Premier® Yarns Selects nChannel to Facilitate the Launch of their New Online Store
For over 10 years, Premier® Yarns has been a major distributor of affordable, high-quality yarns for the knit and crochet market in North America, Mexico, and Canada. Premier Yarns located in Harrisburg, NC partners with its mill in Turkey that has a portfolio of over 10,000 yarn qualities. This partnership allows Premier to bring innovative new yarns with unique qualities such as hypoallergenic and anti-pilling. The mill’s ability to produce unique qualities allows Premier to stay competitive with larger brands to develop trendsetting yarns that are unmatched by their competitors. Yarns include Couture Jazz®, Sweet Roll™, as well as licensed and private label collections that can be found at over 3,000 locations including AC Moore, Joann Fabrics, Michaels, and Walmart Canada.
The lion share of Premier’s revenue comes from big box retailers, but in 2016, Premier decided to bring all website functions including customer service and fulfillment in-house and re-launch their online direct to consumer business to diversify their portfolio and grow their brand. They set a two year goal in which they would develop a robust revenue stream that doubled in its second year powered by strong marketing and customer service strategies.
Premier® Yarns recognized that bringing in all eCommerce functions would be a major endeavour and that their success hinged on building a powerful technology stack that included a robust eCommerce tool paired with their current accounting software, Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains. Their new system also had to complement the workflow of their supply chain.
They selected Shopify Plus as their eCommerce platform, but needed a way to sync data between Shopify and Microsoft Dynamics GP so they could accurately manage inventory, maintain accurate customer data and associate revenue in real time across both systems. Unfortunately, the field was limited as there weren’t many providers that offered a direct integration to sync data between systems.
Premier® Yarns evaluated a series of tools that purported to be seamless connectors between Shopify Plus and Microsoft Dynamics GP but some didn’t have two-way integration and/or required manual uploading. With approximately 1,300 SKUs of their various yarns, needles, hooks and accessories planned for the store launch, manual efforts were simply not scalable for the team. Others offered pricing that Premier couldn’t justify given this was a new, untested channel for the company. However, nChannel was the stand out. They offered the key integration, synchronization and management functionality required by Premier at an affordable price and nChannel was willing to conduct a test to prove that the API would indeed work.
Premier engaged nChannel in March 2016 with a goal to launch the new website September 1, 2016. Premier Senior Director of Marketing & Creative Services led the implementation along with their subject matter expert on Microsoft Dynamics GP.
We had a pretty aggressive timeline to be up and running by September 1st, but it was extremely challenging due in part to things we just didn’t know about setting up an online store and order data behaviour. We learned a lot working with nChannel and discovered ways to optimize our products on Shopify so it not only synced well with GP but would also appeal to our customers in a way that would influence sales. – Anne Zavorskas, Senior Director, Marketing & Creative Services
During the transition to Shopify Plus, Premier had to transfer their content hosted by a third-party vendor into Shopify. Next, nChannel worked with Premier to set up and test the integration and resolve issues around throttling and tax collection.
Things will happen (when integrating disparate systems) and so creative thinking is the most treasured and valued attributes in a partner. nChannel’s honesty, transparency, and collaboration has fostered a great working relationship we can count on. – Anne Zavorskas, Senior Director, Marketing & Creative Services
The Premier® Yarns website launched in September 2016 to the public. In year one, their dollar value grew 50% helping the online store to gross over $1M. Year two is already poised to exceed gross $2M in revenue. They have a strong backbone with APIs that tie directly to Shopify, have integrated email marketing and are looking towards making improvements to their marketing and customer loyalty strategies to surpass their revenue goals.
We’re making great strides tripling our revenue by moving our platform in-house, being reflective of our process, and plugging the holes. For example, we didn’t do a good job of customer service in the first year and so we retooled the team and improved our fulfillment process. We’re planning for more integrations to enhance our productivity and will automate our return process with nChannel in the coming months. But before we make any enhancements to our online store with other third party integrations, our best practice is to check with nChannel to ensure there will be no conflicts with the API that could break the order data flow. If there’s a defined conflict we won’t add the integration. – Anne Zavorskas, Senior Director, Marketing & Creative Services