- Location: Bossier City, Louisiana
- Industry: Lawn and Garden
- Number of Locations: 5 retail locations, 3 seasonal retail sites, an online store, and greenhouse
- Number of Employees: 200
- Website: www.ellishomeandgarden.com
- Co-op: True Value, Home and Garden Showplace, The Garden Center Group
“We can clearly see that since implementing Epicor solutions our margins have improved significantly. We’ve increased our year-to-date gross profit by 2.2 percent. In addition, our inventory value has been reduced by about 15 percent.”
Derek Ellis, CEO | Ellis Home and Garden
Ellis Home and Garden has served Louisiana and Texas communities for more than 30 years. With five retail locations, three seasonal retail sites, an online store, and impressive greenhouse operations, the company is proud of its unique product selection.
Accessible data for quick reactions
Ellis Home and Garden outgrew its proprietary retail software system and manual business management processes, and has been utilizing the Epicor Eagle N Series retail business management solution to strengthen business operations.
“We chose Epicor Eagle N Series software to help us conduct better business practices,” said Derek Ellis, CEO, Ellis Home and Garden. “Prior to implementing Epicor, we were using Excel spreadsheets to track our inventory, and we had a difficult time anticipating sales of our seasonal products. When a business doesn’t have a system in place that lends to operational improvements and efficiency, it really misses out on a lot of beneficial information. The more information accessible to a business, the quicker it can react. Epicor Eagle N Series is that powerful business tool we were missing,and with it, we have experienced tremendous savings for the company—especially in regards to time, margins, and overall inventory. It has laid the foundation for a much healthier and stronger future for our company.”
Reliable data to improve business results
At the heart of making good business decisions is gaining a clear understanding of where the business stands today and what lies ahead. Ellis Home and Garden implemented the Epicor Compass and Epicor Eagle Performance Manager tools to easily access this key business data. “Epicor Compass and us because they give us the detailed data we need in regards to revenues,” said Ellis. “For example, we have a report automatically generated for managers every Monday that provides the revenues by department with gross margins, profit margins, and averages, with comparisons to that time last year. It shows us quickly where we’re really successful and where we’re struggling.”
“Another report that’s key for us is the ‘Top 25 Items’ report. The Market Basket analysis tool shows us every top unit sold in each department for the previous week. We can see which department has what in stock and can spot quickly if a store is understocked or overstocked—I feel confident we have reduced stock outs because of this tool. This helps us transfer inventory from one store to the other, without having to waste dollars ordering products that are available in another location. It allows us to be more efficient with our money and helps us focus on topline growth and revenues,” said Ellis. “Before we had Compass, if I wanted to look at our December financials,I wouldn’t have them in hand until late February and it would be, at best, total store gross profit only. It wouldn’t include the department or category that was increasing or decreasing, or where that overall increase or decrease came from. It was basically all speculation. Now, with Compass, reporting is real time, and we can really see how actions at the business owner level and the buyer level impact our bottom line—it’s black and white.”
“We can clearly see that since implementing Epicor solutions our margins have improved significantly. We’ve increased our year-to-date gross profit by 2.2 percent,” said Ellis. “In addition, our inventory value has been reduced by about 15 percent—which freed up over $500,000 in cash flow. We can more accurately target top-selling items, focus on maintaining stock with those items, and minimize or eliminate slow sellers all together. The Epicor solutions have allowed us to focus on the margins and gross profits, and easily monitor and stay on top of inventory levels. We are very pleased with the progress we’ve made in such a short period of time running the solutions.”
Quick employee adoption
Introducing 200 employees to a new software system is not an easy task, but with support it can be successful. “Many of our employees didn’t have a computer at home and were uncomfortable when we introduced our transition plan,” said Ellis. “To better engage them in training, we had Epicor trainers come onsite to conduct themed trainings—one day we’d cover the point of sale, the next day purchase orders, and so on. We did that for a couple of weeks prior to go-live, in addition to utilizing the Epicor Training on Demand solution. Training on Demand was instrumental in giving our employees an extra boost in training during their own time using the preconfigured modules. During go-live, we had trainers go out to all our locations and stay at the store level for three days. We had a lot of hands-on support from Epicor, and they’ve always been readily available when we have questions.”
Ellis Home and Garden is a business centered on customers. As the company expands, maintaining that customer-centric focus is an important asset. “Before customers walk in the door or shop our online store, we want to anticipate their needs,” said Ellis. “Epicor Eagle N Series gives us the information we need in a manageable format, which has helped us serve customers through an enhanced loyalty program—in turn increasing repeat business and giving us more financial control and growing our bottom line.”
“Within our first year of implementing the loyalty program with Epicor Eagle Loyalty, we had 30,000 loyalty members. Our loyalty program has given us the ability to reward repeat customers by offering coupons for dollars spent. Customers sign up for the loyalty program and easily redeem coupons directly at the point of sale (POS) terminal. We deployed this program not only to entice customers to return, but also to capture and update our email list on a weekly basis. This allows us to stay in touch through e-mail marketing with even our newest customers. This program is currently in its infancy, but we hope to build it out in the future to increase store traffic and increase profits,” said Ellis.
Retail business owners and managers are on the move more than ever. Ellis Home and Garden uses the Epicor Eagle Mobile Manager app to see what’s happening in the business directly on a mobile device. “Eagle Mobile Manager is definitely my favorite tool and the one that gets the most attention from my managers,” said Ellis. “It has changed the ability of my store managers to monitor the sales of their stores, all the way to the top 100 items of the day or the month. They can quickly look at how they’re going to merchandize their stores based on what’s really moving and generating profit.”
“It has also changed the buying habits of our buyers. We have been stopped countless times at buying shows with people asking, ‘What is that?’ They see us scanning barcodes right on a mobile device. When we scan products we can see the cost, stock levels, our gross profit, and outstanding orders, you name it. Eagle Mobile Manager really prevents us from spending money where we don’t need to and puts the money where we do,” said Ellis.
More effective promotions
Ellis Home and Garden is aware that it’s important to keep careful control of promotions or they can get out of hand. “Promotions are huge in our industry. We’re heavily involved in promotions, especially around holidays. The Epicor Dynamic Promotions tool gives us the ability to track promotion performance down to each specific item. We can look at how different promotions can impact not only units sold, but also gross profit within that category,” said Ellis. “This knowledge has significantly impacted how we promote items to better conserve margin while maintaining optimal units sold. We’ve been able to flip promotions entirely with the data we now have—offering more compelling sales, not wasting valued margins, and better engaging customers.”