Ecommerce and Retail Management Solutions
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All Star Wine & Spirits Case Study
Located in the Capital District of New York, All Star Wine & Spirits (www.allstarwine.com) is upstate New York's premier wine store. All Star was named the "Best of 2007" wine store in the Capital Region by the Albany Times Union, one of many regional "Best Of" honors bestowed upon All Star over the past ten years.
The unique atmosphere of All Star's store immediately immerses shoppers in the wonderful world of wine, providing unparalleled selection and a highly knowledgeable staff that is always ready to help educate customers and help them to better understand what to expect and look for in each wine. All Star helps its customers "discover" wine and about their individual taste preferences, leading customers to uncover new gems through insightful tasting notes and in-store tastings. No detail is spared even the owner's dogs, Caymus and Shafer, are named after the owner's two favorite wine products! This unique in-store atmosphere and bountiful selection are also highlighted in All Star's Web store.
All Star knew that its current web store solution would not allow it to effectively and efficiently scale-up its ecommerce channel business. Specifically, the solution it was using was not directly connected to its physical store point of sale (POS), inventory management or other back office systems. All Star also felt the pricing of its existing web store solution was prohibitive due to its projected impact on sales margins in its rapid growth scenario.
All Star required the scalability of an end-to-end system that could deliver real-time integration of its point of sale (POS), phone sales, web store, ecommerce marketplace channel, customer relationship management, supplier and inventory management functions.
All Star also had to have a system that was flexible enough to accommodate specific wine industry requirements such as shipping compliance rules and best practices for helping consumers to select wines based on ratings and product attributes.
Steve Burnham, head of business development for All Star, had heard of CORESense previously, and was aware of its unique solution. Steve's primary criteria for selecting the new multi-channel retail management system were:
Because the CORESense multi-channel retail management system is based on the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, there is no software for All Star to install or maintain in-house. This was important to All Star because they did not want to invest in the hardware and IT staff that would be required for a traditional installed, or on-premise, software solution. "We didn't want to have to manage the technology because we are not IT people, we are wine retailers, so we would have to hire tech support," comments Burnham.
After comparing CORESense capabilities and costs to other solution providers such as Counterpoint, Celerant, and custom developed ecommerce applications, and speaking with several current CORESense customers, Burnham chose CORESense. Per Burnham, "we went with CORESense because it was the most progressive, powerful and dynamic multi-channel retail management system."
Rapid Real-Time Point of Sale with Integrated Credit Card Processing
All Star's 8 year old POS system was not real-time, and required that checkout staff swipe in the customer card and punch in purchase information. All Star replaced this system at its four checkouts with CORESense point of sale systems.
The CORESense POS system links to All Star's centralized inventory database and back office in real-time, and provides integrated credit card processing for rapid check-out, which helps keep the lines moving at peak times.
Commenting on the convenience of the CORESense installation, Burnham highlights "the fact that the POS terminals had been setup previously by CORESense meant that we really only needed to physically set up the POS stations, update our inventory and synch the terminals, all of which went quite smoothly."
Service Order Interface Streamlines the Phone Order Process
Prior to implementing CORESense, the process for taking phone orders at All Star required that they manually write down the customer information on paper and then enter it into both their POS System and UPS Worldship system afterwards.
With the CORESense system, All Star has a Service Order Interface specially tailored to process call-in orders, and that is also tied into the core back office and inventory systems in real-time.
Seamless Web Store and eCommerce Marketplace Integration
CORESense worked with All Star to deploy a web site that truly reflects the uniqueness and ambience of its in-store experience immersing shoppers in the wonderfully rich world of wine.
All Star's web store, www.allstarwine.com, is integrated into its CORESense back office and inventory system in real-time. The web store reflects wine industry best practices, providing advanced filtering capabilities for shoppers based on wine attributes such as Vintage, Country, Region, Appellation, and Varietal. Wines listings also include the ratings that enthusiasts look for when shopping, from authorities such as Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, and Robert Parker.
The CORESense system streamlined the process of fulfilling Internet orders and eliminated the problems of online inventory "out of stocks" because it operates in real-time, with a direct connection to inventory levels. "CORESense has given us a more powerful and flexible website channel that we can begin to grow without worrying about the growth impacting us negatively" concludes Burnham.
The CORESense system also produces a nightly feed file from the All Star product catalog to several wine search shopping channels in order to further support All Star's ecommerce initiatives. Shipping compliance, based on myriad state rules governing the online purchase and shipment of wine products, is also facilitated by CORESense.
Both the CORESense web store and point of sale system support a variety of payment methods including value cards and gift certificates. CORESense is also an integral part of All Star's "Wine of the Month" club.
Customer Relationship Management and eMarketing
Using the CORESense system, All Star can send targeted product promotions to its customers and prospects, and utilize built-in campaign link tracking features to determine which items are generating the most interest among recipients. This information can then be used to further refine the targeting and content of future campaigns in order to maximize effectiveness.
All Star has also benefited from new capabilities to offer value cards, online gift certificates, and flexible promotional offerings through the CORESense system. Burnham comments, "It gives us the freedom to proactively attract new business through our own efforts without having to pay a third party for adding new customers, which was part of how our old system penalized us for growth."
An All-In-One System The CORESense system provided All Star with a fully integrated end-to-end solution that tied its point of sale (POS), ecommerce, inventory, CRM and other functions together to provide a single real-time view of its customers and business - ultimately providing All Star with a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The On-Demand delivery model also benefited All Star because it didn't need to invest in IT staff to support the solution.
When asked whether he would recommend CORESense to other companies similar to All Star, Burnham jokes "yes, though not immediately…we want to savor the competitive edge."
"I was impressed at how CORESense was everything we needed in one solution. It wasn't necessary to piece together our business with software X doing this function, and software Y doing this other function."
"CORESense provides the tools, expertise and best practices to help us succeed. They are an amazing company and two steps ahead of the market with their features and functionality."