Success Story: Londis
Keeping the business agile using ECi EasyOrder
It's no secret that small independent stores face tough competition. For Musgrave Group, owners of the Londis brand, giving the retailers who partner with it a quicker ordering method was essential. By implementing ECi EasyOrder for B2B e-commerce, Londis has cut ordering times, reduced costs, and increased sales.
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Agile Ordering System Helps to drive Londis Sales
Founded in 1959, the Londis brand in Great Britain has been owned by the Musgrave Group in Ireland since 2004. Around 2,000 independently owned stores partner with Londis, and are provided with centralised marketing, purchasing, and supply chain support.
Before using ECi EasyOrder, many Londis stores had portable data terminals for scanning barcodes in a 7,000 item product catalogue. Orders were then transmitted via dial-up connections to Londis. A new edition was distributed every three weeks at an annual cost of £180,000. Other stores used EPOS systems with a downloaded catalogue which had less environmental impact.
Mark Trevorrow, IT director, Londis comments "Technology provides opportunity to increase efficiency and lower costs for us and our retailers. In bringing this type of technology into our business we wanted to help retailers reduce the time it took to order by as much as 25%."
A new e-commerce platform would reduce environmental concerns, cut costs, speed up ordering and offer better promotional opportunities. A rapidly deployable system involving fewer IT suppliers was preferred.
"We needed a technical solution that could work effectively in the UK and Ireland with different branding and shop fronts. We wanted one partner to provide an e-commerce platform for Londis' business to business trade."
A webshop approach offered multiple shop fronts, prices and currencies as well as online stock. Backed by independent advice, a detailed specification helped evaluate potential suppliers.
ECi EasyOrder e-commerce software was selected thanks to its superior out-of-the-box functionality and straightforward integration.
ECi was the only company that supported a handheld terminal out-of-the-box.
ECi consultants designed a B2B Londis webshop and managed the project which was delivered in 2011. EasyOrder was linked with a Koamtac handheld laser barcode scanner and then hosted as software as a service (SaaS) by ECi, which provided a rapid and low-cost solution.
Once the new webshop had gone live, the old barcode scanners were replaced during 2012. Around half the Londis stores now use the new scanners with the remainder on EPOS.
All locations benefit from the webshop which can be used like any e-commerce site. The new ordering system is robust, simple and fast. When the scanner is plugged into the store's PC after scanning items or shelf labels, the order is automatically uploaded into the webshop basket. Built-in intelligence then suggests alternatives for any out-of-stock items while a checkout process sends the order to Londis' ERP system.
Top-selling lines may be assembled by individual stores as a template order in the webshop while a countdown timer provides reminders about order deadlines. Planograms offer useful display shelf plans backed by one-click ordering. Such bespoke functionality is easily added to the standard EasyOrder platform.
The time spent placing orders has dropped by up to 50 percent with the system processing more than 1,000 orders per week from 1,200 stores.
Londis also now uses techniques like cross-selling and up-selling within the webshop to boost sales. "On average we have seen a 3-4% increase in order values, simply because the retailer is ordering product from a live catalogue rather than ordering from a printed version," says Trevorrow.
EasyOrder's scalability is now helping support business expansion. Work is underway with ECi to replace the downloadable EPOS product catalogue and validate EPOS orders automatically through the webshop instead. EasyOrder has also been extended to the Musgrave cash-and-carry business in Ireland.