SPI Increase Sales - Implementing a Web Storefront Properly

“We have seen the average dollar per order nearly quadruple since we began using Channel Software solutions.” – Mark Meitin, SPI.

SPI Health and Safety, a safety equipment distributor and service provider based in Blainville, Quebec sells a variety of safety products including safety boots, gloves, harnesses and hardhats, in addition to offering safety services such as consulting, training and certifying customers on accident prevention, lock-out-tag-out procedures, confined space, fall prevention and many others areas. Since SPI’s inception in 1972, SPI Health and Safety has been a leading health and safety products distributors in Canada.

SPI has been utilizing both eCommerce21® and CatalogBuilder® for approximately two years and has found great benefit with both. SPI devoted time to conducting their due diligence and took many factors into consideration before choosing Channel Software’s solutions.

Mark Meitin, Manager of Continuous Improvement says “ There were primarily four areas which we concentrated on when searching for and determining the best vendor and platform for our ecommerce needs; 1) Centralized repository for data 2) Innovative and flexible software, 3) Services Offered 4) Expertise of staff.”

Sales and Marketing Information

Channel Software’s CatalogBuilder® solution allowed for the centralized data repository of enirched products, categories, attributes and images all within the same program, in addition to having the ability to create print material such as flyers and catalogs and other promotional material.

SPI needed the ability to offer information in multiple languages as they are a dominant player within Québec selling to customers speaking both English and French languages. “Being able internally to quickly and easily display our sites in multiple languages without having to pay for thousands of dollars in modifications was an extremely important benefit for us” says Mark Meitin.

Decision Making Information

SPI utilized Channel Software’s content development services to obtain all supplemental product information and streamline existing data by categories for the initial upload into CatalogBuilder®. “If it were not for Channel Software offering the ability to perform the initial normalization of data for us, we wouldn’t have met our timelines and with good data integrity” indicated Mark Meitin. Following the initial upload, the ability to convert and unify data through the software was stated as one of the features SPI liked most about Channel Software’s solutions.

The ease of implementation and ongoing support of the Channel Software solutions was a big factor in choosing the Channel Software platforms. SPI wanted a company that they could rely on to assist with questions and assistance without waiting endless phone queues or pressing buttons to speak to someone. SPI desired a support staff that had knowledge about both the software systems and related to online web ordering, without worrying about being invoiced every time a question was made. “Channel Software has provided SPI with an enormous amount of assistance with their staff, they’ve always assisted us within a reasonable amount of time which is definitely something that differentiates them from the competition” says Mark Meitin.

The feedback SPI received from customers following the launch of the French Storefront site was an overwhelming success and in general an incredible response. Customers and SPI employees alike have said a vital piece in creating the ongoing success their web storefront has experienced was the ability to compare items and the suggested selling feature, which SPI previously did not have.

Implementing a Web Storefront in Waves

SPI chose to rollout their web storefront in waves, first internally to employees, then to selected focus group customers and finally to all French speaking customers using their French Storefront site. Initially employees were asked to enter customer orders for two months online and provide feedback, then pre-selected customers were contacted and provided a link to the transactional site. At each step of the process adjustments were made as the evitable issues arose. SPI then relocated their login feature to their homepage, allowing their French speaking customers to access their web storefront. This method allowed SPI to receive feedback from various sources and make adjustments before deploying it on a large scale.

The flexibility of Channel Software enabled SPI to learn about the online purchasing habits of their customers and make the necessary adjustments to accommodate the different buying tendencies of their different customer types; as well as the services they offer to those customers. SPI’s web storefront continues to evolve as they constantly implement more features and capabilities. SPI is looking to create an even better customer experience by offering credit card usage on their web storefront, which is currently in the initial testing phase. SPI also is in the midst of yet more testing, planning to rollout their English language web storefront later in the year.

eCommerce: A Key Profit Center

Mark Meitin of SPI stated that the “Constant innovation and updates to the Channel Software product allows SPI to continuously move rapidly towards becoming a leader in online purchasing of safety products and services”. He also offers advice to those looking to implement Channel Software solutions, “dedicate the appropriate time and resources to properly implement and manage your web storefront and your efforts will be more than rewarded. You’re only 3 clicks away from losing a potential customer if the experience is unpleasant. Treat your online transactional website as though it were a brick and mortar location. Dedicate the appropriate time, money and resources to making your website beautiful, functional, and user-friendly.” When asked if SPI would recommend Channel Software’s solutions to other businesses, they responded with a resounding “Yes! “