For Matt Macri of Four Seasons Nursery, finding a website and ecommerce system that ticked the many boxes across his diverse business was a serious challenge.
Matt had tried many platforms including Wix and Magento, and at the time was on version 12 of the website. He was operating six separate sites to service the various segments of the business. However, despite the continued effort to find the right configuration, there remained major inefficiencies in how he and his team managed online orders and stock—and what’s more, customers were reporting that the websites were ‘too slow’ and noticing discrepancies between pricing instore and online.
Matt knew this was negatively impacting the business’ reputation and bottom line and he needed to get it sorted out once and for all.
As the nursery’s long-term POS provider, we had a good understanding of the business and its needs, so Matt approached us looking for a solution to his ecommerce woes. In a matter of weeks, the website went from being the business’ Achilles heel, to becoming one of their most valuable assets.
Today the Four Seasons website offers visitors a fast, seamless and user-friendly experience. The new system is saving many hours of staff labour every week, and is significantly contributing to the strong growth of the business.
In this case study we’ll explain the exact steps that led to this amazing transformation.
The Problems Matt Was Experiencing
Before making the switch to the new system, Matt was dealing with a range of issues that were not only causing frustration and headaches, but were also costing the business time and money.
His biggest pain points included:
- Loading speed of website was far too slow, causing customers to drop off and also affecting search rankings
- Manual data entry was inefficient and causing errors, leading to frustration for customers and wasted resources on staff time
- Lack of integration between POS and ecommerce led to double handling
- Existing website was holding them back and causing customer and staff frustration.
Poor customer experience
Matt and his team were working hard to manage the six sites that serviced the various parts of the business, which included firewood, pots, landscaping supplies, and the plants and giftware of the nursery. However, the time and effort they were putting into the websites was not translating to a user-friendly online experience for their customers. Instead, there were frequent reports that the website was too slow, and complaints that the online prices were different to those found in store. Although the discrepancies were due to a system error, some customers took offence, feeling they were being ‘ripped off’.
Loss of productivity
The lack of integration between the POS and website was behind many of the errors, and this was creating a vicious cycle of data entry double handling. With manual entry of products, orders and stock updates needed on a daily basis, it was costing Matt at least eight hours a week of his time.
According to Matt: ‘Every order came through by email, then had to be manually entered into the POS. It was a nightmare to keep up to date’. On top of this, if a discrepancy in price was noted, it was up to staff to make a note and then go in and manually change it once they had a free moment. In a busy retail environment, this would sometimes not get done until later in the day, and other times, may be forgotten. As a business who valued quality service above all else, this was unacceptable.
The Solution: A Customised, Integrated Ecommerce System
As long-term providers of the in store POS system, Matt had a high-level of trust in the service, products and expertise of our team, and was confident we could deliver the ideal solution.
After a thorough needs assessment, we put together a plan that would address all of his pain points as well as assist in achieving the goals of the business moving forward.
We understood the Four Seasons business model thanks to our existing partnership, and quickly got to work building a solution to manage their ecommerce more effectively and dynamically.
Our solution addressed all the existing inefficiencies and included additional custom features to allow Four Seasons to provide a streamlined, professional and user-friendly ecommerce experience to both their customers and their team.
Key deliverables included:
- Seamless data transfer: One of Matt’s biggest worries was that he would be left to re-enter data multiple times to get the new system up and running. However, the transition was seamless and required minimal time or effort from the Four Seasons team. Every product description, price, image and promotion from the retail database, was duplicated across to the website, quickly and expertly by our team.
- Faster loading times: The other major concern Matt had was that after the cost and effort of changing the system, the website would still be slow. This was not the case—from day one, the speed of the new site far exceeded his expectations.
- Automatic pricing calculations: While previously the complex pricing that applied to trade customers for bulk orders was completed manually by staff at the POS, in the new system, it’s automatically calculated, saving time and avoiding errors.
- Automatic freight calculation: This handy feature calculates the best price on freight to the customer for their online purchase, while at the same time ensuring that no out of pocket fees apply to the business.
- Abandoned cart email system: By inviting customers who reached checkout but didn't complete their purchase to come back, the abandoned cart email system generated an additional $3500 in revenue in its first month of operation. This is a big win, as these are sales that would have otherwise been lost.
- Automation and integration: Before the change, customer orders were received by email and then manually entered. Now, they are automatically entered into the retail database ready to action, so orders can be picked and dispatched faster.
- Remote access: The new system has the option of remote access for designated users, which allows Matt to access key sales figures on his phone, without needing to connect into work computers or be physically in store.
Today: Fast, Seamless Ecommerce to Enable Growth
Today, the Four Seasons Nursery online store offers visitors a fast, seamless and user-friendly experience. The ecommerce solution has now been up and running for over a year, and has come full circle from holding the business back, to now driving it forward.
Summary of the key benefits:
- Faster website has led to more traffic and online engagement, boosting ecommerce sales significantly and giving customers a far better user experience
- The elimination of data re-entry has reduced errors and freed up 12 hours per week of staff time, allowing an increased focus on delivering quality service
- Stock levels are now automatically updated as changes occur, enhancing stock management efficiencies and eliminating the need for manual re-entry
- The nursery’s ecommerce sets them apart as industry leaders and provides the means and confidence to drive sustainable growth.
No more double handling of stock and orders
The diverse and extensive product range is now all available online and has been streamlined into three connected websites that can be managed quickly and easily from one place. The move has also eliminated the need for double-handling of data and has removed unnecessary and time consuming steps in the ordering process, saving Matt and his team a minimum of 12 hours of labour every week.
Less frustration for customers
The integration of ecommerce and POS has transformed the online shopping experience for both trade and retail customers. Customers now report how they love the look, feel and speed of the website and online store, which in turn has led to a steady increase in sales. The site is now widely used by customers Australia-wide to shop at home, while locals who enjoy shopping in store can now check pricing and product availability without the need to call ahead, which is another time-saving benefit for staff.
Easier for staff
An additional bonus is the ability to use the website as a training tool to assist staff on the floor with product knowledge. When new stock arrives, or a customer is asking about a product they haven’t seen, the website provides a visual guide and description to help them locate and recommend the right products. This has led to improvements in both service delivery and customer satisfaction.
Set Up for Sustainable Growth and Success
During our decade-long partnership for software, hardware and now ecommerce solutions, Four Seasons Nursery Group has acquired two new stores, grown their online engagement and revenue, and can now handle complex trade customer pricing with ease.
Matt attributes much of this success to the support and systems of our team.
‘I couldn’t run my business effectively without them. If I call Paul at 7 am with an issue, he answers the phone and sorts it out. I know there are cheaper options out there, but I would never change. I’d be shooting myself in the foot.’
Four Seasons Nursery Group have the competitive advantage, confidence and robust systems in place to continue to grow sustainably and build on their current success. And we look forward to supporting them all the way!
If you recognise some of the challenges highlighted in this story in your own business, we’d love to chat to you about your ecommerce and POS options. Contact our Melbourne-based team on 1800 UNIVEX (Australia) or 0800 UNIVEX (New Zealand), or click here to book a 15-min discovery call with a senior member of our team.