerce platform that could sync with our ERP. That helped us narrow our focus and find the right tools for the job.
– Kalen Buchanio, Marketing Manager
Amax settled on Magento for its user-friendly platform. They simultaneously discovered nChannel and quickly found them to be more than just a software vendor. nChannel was willing to lend their expertise to help Amax better understand the intricacies of the eCommerce business they wanted to build so they could make the right choices for their long-term growth.
What we liked about nChannel was that they asked all the right questions and provided solutions. They helped us understand what we needed to be successful, strategically and tactically.
-Rosemary Gentilcore, eCommerce Manager
Once engaged, nChannel worked closely with the Amax team on the integration which also included representatives from Magento, Microsoft Dynamics GP, and Amax’s web developer. With a focus on efficiency, nChannel helped Amax identify the most relevant information they needed to build an operational hub that effectively manages the data flow between their multiple websites. They decided to sync the following: items, inventory, pricing information, sales and discount orders, customer data, order tracking, and history, shipping, and return transactions.
We felt comfortable working with nChannel. They explained what was required and what wasn’t necessary. For example, nChannel suggested we manage all of our content in Magento instead of within nChannel because that was the best decision for us at the end of the day. I never felt like the company was ever trying to sell something extra. Instead, nChannel tailored solutions to exactly what we needed to get up and running.
– Kalen Buchanio
After completing one integration, it was easy to duplicate the process and use the same system for their other websites. The nChannel integration enables Amax to have one centralized order management system that handles complex order routing workflows, updates inventory across all channels and manages customer records between Magento and Microsoft Dynamics GP in real time.
Amax rolled out their first site in 2013 and launched three more B2C sites roughly one year apart. By the launch of their fourth site in 2017, Amax was able to set more ambitious sales goals, advertise, and invest more in the business. Today, Amax has approximately 400 SKUs across all four sites and approximately 50,000 monthly visitors.
In 2017, Amax exceeded their original sales goal by 20%, and for the first half of 2018, they have surpassed last year’s revenue numbers by 15%. They are now on track to more than double their revenue goal for 2018. To that end, Amax also increased its eCommerce team by 150%. Now that the business is profitable, Amax plans to upgrade to Magento 2.0 and expand its retail footprint to eBay.
nChannel has proven to be a true partner. We were looking for a company that was able to take everything we didn’t know and work with us to grow our business. If we have an issue, they respond quickly and often catch things we didn’t see. The entire nChannel team has gone above and beyond and continues to be a valued resource for our team.”
– Kalen Buchanio