nearly naturalpdf
Introduction Founded in 2001, Nearly Natural, a retailer and wholesaler of artificial plants, has family roots that trace back over 75 years to Henry Friedman, a renowned horticulturist of the early 1900’s. The family tradition, horticultural knowledge and passion carried on to present day, where it is used to create silk flowers and plants of unsurpassed beauty and realism. The family knowledge of real plants helps them to better select or create the most realistic "nearly natural" products.

Unlike many retailers of artificial plants on the Internet, Nearly Natural designs and produces the plants themselves, or they directly source the artificial plants from manufacturers overseas. Because no middlemen are involved, Nearly Natural can provide exceptional values to its customers. In peak season, Nearly Natural employs as many as 30 workers.

Today, Nearly Natural sells both directly to consumers via the web (www.nearlynatural.com), as well as wholesale to many of the web and brick-and-mortar world’s most renowned retail brands.

The CORESense system provided Nearly Natural with a centralized, real-time solution to manage both their retail and wholesale ecommerce sales:
eCommerce Web Store
Brand Manager
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Inventory Management
Order Management
Supplier Management
Situation
Prior to CORESense, Nearly Natural was using an on-premise software solution for their e-commerce that integrated with their QuickBooks system. Nearly Natural soon realized that the system would not meet their expanding ecommerce needs. "Having the QuickBooks system as the backbone for our ecommerce system was not appropriate—it just couldn’t handle the volume and number of channels we sold through," notes Robbie Singer, President of Nearly Natural. "The performance was too slow." Processing orders was also very labor intensive.
Challenge
In early 2006, Nearly Natural began evaluating alternative vendors for their new ecommerce system, including providers such as NetSuite, StoneEdge, and others. "Ideally, we wanted a ‘hub and spoke’ system where we maintained data centrally and just plugged in sales channels as needed," notes Singer. It was essential that the new system could also manage inventory and process orders from start to finish. "The system had to work from one end to the other, even down to label printing" comments Singer. Nearly Natural also wanted to have the flexibility to have its solution provider, or a 3rd party designer, customize its web site to their needs.
Solution
In early 2006 Nearly Natural chose CORESense as its ecommerce system. Per Singer, "We chose CORESense as our ecommerce solution because of the way it handled different sales channels—it was easy for us to add-on another wholesale channel when we needed to."

In order to fully immerse shoppers in the lush beauty of the Nearly Natural floral arrangements, as well as to provide shoppers with a close-up view that showcases the detail and realism of its silk plants, dynamic zoom and pan functions were added by integrating Scene7 rich media capabilities into the web site. The use of dynamic high resolution imagery creates a more engaging shopping experience, and helps to ensure that shoppers know what they are getting (increasing satisfaction and minimizing returns). Shoppers can also conveniently switch between different flower colors and styles in the main product image window by simply clicking on thumbnail views. With the Scene7 integration and the CORESense powered web store "we doubled our conversion rate" notes Singer.

Speed was also a key component of Nearly Natural’s choosing CORESense. "When you have orders coming in from hundreds of places you need to be able to process them quickly" concludes Singer. Per Singer, After implementing CORESense, "we experienced a 300% improvement in office and warehouse efficiencies (processing orders office, pick, pack, ship)."

Nearly Natural was also impressed by the reporting capabilities of the CORESense system. The Brand Manager functionality helped them to serve the needs of their private label customers on the wholesale side of the business.

Using CORESense, Nearly Natural was able to eliminate many labor intensive and error prone processes. "Before CORESense, we had to do everything by hand entry," noted Singer, "Now, with CORESense everything is automated, from creating tracking numbers and sending them to clients in confirmation e-mails to the printing of shipping labels."

"With CORESense our web site conversions have improved and the system is providing us with the functionality we need. It’s also speedy and reliable," concludes Singer.