How a Software Search Turned into Omnichannel Transformation

paper sourcePaper Source is a premier paperie and gift retailer offering a curated selection of fine papers, custom invitations and announcements, distinctive gifts, quirky greeting cards, gift wrap, paper craft kits, party supplies and personalized stationery and stamps.  The company’s goal is to inspire customers to "Do Something Creative Every Day" and to celebrate all of life's moments, both big and small. Whether that be a quirky card, chic personalized stationery, an elegant invitation, a beautifully wrapped gift or a festive birth announcement, Paper Source believes each offers a unique opportunity for creative expression in everyday life.  

While the company was expanding to different cities across America, its technology didn’t keep pace.  Paper Source needed a new point of sale system to seamlessly handle all its in-store, wholesale, catalog, and online business. The existing system was antiquated and the team was challenged regularly to keep all systems available.  Orders couldn’t be processed until later in the day. With plans to continue opening 15 stores a year, Paper Source couldn’t continue to rely on the outmoded system. Through the process of investigating POS solutions, Paper Source realized it needed much more than that – it needed software that could help it recognize and understand customers along all touch points and give them a seamless, omnichannel experience.

This search for new point-of-sale software was the catalyst for a complete omnichannel transformation for a growing retail company. Through the process of investigating POS solutions, Paper Source realized it needed much more than that – it needed software that could help it recognize and understand customers along all touch points and give them a seamless, omnichannel experience.

It had been quite a while since the company had made a major technology purchase, so executives weren’t quite sure where to turn and weren’t sure how to engage in a process of vendor selection. What the company didn’t know was that through attempting to solve the POS problem, it would uncover a solution to help transform its business.

Finding the Right Partner in Transformation

Having already started the process but finding that they still weren’t confident in their strategy, Paper Source engaged retail consultancy Sophelle after receiving a referral from another large retail company to help it find the perfect POS solution.  After meeting with Paper Source executives, it became very clear that the company needed more than just a new POS system. Latency and lost data were ongoing problems, along with order processing errors and cost overruns.  And, the company had goals of rapid growth for the future.  The sales channels could talk to each other and it became clear that the company needed a single, holistic view of the customer.

The Journey to Omnichannel

What began as a technology initiative soon became an omnichannel metamorphosis. All the business’ systems needed a full transformation to achieve a seamless experience for the customer. Rather than just a new POS solution, Paper Source needed a full enterprise retail-planning suite to achieve true 360 view of the brand and customer. To achieve its plans for growth, Paper Source required software that provided a CRM, a sales audit, loyalty program, BI analytics, merchandising, planning, and product forecasting. The new system also had to be out-of-the-box and not require any customization. The over-arching goal for Paper Source was to provide a smooth, seamless experience for every customer, no matter the sales channel he or she was using.

The Process

Sophelle put some much-needed structure around the search for a solution and provided Paper Source with a comprehensive RFP. They also encouraged Paper Source to have representatives from all parts of the organization involved in selecting the right software suite. Representatives from store operations, digital, merchandise planning and resource allocation, and analytics were involved in the process to transform the company into a true omnichannel enterprise. Their input was invaluable in creating a robust, fully considered list of specifications required of the new system. By identifying the right criteria for Paper Source, Sophelle was able to take a very long list of software providers and whittle it down to just four. The process moved very fast, and within a matter of weeks, Paper Source had chosen Aptos as a solutions provider that would meet its needs today and many years into the future.

The process of fully integrating the Aptos modules is still ongoing, but Paper Source has already implemented POS to great success. The implementation of the POS system occurred in just five and a half months, well in advance of the 2016 holiday shopping season. The company was also able to install the core merchandising system, sales audit system, and business intelligence analytics at rapid speed.

Once the CRM implementation is complete, Paper Source will be able to undertake true data mining to understand its customers and their spending habits. The system will also help Paper Source plan better and forecast their sales based on historical data. Once implemented, all of the components of this full enterprise retail-planning suite will help Paper Source coordinate operations, integrate its systems, and share data throughout its universe, projecting one singular, cohesive brand to the customer, not a series of independent silos; moving Paper Source through a complete omnichannel transformation.

Sophelle, an experienced provider of management and technology consulting services to the retail industry, helps both emerging and Fortune 500 clients achieve their business and technology objectives by delivering sound, flexible strategies, and reliable, efficient solutions. Committed to client success and satisfaction, Sophelle generates measurable value in the areas of IT strategy, selection, implementation, and support. Sophelle’s No Surprises approach delivers solutions on time and on budget. For more information visit www.sophelle.com

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