- Location: Atlanta, Georgia
- Industry: Lawn and Garden
- Number of Stores: 16
- Number of Employees: 400
"Our processes have improved. Receiving is more accurate, our sales are strong, and we write off less inventory. Best of all, our margins improved."
Kent Backes, Inventory Control Manager Pike Nurseries
Since the mid-1950s, Pike Nurseries has been selling a wide variety of plants and garden related products to its Atlanta, Georgia customer base. The business grew from a single location in 1958 to a top regional nursery with 16 locations in Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2008, Pike Nurseries implemented the Epicor Eagle system and, during the next two years, Pike Nurseries streamlined inventory management, created more off-season sales and improved margins.
Pike Nurseries runs 16 locations with Epicor Eagle
Pike Nurseries had been operating 16 locations using two separate computer systems-one for point of sale and one for accounting. The nursery wanted a faster system with better data visibility and more precise inventory control. The Epicor Eagle system offered this and more.
Pike Nurseries went live on the Epicor Eagle system at all locations in November 2008. "We had great training and excellent support from Epicor in each store. Go-live went very smoothly," says Kent Backes, Inventory Control Manager at Pike Nurseries.
Once live on the Eagle system, training cashiers became an almost effortless task. "It's very easy for cashiers to learn the system," states Kent. "We're usually able to get new employees doing simple transactions within three to four hours of training. It's much easier than our old system."
Epicor Gift Cards and Loyalty program cultivate loyal customers
Two solutions important to Pike Nurseries are the Epicor Gift Card and Loyalty programs. "Having a Gift Card program is a necessity for a nursery. It can be difficult to buy the right plant for someone, making gift cards a great alternative, especially for Christmas and Mother's Day," notes Kent. "We also use gift cards as credits for returned items that don't meet the criteria for a cash or credit card refund. Last year the stores issued 11,467 gift cards with merchandise credits totaling over $600,000."
The Epicor robust Loyalty solution was an important reason Pike Nurseries chose Epicor Eagle. Today, Pike Nurseries fosters its relationship with customers through its Loyalty program and targeted marketing. "Epicor allows us to easily capture invaluable customer data at the point of sale and offers us the functionality that we need," explains Kent. "By using Epicor Compass® reports, we see what our Loyalty customers are buying and are able to send them relevant information based on prior purchases. Last spring, we sent an e-mail to our Loyalty customers for an after-hours event. It had a phenomenal response with a 456% increase in sales over the previous year. We duplicated the success of the spring event with a fall Gardenfest event in October. We had sales of 151% over the previous year. A strong e-mail list combined with other marketing tools, make these events a huge success."
Pike Nurseries uses the Loyalty program in conjunction with the Gift Card function. Twice a year the Loyalty points are converted to a dollar reward and are stored on the customer's Loyalty card. This is done by creating an AR customer for every Loyalty member.
Accurate inventory tracking at the SKU level
Pike Nurseries depend on Eagle reports and viewers for making purchasing and inventory decisions. "We use Eagle viewers constantly," says Kent. "Each store manager can use an inventory viewer daily to identify products that should be marked down for clearance and to discover other sales opportunities. They also use viewers to compare year-to-year sales and create orders based on that data."
Stores also rely on reports that highlight product margins. "When we switched to Eagle, we greatly improved our ability to track SKU history and now see cost and margin data over the life of the SKU. With our old system, we could only view SKU history up to the last time we received the item," comments Kent. "Eagle is a huge improvement. Now we can track margin history, and correct errors before they become larger bottom-line issues."
Compass provides invaluable information to Pike Nurseries
Eagle reports and viewers are invaluable foundations, and Epicor Compass adds to them by providing more advanced reporting and analysis. "Compass is very easy to use. I can build a basic Compass report from scratch in a minute or two. Once you've used Compass for a day, you're proficient," states Kent. "I use Compass all day long to run and create all the reports I need."
Compass reports help Pike Nurseries make better decisions. "We generate reports on what has sold and which plants have died," says Kent. "We can even identify plants that don't grow well in our area. For example, there is a very popular plant called a Chinese Fringe Flower, and 12 percent of one variety kept being returned dead. We worked with the grower to figure out why, and helped our customers be more successful with the plant. Compass enabled us to see that solvable problem."
Switch to Eagle improves operations and boosts margins
Epicor Eagle provides a competitive advantage for Pike Nurseries. From better visibility into inventory data to creating off-season sales and increasing customer loyalty, Eagle does it all. "Our processes have improved. Receiving is more accurate, our sales are strong, and we write off less inventory. Best of all, our margins are improving," concludes Kent. "We're very happy with Eagle. It's a fantastic tool."
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