2013 marks the third year recognizing the Home Channel News Hardware Store ALL-STARS. Hardware stores are acknowledged in this awards program for their exceptional impact in the industry. These retailers are not necessarily listed because they are the largest, or even leading in profitability. Rather, they have an interesting story, a great leader, exciting innovation, or an unconventional approach to retailing. According to Home Channel News they have demonstrated an “All-Star sense for customer service and business acumen.” Epicor is excited to recognize the retailers named that operate their businesses with Epicor Eagle.
Congratulations to the Epicor customers honored with this esteemed award:
Anchorage True Value Hardware, Anchorage, Alaska
Pete’s Ace Hardware, Castro Valley, California
Hemlock Hardware, Fairfield, Connecticut
Intown Ace Hardware, Decatur, Georgia
Congleton Brothers Pro Home Center, Beattyville, Kentucky
Ames True Value Hardware & Supply, Wiscasset, Maine
Dunkirk Do it Best Hardware & Home Center, Dunkirk, Maryland
Frattalone’s Ace Hardware, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Home Hardware and Variety, Boulder City, Nevada
Goffstown Ace Hardware, Goffstown, New Hampshire
McGrath’s Paint and Hardware, New Jersey
Kelloggs & Lawrence Do it Best, Katonah, New York
Parkrose Hardware, Portland, Oregon
Bomberger’s Store, Lititz, Pennsylvania
Tri-County Ace, Seneca, South Carolina
Ace Hardware of Chattanooga, Tennessee
Randy’s Do it Best Hardware, Virginia
Island Do it Best Home Center and Lumber, Vashon, Washington
Watson Ace Hardware, Lake Mills, Wisconsin
For the full list of Hardware Store ALL-STARS winners click here.
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team
Last week I had the pleasure of attending The Hardware Conference, held in Marco Island, Florida. I was met by over 400 retailers, leaders, and influencers in the retail hardware industry, 90 of those being Epicor Eagle users. It was a conference full of activity from technology training sessions to meetings for True Value, Ace, and Do it Best retailers, the annual meeting for Hardlines Digest participants, as well as an open exhibit area for the latest products in retail hardware.
The pinnacle of the conference this year -- other than celebrating its 25th year serving the hardware community -- was the newly introduced Beacon Awards, a national industry awards program developed by The Hardware Conference and The Hardware Connection, honoring the “best of the best” independent hardware and home improvement retailers in the United States. We were proud to congratulate four Epicor Eagle winners during the awards ceremony held on Friday night during the conference. The Epicor winners of the Retail Beacon Award were Marmac Ace Hardware and Sullivan Hardware and Garden; the winners of the Beacon Awards Best New Store were Hartville Hardware and Lutz Ace Hardware.
Marmac Ace Hardware – Maui, Hawaii
In operation since 1971, Marmac has a 9,000-square-foot store in Kahului. In July 2013, the family opened a second store in Wailuku that encompasses 13,000 square feet. Now with a larger sales floor, the new store offers have expanded their original product offerings as well as increased stock in niche departments like cleaning and pet supplies.
Sullivan Hardware and Garden – Indianapolis, Indiana
Sullivan Hardware & Garden opened in 2012 designed as a destination where customers would come not just for good service, but also for the best selection of products. In his free time, owner Pat Sullivan is busy co-hosting a local Saturday morning radio show with co-host, Dick Crum, answering caller’s home and garden questions.
Hartville Hardware – Hartville, Ohio
In April 2012, brothers Howard and Wayne Miller opened the largest independent hardware store in the country. The 305,000-square-foot home center spans two levels, over seven acres, and also features a 1,850-square-foot idea house located inside.
Lutz Ace Hardware – Lutz, Florida
Brothers Scott and Todd Andrews decided to diversify their pool supply business by opening an Ace Hardware store in January 2012. Lutz Ace Hardware features 11,900 square feet of retail selling space, which also includes a very successful gift shop business.
From left to right: Scott and Tina Andrews (Lutz Ace Hardware), Jim Holden (Epicor), Pat and Beth Sullivan (Sullivan Hardware and Garden), and Howard and Marsha Miller (Hartville Hardware).
While there was a lot of activity around new products to feature in hardware stores, another key highlight of the conference was the Technology Forum. Epicor Eagle users were provided with a full day of hands on training covering educational topics such as inventory management, new Eagle features, and mobility for your business, among others.
Thank you to all the hardware retailers, sponsors, and leaders who attended this conference. We look forward to another 25 years of service from The Hardware Conference.
Posted by Bob Aronson, Vice President Sales, Epicor Retail Distribution Solutions
It has been an interesting summer for those that follow the ongoing swipe fee battle. First the Visa and MasterCard retail credit settlement, then Judge Leon’s ruling on the debit fee cap. A quick and simple summary to get us all up to speed:
- Banks used to charge merchants interchange (a percentage of the total transaction) for accepting debit cards at a lower rate, but similar to how credit cards were priced.
- Interchange is a risk-based pricing model and most (not the banks) thought that wasn’t fair because debit transactions are good funds -- no lending, little risk.
- Congress took action and the Durbin amendment was passed.
- The Federal Reserve (Fed) studied and sought opinion and came out with a cap of $0.21 per swipe in 2011 -- about $0.23 less than what they used to cost.
- Fast forward two years, and the new pricing scheme is pretty well understood and accepted in the market. Then Judge Leon says -- wait a minute, Congress thought it should be $0.12 per swipe. The Fed appealed the ruling and everyone in payments is again talking about debit.
The technical and banking infrastructure to accept electronic payments is large and immensely complicated. The fact that it now costs less than half (on average) of what it once did just a few years ago is a great benefit to merchants, and no merchant wants to go back to the days of primarily cash and check. It’s just too efficient at the point of sale and for their business operations to accept plastic. They do want to pay a fair price -- no one likes to overpay or feel like the market is controlled. The interesting thing about the fact I just pointed out, is that the payments market is not controlled -- there are a large number of new entrants each year.
No one has been able to offer a secure, reliable and lower cost model than what the payment industry has today. I don’t think we will see the end of this in 2013, and it will be very interesting to see if the networks are pressured to make a voluntary price concession to avoid an even further decline. If you have an opinion on this or any other payment related topic, we would love to hear it.
Posted by Matt Mullen, Head of Product Management & Marketing and General Manager of Epicor Payment Exchange
Mobile devices and applications are transforming the retail sector, according to a recently released report by Google: "One in three shoppers use their smartphones to find information instead of asking for help from a store employee. In some categories 55 percent say they do this when shopping for appliances, 48 percent for electronics, 40 percent for baby care and 39 percent for household care." These statistics show the movement from service to self-service, with mobile as the principal enabler.
Kevin Benedict of sys-con.com lists some of the most interesting findings in the Google report:
- Seventy-nine percent of smartphone owners are smartphone shoppers.
- Sixty-two percent use a smartphone to assist with shopping at least once a month and 17 percent use it this way at least once a week.
- Eighty-four percent of smartphone users use tem to help shop while in a store.
- Fifty-three percent of smartphone users use their devices in-store to make price comparisons.
- Thirty-nine percent of smartphone users use them to find promotional offers while in the store.
- Thirty-six percent of smartphone users use their devices to find location/directions to stores.
- Thirty-five percent of smartphone users use their smartphones to find store hours.
This data dovetails with a Forbes Insight report called “Retail’s Mobile Imperative,” whose key findings included:
- Retailers are actively pursuing the mobile channel; nearly three out of four have some kind of mobile initiative in place today.
- Nearly one-half of retailers say they want to capture “first-mover advantage” as their customers go mobile.
- Retailers are at varying levels of sophistication in terms of their mobile efforts. Fundamental tools such as mobile ads and mobile websites are the most common. Other companies are moving into more transaction-based and customer service-oriented applications. The most sophisticated are adding location- and context-based apps.
- For many retailers, mobile is much more than a “scaled-back” version of the Internet. Rather, they take advantage of the ubiquity of cell phones and smartphones to create location-specific experiences.
- Retailers are determining which mobile devices and operating systems to support, relying primarily on the device’s current and potential market share and the demographics of the device’s user base.
- Retailers appear satisfied with their mobile efforts, with six out of 10 saying their mobile channel returns are either meeting or exceeding expectations.
Much of this phenomenon was anticipated in a GS1 Mobile Com whitepaper that appeared at the onset of this decade, as mobile phone users were beginning to transition in droves to smartphones, and before the development and rapid deployment of tablets. The paper, “Mobile in Retail: Getting Your Retail Environment Ready for Mobile,” states plainly why mobile is good for retail: increased sales, increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, and added value to physical products and experiences through digital services. Clearly retailers are hearing the message, and with over one-half the planet’s population equipped with mobile phones, there is a vast audience poised to hear their messages.
The mobile in retail phenomenon is developing new angles even as it emerges. In a post on Cisco’s The Network blog, Joanne Taaffe, deputy editor of Total Telecom Magazine, addresses one that’s gaining traction: providing product development data to consumers. According to Taaffe, concern from consumers about the origins of the products they purchase is prompting retailers to start using mobile technologies to track provenance and sustainability of goods.
While costs may slow development of this mobile retail functionality in the short term, and analysts contend that consumer activism will be necessary to drive further moves by retailers to use technology to provide up-to-date information on how they have sourced the products on their shelves, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the practice ultimately triumph. After all, the mobile world is one where the customer is king or queen; recent history has shown that he or she generally gets what he or she wants in the end.
Stay tuned—or powered up.
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team
In an earlier post, we looked at how smaller businesses were using e-commerce to establish brands, even premium ones, while getting closer to their customers. Along with the benefits that e-commerce provides smaller concerns comes new business requirements. Faster shipping is one of main ones.
While brick-and-mortar retailers have struggled to bring in customers in recent years, e-commerce has steadily grown and shows no sign of slowing down. Consumers, however, want more than just the convenience of shopping in their pajamas. They expect their purchases to arrive more quickly than ever, and e-commerce giants like Amazon are obliging with more same-day shipping capabilities. Small and midsize companies are feeling this trickle-down pressure to speed up their shipping times, and many are turning to their business application vendors in hopes of rising to the challenge.
Leslie Hand, research director for IDC Retail Insights, an IT analyst organization based in Framingham, Mass., observes that more manufacturers than ever are embracing e-commerce as a business model. According to Hand, by partnering with e-commerce sites such as Amazon, manufacturers can sell a broader range of products and deliver them more quickly to a wider range of customers than they could reach on their own. “In addition to finding the right software, small and midsize manufacturers that really want to reach consumers directly and quickly need to foster relationships with partners that can facilitate unit-level picking, the process of taking products directly from inventory to shipping,” notes Cole.
One of the benefits of speeding shipping times is doing a better job of juggling multiple sales outlets and logistics services. Cole cites a colorful example in her piece: Savvi, a manufacturer of novelty temporary tattoos in Tucson, Ariz. Savvi has been using Epicor's ERP system since June 2010, after 10 months of due diligence exploring vendor options. "We have three distinct divisions," says Chris Huff, vice president of operations at Savvi. "One deals with retailers like Walmart and Target. Another is a custom product, make-to-order division. A third is our vending machine division." The company also has a stock division, where an order can be shipped either same day or next day, depending on what time of day the order is placed.
We've got hundreds of thousands of stock images that you can pull up on our website," notes Huff. "You can place your order and get a confirmation number as soon as it ships. We have the same thing with our vending division, where orders that come in before 2:00 p.m. will be shipped same day."
The challenge for Savvi is multi-channel: it must juggle a number of different sales models and outlets when distributing its products, including e-commerce, major retailers, made-to-order manufacturing, and inventory control. Its shipping models are also varied, including overnighting products, shipping container loads overseas, sending truckloads for domestic sales, and going through FedEx and UPS.
According to Huff, Epicor ERP has helped simplify operations and speed order fulfillment. "This has been great for putting all our needs in one package," he says. "We were a mom-and-pop company initially, with a home-grown system. We acquired two or three competitors and at one time had five disparate systems running simultaneously; you can image the chaos that ensues from that." Now that the chaos has been put to order, orders are reaching customers when they expect them—a requirement for anyone operating e-commerce.
Posted by Epicor Social Media Team
The recent availability of Epicor® Eagle®
Hosting provides new and current Eagle customers the opportunity to outsource their server operations. The comprehensive hosting capabily of Epicor Eagle supports the SMB growth strategy. According to a survey conducted by Microsoft, Hosted services, also known as cloud services, are expected to grow from $9 billion in 2010 to $40-50 billion by 2015(1).
The new Eagle Hosted solution offers an end-to-end architecture, and includes the associated implementation and integration services, support and maintenance, ongoing updates and upgrades. In addition, all proprietary information is protected for each business using the hosting service. The hosted servers are held in Epicor’s PCI compliant datacenter with significant redundancy in terms of power, HVAC, server hardware, network hardware, internet feeds, firewalls and security. Hosting offers a big advantage and possible cost savings compared to maintaining a server in a closet or on a table in the back of a business.
“Everything Central Network Retail Group
(CNRG) is doing focuses on cloud-based solutions and our goal has been to operate without in-house servers,” said Boyden Moore, president of CNRG. “Epicor Eagle hosting service made more sense for our 21 Home Hardware Center stores. The architecture works much better for us as a growing company and allows us to integrate our multi-store locations faster—the infrastructure allows us to better serve our customers.”
Other features and functionality available with Eagle Hosted include:
- Watchdog ISS Gateway and Kaspersky anti-virus protection services
- Automatic nightly backups: no need to change tapes or DVDs for backup
- Continuous server monitoring and quarterly server maintenance
- Automated OS and software updates with eConnect
Posted by Keith Lam
Sr. Product Manager for Epicor
If you haven’t been in a charming charlie store, put it on your bucket list. The award-winning fashion jewelry and accessories retailer has been delighting women of all ages since 2004. The company has 242 stores in the United States and earned a 656th ranking on Inc. Magazine’s list of Top 5,000 Fastest Growing Businesses in 2010, which is about when I discovered them.
To extend this success, charming charlie implemented a comprehensive customer marketing and loyalty program using Epicor Retail CRM. They started small and achieved big results. The journey started with encouraging customers to visit their stores or Web site and provide them their e-mail address. This allowed charming charlie to build more awareness with their customers on merchandise trends, new stores, and offerings. This not only encouraged customers (me) to shop more frequently, it also gave them more insights into “my” preferences and needs. This then allowed charming charlie to tailor offers more specifically to “me” and reward me for “my” loyalty. A win-win for me and charming charlie.
To hear more of charming charlie’s new loyalty program, as well as its tight integration with Epicor Retail Store for real-time CRM and Rewards, review the recent article and video interview by RIS News, with John Hnanicek, CIO of charming charlie and click here to read the full charming charlie CRM case study on Epicor.com.
To quote charming charlie – they helped me find my “fabulous”, hope they help you find yours!
Posted by Diane Cerulli, director of marketing
Insights 2013 Epicor Customer Conference held May 13-16 in Nashville, Tennessee, was this year's essential event for businesses that depend on Epicor Retail Solutions, as well as other Epicor business management solutions. To add a little fun at the start of the conference, Epicor invited retail customers to join golf rivals Duncan Taylor, Epicor senior director international business development, retail, and Joe Sarabok, Epicor senior sales director, retail, in an "Epic" battle to see whose swings reign supreme.
This year Team Taylor (blue polo’s) and Team Sarabok (red polo’s) hosted the classic round at Nashville's beautiful Hermitage Golf Club
. The first golf showdown was held at Caesars Cascata
in Vegas during Insights 2012—Team Duncan was the victor. Watch the video to see the winning outcome this year.
Participants - back row, left to right: Edward Iskander (Danier Leather Inc.), Andrew Mitchell (VF Corporation, guest), Richard Hicks (The Paper Store), Mike King (BT Expedite), Duncan Taylor (Epicor), Rick Coenen (Sussan Corporation), Tim Delasantos (The Paper Store), Chris Wrye (Genesco), Maureen DeMott (Charming Charlie), Joe Mach (VeriFone). Front row, left to right: Matthew Couture (Epicor), Rob Stoy (American Eagle Outfitters), Brian Quill (Under Armour), Joe Sarabok (Epicor), Shawn Charrette (VF Corporation), Adam Thompson (Factory Connection, LLC).
A HUGE thank you to Joe Mach and the VeriFone team for sponsoring the great event! Another HUGE thank you to Brian Quill and Under Armour! Under Armour, one of Epicor’s most innovative customers helped the Epicor team develop a vision for the golf event attendees and helped drive the “I WILL” passion on the course by wearing some very fine Under Armour golf shirts.
Posted by Duncan Taylor, Senior Director International Business Development
Epicor Retail Solutions
The retail industry is changing more than ever before (Source: Business Insider, 2013).
I read these types of predictions with both interest and amusement. Yes, things are rapidly evolving and we need to adapt to changing technologies and consumer preferences, but the doomsday tenor should be taken with a grain of reason. With that said - this deck makes some good points and it is interesting to hear how the business world is changing and what is most important to remain engaged with your customers.
For more information, visit: https://intelligence.businessinsider.com/welcome
Posted by Matt Mullen, head of product management, Epicor Retail Distribution Group
For over 40 years, Race Brothers Farm and Home Supply of Springfield, Missouri has been owned and operated by the DeForest family. The company has more than 100 employees in its three locations. Race Brothers promises to provide outstanding service and products primarily for retail farm supply businesses.
Race Brothers is committed to improving their employees’ experience, which in return has overwhelming influence on the quality of customer service their stores can provide. In an interview featured in this month’s issue of Integrated Solutions for Retailers, Race Brothers discusses how overcoming one business challenge has greatly improved their company overall.
Preceding the implementation of the Training on Demand program, Race Brothers was experiencing difficulties sharing information across the management team down to each employee. Race Brothers was using traditional ways of training their employees; cashier to cashier, stock person to stock person. “Looking at the marketplace and comparing how we were fairing in relation to other training programs within industry businesses, we knew there was a large gap in communication between our staff at all levels,” said Roy Mason, VP and manager at Race Brothers. “We began implementing TOD with the main goal of creating one comprehensive training program for use in all three stores.”
Currently, with the use of Training on Demand, the Race Brothers’ training program allows for comparable training in all three stores. “The Epicor Training on Demand program is so powerful,” said Mason. “We were not utilizing training appropriately, especially at the management level. Now, we are effectively implementing many more training programs, and significantly improving the productivity of our employees.”
Read more about Race Brothers featured in the February 2013 issue of Integrated Solutions for Retailers.
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team