According a U.S. Senator, “Small businesses should have the same ability to reach customers as powerful corporations.” In the retail sector, we’re seeing this sentiment taking flight with independent retailers leveraging cloud-based solutions to realize “big retailer” capabilities without the financial or staffing wherewithal of their larger competitors.*
Case in point: Truckee, California-based The Rock Garden, a single-store, multi-brand retailer. According to Chuck Avery, controller at The Rock Garden, the company believes strongly that rather than having servers onsite, with a cloud-based or hosted solution retailers “will have more time and energy to focus on their own businesses.”
The Rock Garden moved their Epicor Eagle solution to Epicor Eagle Hosting, a Web-based retail business management solution that provides independent retailers with the same advanced functionality as systems used by the world’s leading retailers -- in a model that significantly reduces capital investment, implementation challenges, and the ongoing requirements of managing IT assets.
Additionally, Epicor Eagle Hosting includes substantial power redundancy, HVAC, network and server hardware, Internet feeds, firewalls and data resides in a PCI compliant datacenter that is designed and operated to maintain high levels of security to provide small and independent retailers an affordable and effective end-to-end solution. Among the features that make this offering so compelling:
- Comprehensive services and infrastructure, from implementation and training to maintenance, data security, hardware, and support
- Fast implementation: up and running quickly
- Automatic, no-cost updates keep a retail business current with the latest technology and eliminate the need for future system migration
As the retail industry continues its fundamental shift into the digital world, hosted and cloud-based IT solutions, such as those provided by Epicor, are leveling the playing field for independent competitors. Ultimately that benefits retailers of all stripes, but also the consumers they serve.
Posted by Keith Lam, Senior Product Manager, Retail Distribution, Epicor
*“The Most Important Free Speech Issue of Our Time.” Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/al-franken/the-most-important-free-s_b_798984.html
National lawn and garden trade publication Today’s Garden Center has selected 100 North American lawn and garden retail businesses for its Revolutionary 100 Garden Center List. Started in 2006, the program surveys garden center owners and managers on how they run their businesses. Each retailer competes on financial performance, management styles, merchandising, marketing and many other areas that determine a thriving garden store, large or small.
Thirteen of the lawn and garden businesses listed this year operate their stores with the Epicor® Eagle® retail business management solution. Hundreds of lawn and garden centers across North America utilize Epicor Eagle to create more efficient, more profitable businesses that result in more satisfied customers and increased customer loyalty.
We are excited to congratulate some of the retailers named that operate their businesses with Epicor solutions:
Alsip Home & Nursery, Illinois
Hillermann Nursery & Florist, Missouri
K&W Greenery, Wisconsin
Petitti Garden Centers, Ohio
Ray Wiegand’s Nursery, Michigan
Steve’s Ace Home & Garden, Iowa
Wannemaker’s Home and Garden, Illinois
Bayport Flower Houses, New York
Stauffers of Kissel Hill, Pennsylvania
Atlantic Avenue Orchid & Garden, North Carolina
Ken Matthews Garden Center, Virginia
To view the full list of 2015 Revolutionary Garden Center winners, click here.
Posted by Sam Kirkland, National Accounts Manager, Retail Distribution Solutions for Epicor
Earlier this month, hundreds of independent retailers and users of the Epicor Eagle and Epicor Eagle for the Automotive Aftermarket solutions flocked to New Orleans for the Epicor Insights Eagle Customer Conference 2015. During the two-day event, attendees had the opportunity to participate in educational sessions, learn about new Epicor technologies, network with other users and meet members of the Epicor team.
The opening keynote by Craig McCollum, executive vice president and general manager, retail distribution solutions for Epicor, emphasized how generational shifts in North America, and specifically within independent retail businesses, are changing the dynamics of business. “Think of all of the jobs and industries either transformed or completely eliminated by technology,” said McCollum. “As the next generation of tech-savvy leaders come into fold, businesses need to build upon the existing strengths by including powerful components that have quite often not been leveraged by small, independently owned businesses -- implementation of technology to help make operations more efficient and to lead with decisions that are data driven. As the retail world continues to shift towards new technologies, I want to encourage businesses to embrace change, try to understand generational differences, and remain technologically relevant -- each of these objectives will improve communication across your businesses.”
With more than 60 interactive sessions, participants had excellent educational opportunities to learn how to improve their businesses operations. “I’ve been able to take away great ideas for improvement from every Insights Eagle session to bring back and implement in my business,” said Jay Saxton, sales and operations director at Construction Building Materials, Inc. “The conference is very valuable for any retailer looking to improve their business.”
The final day of Insights Eagle commenced with a keynote by Chris Swecker, former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigations Division and the former global security director of Bank of America. As a former head of the FBI’s Criminal Division, he led all FBI criminal investigations including public corruption, money laundering, organized crime and financial crime matters—spending more than 30 years fighting and protecting businesses against financial crimes. His keynote illuminated recent business security breaches and offered insights into protecting and safeguarding business data.
Highlights from Swecker’s keynote include:
- Fraud Risk Environment is Growing. The number of U.S. data breaches tracked in 2014 hit a record high of 783 in 2014, according to a recent report released by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and sponsored by IDT911™
- Best Practices for Business Data: mitigate the risk of a business data breach with tools like tokenization, egress filtering and limit exfiltration of data, P2P, EMV, Crown Jewel Identification
- Improve Personal Security by implementing the following tactics: patch updates, extra authentication, monitor credit and banking activity, shred unnecessary documents, and educate yourself about phishing
We hope to see you at the next Epicor Insights Eagle Customer Conference, where you can gain valuable insights to drive your business forward. Learn more at www.epicor.com.
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team
Education is a necessary and ongoing process throughout the stages of owning a retail business management solution: implementation, stabilization, optimization, and growth. During Epicor Insights Eagle Customer Conference 2015, attendees will gain valuable experiences on how to better utilize the Epicor Eagle and Epicor Eagle for the Aftermarket retail business management solutions to gain insights into their business, employee development, and ultimately the bottom line.
Why should education matter to retailers? Simple—change is essential to success. Education is one vehicle for change, allowing employees a chance to learn new things, refresh a stale job, implement a new technology, enable teamwork between experienced workers and new hires, and open up a channel for retailers to communicate the company direction and goals to employees. A variety of sessions will be offered during the two-day conference such as: Improving the Customer Experience; Preventing Loss in the Back Office; and, The Connected Consumer – A Guide through Social Media.
Retailers gain the following by participating in educational opportunities:
- Competitive advantage
- Enriched customer service
- Improved employee confidence
- Better morale – clear direction, vibrant learning, strong improvements, rich rewards
- Acceptance of leading edge technology
The conference will connect hundreds of retailers looking for opportunities to learn and network with their peers. “Without Insights, you really don’t have that kind of opportunity to go get that kind of training,” said Frank Shope, owner of Hart Ace Hardware. “It’s invaluable and I’m a huge fan of Insights.”
Watch this video to hear what other retailers had to say about participating in previous Insights conferences.
Investing in training and education is a must. A 2014 Huffington Post article indicates that companies investing $1,500 or more per employee per year on education and training average 24 percent higher profit margins than companies with lower yearly training investments.* Additionally, the Association for Talent Development (ATD, formerly ASTD) states that technology continues to play a significant role in the delivery of training. As the world economy continues to grow, talent development will continue to have an important and valuable role in organizations.**
We hope you’ll join us—and your peers—in New Orleans, February 2-4, 2015, to drive your business forward! For more information about Insights Eagle and to register, visit www.epicor.com/insights-eagle.
Posted by Monica Green, manager, content management, retail distribution solutions for Epicor
*Source: Huffington Post. “Not Investing in Employee Training Is Risky Business” by Emad Rizkalla (June 2014)
**Source: ATD. “2014 State of the Industry Report: Spending on Employee Training Remains a Priority” by Laurie Miller (November 2014)
The fourth annual Best in Biz Awards program, the only independent business awards program judged by members of the press and industry analysts, named Epicor Eagle N Series retail business management solution a Silver award winner in the Small or Medium Business Product of the Year category.
The comprehensive Epicor Eagle N Series solution is designed to give independent retailers the information required to improve results, outservice the competition, and ultimately run their businesses efficiently. The new solution, launched in August 2014, extends the Epicor Eagle business management software by marrying the platform’s rich feature set and advanced business intelligence tools with a completely redesigned and simplified user interface.
Best in Biz Awards’ fourth annual North American program was the most competitive yet. As in previous years, the awards program in North America featured a large and distinguished judging panel comprised of members of the media who reviewed and scored the hundreds of award nominations. More than 550 award nominations were received this year in a variety of company, executive, team, and product focused categories. Nominations were fielded from public and private companies of all sizes, from virtually every major industry and region in the U.S. and Canada.
Best in Biz Awards 2014 honors were presented in 60 categories, including Company of the Year, Fastest-Growing Company of the Year, Most Innovative Company of the Year, Best Place to Work, Technology Department of the Year, Executive of the Year, Most Innovative Product of the Year, Best New Product of the Year, PR Campaign of the Year and Website of the Year.
Winners of Best in Biz Awards 2014 were determined based on scoring from an independent panel of 53 judges from highly recognized newspapers, business, consumer and technology publications, radio outlets, and analyst firms. In addition to the numerous judges returning from previous panels, this year’s 53-person judging panel included several worthy additions to this high-profile group.
For a full list of gold, silver and bronze winners in Best in Biz Awards 2014, visit: http://www.bestinbizawards.com/2014-winners.
To learn more about Epicor Eagle N Series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Epicor Social Media Team
2014 has been a strong growth year for farm, agriculture (ag), and ranch retailers. A recent article from Home Channel News noted, “Farm-and-ranch stores are getting larger. They’re adjusting to their customers’ needs. Technology is advancing efficiencies in the back room. And farm-and-ranch stores are going to places where they simply haven’t been before."
Considering all aspects of a farm, ag, and ranch retail operation—customer loyalty, inventory management, accounting, eCommerce—there are many fine details that must be groomed in order to run a successful independent retail business.
The key to effectively managing all of these programs is finding the right technology partner. A technology partner will play a crucial role in the development and expansion of any retail business. Big R Holdings and The General Store are just a few examples of retailers that have discovered how a business partnership and innovative technology complement business growth.
Epicor solutions have proven effective for the Big R Holdings expanding business. “Epicor has grown with our business. Epicor solutions have helped us better manage our business from inventory and order points, to receiving and promotions. Epicor solutions are phenomenal. They assist us with our business improvement and growth goals,” said Adam Carroll, vice president of Big R Holdings.
Read the full Big R Holdings story here.
The General Store improved customer service and saves time with smartphone solution. “With Epicor Eagle Mobile Manager, we make better buying decisions and are able to determine whether show specials or discounts are right for our business… Mobile Manager has made my life easier. It is so convenient and has already saved me a lot of time. I recommend it for retail operations similar to ours,” said David Jones, owner of The General Store.
Read The General Store’s full story here.
Posted by Doug Smith, Senior Product Manager, Epicor Retail Distribution Solutions
Competing online is a new game for many independent retailers. As competition from big-box stores continuously increases, it is essential for owners of independent brick-and-mortar stores to consider growing their businesses with expansion into the world of eCommerce. Many know they need to define a consistent strategy to sell online, but retailers need effective tools for that strategy to be successful. With technology, retailers are able to connect with consumers in powerful new ways.
Whether your business has already established an Internet presence, or you’re preparing to take a business online, eCommerce can mean much more than an additional “purchasing location” for consumers. It’s also about maintaining relevancy in today’s fast-paced market. The new version of Epicor iNet™ eBusiness Suite*, an integrated eCommerce and eBusiness technology solution, offers an additional storefront to consumers and is a valuable tool for everything from product research and purchase, to directions to your store. By providing convenient self-service information, consumers and commercial customers can find that the new Epicor iNet software makes it easier for them to do business with retailers.
New doors for both the retailer and their customers are opened with eCommerce. By selecting the correct solution for a business, retailers can magnify their footprint and capitalize on increasing valuable customer relationships not just locally, but nationally and globally. In addition to better connecting to your consumers, eCommerce is another way to grow a revenue stream outside the traditional retail space, as well as help keep costs down by letting customers serve themselves.
Kinnucan’s Specialty Outfitter, founded in 1987, operates the company’s online store with Epicor iNet software. “If you're in the retail business you will eventually have to be an eCommerce business if you want to compete effectively and have any future,” said Bobby Lake, president of Kinnucan’s Specialty Outfitter. “We spent a lot of time and energy making sure that our brick-and-mortar business was successfully and efficiently operated. Since we had all those pieces in place, it was our time to move into eCommerce to expand our business further. Epicor iNet is the technology behind our eCommerce strategy. The benefit for us is that we’re now able to take our business across county, city, and state lines – geography is no longer an issue.”
The newest version of Epicor iNet software is packed with powerful and timesaving new features, including:
- Emailed reminders to shoppers who abandoned online carts – notifications for them to return and complete their purchase with ease
- Comprehensive support for multiple payment processors on a single eCommerce site – you can now accept more forms of payment
- Allow ACH “eChecks” from Authorized .Net – reduce transaction fees when paying on an account
- Support for Promotion Codes – attract new customers and run free shipping or free gift promotions online
- Item-level Shipping Rules – assign the right rates for bulky and overweight items
- More shopping convenience for your customers – enhanced search capabilities, multiple shipping addresses and more.
How do you get started with eCommerce? Every good strategy begins with an evaluation period. Take a complete look at your organization before you even consider the technology. Are you ready to run eCommerce as an incorporated division? Evaluate you're people and understand whether or not you have the right operational model and framework to support online selling, and if you can meet and support the needs of your customers.
As an independent retailer you're competing with a sea of options. When a consumer wants something, regardless of locality, retailers must respond with an easy and seamless purchase process. What’s great about modern retail technology is that it provides that process and more. The tactics and tools are available for retailers to succeed, so long as retailers are motivated to educate themselves and embrace the technology.
To learn more about Epicor Eagle and the Epicor iNet eBusiness Suite, please email email@example.com.
Posted by Mike Duncan, Senior Product Manager, Epicor Retail Distribution
*Epicor iNet eBusiness Suite is an available purchase option for users of the Epicor® Eagle® business management system.
There was no shortage of networking opportunities during the 2014 LBM and Wood Products User Conference
, held November 4-5, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Attendees were able to connect with Epicor staff, as well as new and seasoned users across Epicor lumber and building materials (LBM) and wood product solutions.
“There are many reasons we come to the Epicor LBM and Wood Products User Conference, but one of the primary reasons is for the one-on-one time with a large group of Epicor representatives,” said Jon Le Roi, director of IT at Mendocino Forest Products
. “I get the opportunity to talk with the head of the Epicor LumberTrack development team -- that’s not something I get to do every day. We have a great relationship with Epicor and this is another way to foster that relationship. It’s putting faces to the names of those we work closely with via email and phone conversations. The conference also offers a great combination of where Epicor is as a company, where it’s going with products, as well as new tools and trends in the industry that we can take back to our business.”
Another key driver for user attendance is the unique ability to network with similar businesses operating on the same solutions. “This is our second year attending the Epicor LBM and Wood Products User Conference,” said Chris Routhe, business process manager at Millard Lumber Inc
. “We’ve been very happy with Epicor and really feel as if we are a part of the Epicor team. For us, the conference is all about talking to likeminded people from our industry and sharing stories of best practices for better business operation. We run ideas by everyone from other users, to the Epicor representatives present. We’re able to provide our insights to what tools and software enhancements will continue to help our business grow. And Epicor listens and acts on our ideas. We will definitely attend the conference again.”
The Responsibility of Leadership with Rick Davis
The closing keynote by industry expert Rick Davis, president of Building Leaders Inc., encompassed how LBM dealers can take advantage of IT techniques and sales tools that lead to success. Davis provided attendees with three ‘power ideas’ to produce an efficient and beneficial business model:
- Annual goals create excuses – while an annual goal is a great starting point, it’s not a complete strategy. A great alternative is to create monthly performance objectives that lead to predictable future results.
- It’s about who knows you – in business, consumers buy from those they know. Establish a plan that markets your reputation and strengthens relationships.
- Create perceptions of abundance – an enlightened leader creates optimism by factually demonstrating that abundance exists. Developing sales and marketing strategies with abundance in mind will lead to success and competitive advantage.
See You in the “Alamo City!”
Mark your calendar for the 2015 Epicor LBM and Wood Products User Conference—November 10-11, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas.
Users will be able to attend dedicated education tracks focused on specific products and solutions, and opportunities to network with other users and Epicor representatives. Gain valuable insight on how to utilize your Epicor solution to inspire your business, your employees, and your bottom line. We hope you’ll join us—and your peers—in San Antonio!
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team
Last week, Epicor retail distribution solutions Executive Vice President and General Manager Craig McCollum welcomed over 450 Epicor users to the 2014 Epicor LBM and Wood Products User Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference brought together users of Epicor lumber, building materials, and wood products solutions -- Epicor BisTrack, Epicor LumberTrack, Epicor Catalyst, Epicor Falcon, and Epicor ECS Pro. Attendees also had the opportunity to learn about new Epicor technologies, network with other users and meet the Epicor team.
The Generational Transformation in Your Business
The opening keynote by Craig McCollum focused on how to embrace the generational shift currently occurring as Traditionalist and Baby Boomers transfer leadership to Generation X and the Millennials. “The Technology Revolution has shaped the work ethic and leadership styles of Generation X and the Millennials,” said McCollum. “I want to encourage businesses to embrace this change and create a work environment where the different generations can communicate freely and learn from each other.”
Additionally, McCollum provided a few words of advice for businesses in the midst of generational shifts:
- Embrace change. It’s inevitable and you can’t fight it. The market is changing quickly and you need to be able to change along with it. Are your business intelligence and analytics tools conducive to providing you with the accurate and real-time information you need to respond to market changes?
- Break down the walls between the different generational groups in your company. Cross-train every employee and try to have a good mix of younger and older employees working together and learning from one another. This will keep your older employees young at heart, and provide reassuring experience to the younger staff.
- Challenge employees. Use technology to automate as many processes and transactions as possible. This will free up employees from menial tasks and allow them to focus on more challenging and rewarding responsibilities.
- Values-based buying is going to become more prevalent as younger employees take over the purchasing process. Have a plan in place to obtain and market your green products and practices.
- Increase communication. Leverage today’s mobile technologies and products to improve communications across your organization and with your customers.
Built on over 30 years of lumber industry expertise, Epicor provides software solutions to more than 2,000 lumber and building material businesses throughout North America. Learn more about these solutions at www.epicor.com/lbm.
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team
National trade publication Home Channel News has named 50 independent retail businesses from the United States in the fourth annual Hardware Store ALL-STARS list. Strong-performing and innovative retailers are recognized in this awards program for excellence in their industries. Of those listed, 33 of the 50 operate their businesses on Epicor solutions. The retailers are known for their great leaders, exciting innovations, and an unconventional approach to retailing.
Collecting nominees from a combination of store visits, news searches, and entries from trusted industry sources, the publication’s editorial selection committee assembled an ALL-STAR lineup of elite retailers. According Home Channel News, the retailers have demonstrated “service, service and more service. They also show growth, innovation and values of the hardware industry.”
We are excited to congratulate the retailers named that operate their businesses with Epicor solutions. Here is a sampling of the Epicor users in the Hardware Store ALL-STARS list:
Bay Hardware, California
Shell Lumber & Hardware, Florida
HPM Building Supply, Hawaii
Steve’s Ace Home & Garden, Iowa
Strasser Hardware, Kansas
Vidrine’s Ace Hardware, Louisiana
Courtland Hardware, Maryland
Rylee’s Ace Hardware, Michigan
Colmar Home Center, New Jersey
H.G. Page and Sons Home and Hardware, New York
Nutter Hardware, Ohio
Gordon White Lumber, Oklahoma
Madrona Hills Ace Hardware, Oregon
Paradise Home Center, South Carolina
Anderson Lumber Company, Tennessee
Cox Hardware & Lumber, Texas
Scholze Ace Home Center, Wisconsin
True Value of Rawlins, Wyoming
See retailer photos here.
To view the full list of 2014 HCN Hardware Store ALL-STARS winners, click here.
Posted by Doug Smith, Senior Product Manager, Retail Distribution Solutions for Epicor