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Creating Memorable Customer Shopping Experiences

In 1969, Alsip Home & Nursery opened as the premier garden center in Frankfort, Illinois. A complete garden center, the company also has a pet center and home center carrying various items. Once the company opened, it evolved into a specialty retailer with a prestigious reputation in the market and is a tradition to many loyal customers.

Alsip's mission is to create a memorable shopping experience every day. They set their goal to be the best at serving their customers' needs while making a difference in the community. Every action they take is with customers in mind. They pursue excellence in their unique products and memorable service and empower their staff to make decisions that improve their work and benefit customers and the company.

Accurate Reporting Improves Customer Satisfaction

Operated by second-generation family members, Alsip has experienced a growing customer base that shows no signs of slowing down. "We continue to build our repeat customer base by treating everybody like a friend and constantly bringing in new, unique, and quality merchandise that is hard to find elsewhere," said Richard Christakes, Chief Executive Officer of Alsip Home & Nursery. "We've been an Eagle user since the late 1990s, and the solutions provided are a big reason we can keep an accurate count of all that merchandise. And having that merchandise available satisfies our customers."

Inventory is a business' single most significant investment and asset. Alsip uses the Epicor Eagle Inventory Planner application to better forecast and manages stock levels to balance their inventory. "Our entire staff uses the Epicor Eagle Inventory Planner application," said Christakes. "Our inventory is the most important aspect of our business, so Inventory Planner is the tool we utilize the most. The ability to access real-time data makes our business run more accurately, and we've experienced huge cost savings. Everyone in the lawn and garden business should use this technology to stay competitive. If we did not have an Inventory Planner, it would hurt our business significantly."

Our inventory is the most important aspect of our business, so Inventory Planner is the tool we utilize the most. The ability to access real-time data makes our business run more accurately, and we've experienced huge cost savings. Everyone in the lawn and garden business should use this technology to stay competitive. If we did not have an Inventory Planner, it would hurt our business significantly.

Easier Purchasing Decisions

Purchasing can be a daunting task for any business. Easy access to data is one reason the Epicor Compass application is instrumental to the garden center. "Epicor Compass makes our purchasing decisions easier," said Christakes. "We can effortlessly look at the history of what we bought, what we sold, and compare the cost of goods to inventory. What I find most useful is the automated reports and e-mailing to my inbox. We plan to use it more to optimize our business.”

With Compass software, we can drill down on customers' balances and see what they are buying," said Stephanie Harms, accounting manager at Alsip Home & Nursery. "It gives us a better idea of how each customer spends their money with us. We can stay on top of the balances—keeping everybody current. It streamlines the collection process, making my job much easier. Before using Compass software, we would go through and manually export reports. Now, I let the technology do the work for me."

Satisfying High Demands with Mobile Solutions

The Mobile Manager Top 100 List helps me get a quick view of what’s selling and what we need to restock faster...We’ve been able to make better buying decisions and can negotiate more effective pricing.

With retail business owners and managers always moving, a mobile solution provides instant access to critical business information. The Epicor Eagle Mobile Manager solution is one of Alsip's mobile solutions. One feature, known as the Top 100 List, helps to provide insight into top-selling items. "The Mobile Manager Top 100 List helps me get a quick view of what's selling and what we need to restock faster," said Christakes. "Our buyers use the application at distributor tradeshows. They scan products at shows and pull up our quantity on hand right there on their mobile device. This helps them determine if they need to place an order at that show. It's important to see quantity on hand in real-time. We are now well informed on our actual merchandise and no longer walk tradeshow floors speculating. As a result, we've been able to make better buying decisions and can negotiate more effective pricing. Mobile Manager is a great tool, and others see us as an industry leader with this technology."

Payment Solution to Better Serve Customers

We saved over $17,000 in the first seven months of using Epicor Payment Exchange. The processing rate is very competitive, and we are completing our credit card transactions much faster now, which allows us to serve our customers better.

A convenient, secure payment service that handles each step in credit card transactions—authorization, settlement, and reporting—is crucial for every business. Alsip has significantly reduced credit card processing costs by using Epicor Payment Exchange. "We saved over $17,000 in the first seven months of using Epicor Payment Exchange," said Harms. "The processing rate is very competitive, and we are completing our credit card transactions much faster now, which allows us to serve our customers better."

Retailers want to simplify payment processing and reduce the costs associated with many third-party providers. “Another big improvement we’ve experienced in our business since the implementation of Epicor Payment Exchange is being able to manage our gift cards internally,” said Harms. “There’s no more ‘per swipe’ fee to activate or redeem gift cards, which is a bonus for us because we burn many gift cards in the company. Epicor Payment Exchange has really given us more control of our business."

Company Facts

  • Location: Frankfort, Illinois
  • Specialist Industry: Lawn and Garden Supply Stores
  • Number of Stores: 2
  • Number of Employees: 150+
  • Website: www.alsipnursery.com
  • Co-op: True Value®

Challenges

  • Maintain accurate inventory levels
  • Improve buying decisions at shows
  • Remain competitive against big box stores

Benefits

  • Inventory levels are easier to maintain and improve customer satisfaction
  • Real-time insight into quantity-on-hand leads to better buying decisions
  • Saved $17,000 in the first seven months of using the new payment processing
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