- Location: Clifton Park, New York
- Industry: Pet
- Number of Stores: 5
- Web site: www.bensonspet.com
- Benson's Pet Center
"Before Eagle, our turns were around three, and now, after Eagle, they are up to a little over four. It's a huge improvement. And we anticipate that our turns will continue to climb."
- Dave Dobson, CFO | Benson's Pet Center
Benson's Pet Center is a small, family-owned pet store chain headquartered in Clifton Park, New York. The company, in business for 20 years, has grown from one to four locations with a fifth opening soon. Seventy employees serve customers in finding the right pet supplies, including nutritious foods for their dogs and cats. To compete against large pet retailers like Petco and PetSmart, Benson's stays competitive on price and exceeds customer expectations with their service. The company intensively trains its employees on dog and cat nutrition, and veterinarians often recommend Benson's because of its employees' expertise.
Growing business requires capable computer system
Benson's Pet was using a CounterPoint system, but was unhappy with its performance. Data was lost with frequent power outages, a separate general ledger would not reconcile correctly, and reporting was almost non-existent. The company's owner wanted a new system that would be able to handle a large inventory, multiple locations, and align with their goal to expand. "Our CounterPoint point-of-sale system was serviceable but old," said Dave Dobson, Cheif Financial Officer, Benson's Pet Center. "We recognized that Epicor Eagle was a more comprehensive solution to meet our needs. In March 2012, we went live on Eagle and have never looked back." Implementing Epicor Eagle went smoothly.
"We started planning five months ahead of time," said Dobson. "Our project manager walked us through the training and data conversion process, and helped us every step of the way. Epicor data conversion specialists successfully converted the data from our old system, and Epicor sent staff to our stores for our back office to ensure a successful implementation."
Access to information transforms decisions
Benson's Pet managers better monitor business performance with the help of Epicor Compass, a robust business intelligence tool. "Compass has been the star of the show," said Dobson. "With Compass, we have accomplished major improvements in inventory, sales, and customer service. We now have a lot of sales information, including where our business is coming from, who our new customers are, and which customers we have lost. It's easy to access this information and schedule reports to be emailed to our key decision makers."
Benson's Pet has made sizeable inventory improvements by using easy-to-access data. "We now identify slow-moving inventory and move those items out of the store faster. We purchase less. When we go to buying shows, we have a better idea of what items we need and what we have in stock," said Dobson. "Before Eagle, our turns were around three, and now, after Eagle, they are up to a little over four. It's a huge improvement. And we anticipate that our turns will continue to climb."
The Epicor Eagle solution's fast processing empowers Benson's Pet with real-time reporting and multi-location management. "The speed of the Eagle solution is tremendous. Our old system used to take eight hours to run a report. And if a report wasn't right, I'd have to run it again. It would take me days and days to get data. Today I get results in five minutes or less," said Dobson. "In the past, nobody looked at financial results like gross margin return on investment. It was too difficult to get that information. Now, we deliver that kind of information down to the store managers to make each location much more successful."
Using data to drive merchandising and sales
In management review meetings, Dobson provides information to the store managers on their top selling items and other items that sell with those top items. "The managers are able to go into the stores and merchandize the store differently to reflect complimentary items that sell together," said Dobson. "We merchandise different products of the same brand together instead of putting all of the like items, like dog food, together. It allows our associates to spend more time talking to our customers, because our customers can get everything they need in one place without wandering the store as much."
Dobson also identifies ineffective merchandising strategies more easily. "We stocked some lower-end pet food to draw people in from the grocery stores," said Dobson. "We planned to get them shopping here and then switch them to better quality, high-end food through add-on sales, but it didn't happen. Looking at the data, we decided to stop carrying the lower-end food because it was not generating sales from the type of customers we wanted."
Reaching out to infrequent customers to increase loyalty
Benson's Pet now has the ability to identify customers who have not purchased in a while. "Most of our customers replenish their pet's food every three to five weeks. We run reports to identify customers that don't return in a reasonable timeframe," said Dobson. "We send them a direct mail piece to entice them to return. Our customer traffic has increased because we can act on the information that we track in the system."
Eagle solution a good fit for Benson's Pet
Benson's Pet has its computing needs met with Epicor Eagle. "We have recommended the solution to other pet stores because of its reliability, how it handles inventory management, and the value in using the Compass analytics tool. The Eagle solution provides us the tools we need to grow. We're opening a fifth store soon and more after that… and a large part of it is because of Epicor Eagle," said Dobson.
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise, and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.