- Location: Downers Grove, Illinois
- Industry: Lawn and Garden
- Number of Locations: 1
- Website: www.wannemakers.com
- Co-op: Do it Best
"Overall, Eagle software makes our lives easier. Without it, it would be much more difficult to get the information that we need to run our business and make good decisions,”
Jennifer Wannemaker, General Manager | Wannemaker’s Home and Garden
Since 1967, the owners of Wannemaker’s Home and Garden have understood the importance of ingraining themselves in the community. This business approach has helped Wannemaker’s flourish over the last 50-plus years and transform into a complete home center which includes patio, grills, gifts, bath vanities, and gardening.
Passing on family business
Succession planning has been an ongoing process with the Wannemaker’s family business. “This business has been passed down through family members since its inception. As the new generation, we were really lucky that all four of us siblings wanted to take on the family business,” said Jennifer Wannemaker, general manager at Wannemaker’s Home and Garden. “Each of us manages a different aspect of the company so that we are not stepping on each other’s toes. My dad still owns the store, but in the future, we look forward to the same opportunity that he was given from his dad.”
“Recently, our partnership with Epicor has helped make management transitions more fluid. When my siblings and I came into the business, there were members of management and employees who knew a decent amount about Epicor, but no one really took the time to actually use all of the functionality that it has,” said Wannemaker. “I made it my mission to take advantage of our partnership and start using the Epicor Eagle system to its full potential because I knew it could provide us with huge time and dollar savings, and it has exceeded that expectation. We have seen an 8 percent increase in our profit margins and nearly a 1-point increase in our inventory turns in the five years since diving deeper into the solution.”
Loyal customers keep business strong
Despite nearby big-box competition, Wannemaker’s retains a large base of loyal customers by offering unique products and high-quality service. “Home Depot is located a couple of miles down the road, which keeps us on our toes, but we’re lucky to have truly loyal customers that keep our business strong,” said Wannemaker.
“A big draw for many of our customers is our large gift department with unique specialty items and our patio furniture department. We also lead the way by having a robust special orders department. If a customer sees something they like, but they want it in a different finish or color, we can order that for them—which is a significant part of our business.”
“Our staff members on the floor can now easily complete a special order through the Epicor Eagle Advanced Special Orders application via point of sale (POS),” said Wannemaker. “Once the order hits our system, our sales staff put it on the buyer’s list so that our office staff sees the items flagged as orders. It’s really helpful for our purchasers in the office since they no longer have to wait for someone to come up and say, ‘Hey, we have to order this’—it’s already in the system automatically. From there, they use the tool to create and submit a PO. This improves our customer service by having the customer’s information at the ready. Before using Eagle software, special orders were done on handwritten papers. This makes it a lot easier and helps us catch errors, too.”
Automatic customer rewards
In addition to a variety of unique product offerings, Wannemaker’s has implemented a customer loyalty program with the Epicor Eagle Loyalty application as a way to reward their customers. “We wanted to find a way to reward our customers, so when we found out about the Eagle Loyalty software, we quickly kicked it off.
In a short period of time, we were able to get more than 16,000 customers signed up. We use the information that we gather to send out direct mailers and coupons—tailoring messages about specific products that customers are interested in. I love that it automatically calculates customer points and when we want it to convert customer loyalty dollars, it does it automatically and pops up at checkout,” said Wannemaker.
Pulse on inventory management
Inventory ordering and stocking decisions have everything to do with a business’s growth and profitability. Wannemaker’s has partnered with Epicor to keep a pulse on this vital aspect of the business. “One of the biggest things that has improved with Eagle software is that all of our inventory is so much more accurate. Strong inventory maintenance helps us make better, more informed decisions,” said Wannemaker. “For example, keeping the right items on the shelves at the right time and knowing which items are slow movers—this saves us time and money. Before, our employees would need to physically look on the shelves to see if products are still there.”
“Now, I can run reports that tell me what has and hasn’t been selling. Adjustments can easily be made to make sure that we are moving the right items and discounting them when need be. I use the popularity code functionality constantly for a quick snapshot of top sellers. When I’m going to reorder, I know what’s not performing as well. It also tells me exactly how much we made on products and where the profit margins are. As a seasonal business, the Eagle solution allows us to look back to see the seasonal products and prices from last year, since we don’t sell the same products all year long. The Eagle system really helps us track without the pains of extra work.”
Mobility leads the way
With Eagle Tablet POS, Wannemaker’s employees will have the information and tools to help customers buy on the spot. “We are just kicking off the Eagle Tablet POS solution, and are excited to use it for the first time through our holiday season. It will help us immensely as a line buster during peak times because our lines get really long. To be able to pull those customers aside that have only one item will be a big time saver,” said Wannemaker. “We will also be able to use it for product pick-ups—we can pull products faster and serve customers quicker. We can also set the tablet POS up as a temporary register in our greenhouse during our spring season. It’s a lot work to bring a full PC out to the greenhouse—it will be amazing to have a mobile solution do that work for us.”
“Overall, Eagle software makes our lives easier. Without it, it would be much more difficult to get the information that we need to run our business and make good decisions,” said Wannemaker.