Omnichannel, the latest trend disrupting retail, is finally reaching full permeation in the collective consciousness of modern first-world retail. Tier 1 first-movers have conditioned consumers to expect the channel conveniences and inventory insight omnichannel promises, and the standard is quickly trickling down to mid-market and independent retailers like City Lights Collectibles.
Launched in 1991, City Lights Collectibles (City Lights) started as a retail retiree's hobby but high demand caused an immediate surge and the hobby quickly turned into a full-time, full-staff operation needing continuous optimization to keep up with the pace of business.
Fast forward to modern retail: evolution in retail and technology enabled City Lights to develop an omnichannel structure with Retail Pro retail management software.
Omnichannel at its base deals with three core spokes, each of which are enabled via data connectivity in the Retail Pro platform:
Each retailer decides for their own business which of these areas to prioritize, but in the end, all three must work in tandem to create a seamless omnichannel experience.
Customer-facing omnichannel offerings – like Click and Collect, the ability to look up on a retailer's website whether a particular product is in stock at the store nearest you, or having your online purchase generate loyalty points toward your account, just like your in-store purchase does, for example – are the most widely discussed element of omnichannel. These are the end result.
Much more important is the work that goes into building omnichannel operations across the enterprise and along the supply chain, since these operations are what will enable the final omnichannel customer experience.
City Lights focused on optimizing internal operations, building complete data connectivity by integrating every retail tool to their Retail Pro platform.
As a platform, Retail Pro connects and shares all the data in their tools, allowing for process automation and reducing duplicitous data entry. City Lights' greatest task was to get a 360° view of their inventory by connecting data from their e-commerce and Amazon sales with their in-store transactions.
City Lights runs multiple websites on a Retail Dimensions integration of Magento and Retail Pro, which allows for sharing of product images and data, pricing, promotions, inventory levels, and any other field they choose to map to the site.
City Lights does polling as close to real-time as is possible for their team, about every hour or so, and are constantly syncing online data and orders to Retail Pro. Foot traffic is intense in their store and getting behind on inventory is not an option. Retail Pro can be configured to sync data at any interval that makes sense for your business, from real-time to nightly or weekly polling.
"If we're running a day behind in our polling," said Spencer Young, one of the City Lights Collectibles owners, "then inventory is running a day behind" and they run the risk of selling out on products already committed in online orders.
Orders from Amazon are automatically transferred into Magento through Retail Dimensions and then treated as a regular e-commerce order, with data being shared in and through Retail Pro. Magento transfers key data like tracking numbers, significantly reducing the time spent on data entry.
Online sales for City Lights generate about 60% of their order volume and account for half of total sales, demonstrating healthy split between the digital and physical channels. With an online catalog of 15,000 products, staying on top of inventory management is critical.
With City Lights' seamlessly connected channels, shoppers can buy products online and pick them up in the store within an hour. Store associates pick the products ordered online and package them in-store. Taking inventory straight from the shelf increases inventory turn and decreases wasteful duplication that comes with holding a separate inventory for online orders.
For online orders that will be delivered to customers' homes, the Retail Dimensions shipping integration with Retail Pro automatically populates labels for the post, UPS, and Indicia with transactional data in Retail Pro, saving them time and enabling same-day shipment for orders placed by 4pm.
Optimizing internal operations with integrations to their Retail Pro not only simplified inventory management but also provided much value to their customers!
The transactional data the City Lights gathers is retail gold when converted into actionable insight for the marketing team.
Because Retail Pro is a platform and centralizes all the data from every device and integration, City Lights gets a holistic picture of their customers' interaction with the brand. They use their customer data to shape their email marketing and direct mail campaigns, segment their customer base, and personalize emails with customers' purchase history. Their data-driven marketing efforts have proven effective in attracting both local and global customers.
With the efficiencies gained in Retail Pro, City Lights Collectibles plans now to further expand their product offering in their stores and on the Amazon marketplace.
Want to see how you can simplify omnichannel inventory management with Retail Pro Prism? Learn more in this brochure or request your free consultation today!
If you are interested in learning more about the Retail Dimensions integration with Retail Pro to help you achieve your omnichannel goals, feel free to contact Retail Dimensions directly!