How Massey's Thrives in an Omnichannel World

Retail is an ever-evolving industry. Every business decision is made in light of a company's greater ecosystem of customers and suppliers, communities, governments, and even the natural environment in which the stores are embedded. Product offerings, engagement strategies, business models, fulfillment options, – all continue to change and improve and respond to the needs of the communities which the company serves. 

How data convergence in Retail Pro enables Massey's Outfitters' omnichannel strategy
Advancements in retail technology have given retailers opportunity to sell more with virtual stores, and outdoors apparel and equipment company Massey's Professional Outfitters has had the hybrid brick and mortar + e-commerce approach to retail for many years. To accomplish this, the company integrated Unite U e-commerce to its Retail Pro retail management software, which allowed for data convergence all in one platform. With Retail Pro, Massey is able to see data for every channel in the one place, a foundational prerequisite for omnichannel.

To the backend structures for omnichannel data visibility Massey's added omnichannel fulfillment with a vendor dropship application from Retail Backbone. Because its inventory is shared across channels, there are occasions when the physical item that's purchased online is simultaneously sold in store while the order was still being processed. The dropship integration has automated the process such that when the software acknowledges that the absence of the inventory upon order completion, it will send the order directly to the vendor for fulfillment, eliminating stock outs.

Gerry Fullington, general manager for Massey's stores, says that this connected, total view across its physical and digital channels allows the company to keep lower inventory, rebalancing inventory between stores and sending direct from the vendor via dropship, rather than pulling from the warehouse. Warehouse-based replenishment for web sales accounts for only 25 percent to 50 percent, resulting in significant efficiency gains.

With such error-proof workflows in place, Massey's internet sales across multiple sites were booming. At the time, increasing sales was more important to its strategy than growing the margin, and e-commerce was a convenient way to reach a larger audience. "If you price it right for the internet, you will without a doubt find someone in the world who'll want to buy it," Fullington says. And so, even though margin growth was minimal, the company focused heavily on driving e-commerce sales, until an uncontrollable upstream adjustment forced them to rethink its strategy.

Massey's Outfitters' place in the greater Louisiana community
The company had strong relationships with their upstream vendors, but when suppliers put industry-wide restrictions on selling discounted goods, the minimal margin growth meant that the ROI for e-commerce was no longer there. So Massey's Outfitters made the choice to shift their focus back to their brick and mortar stores. E-commerce sales with Unite U still continued as the brand's critical global arm, but the change in strategic direction proved to be a favorable move.

Over the next few years, the retailer enlarged one store, opened a new location at a Louisiana State University campus, and moved a third store to a better location with higher traffic – literally. One of its retail locations is about 50 feet from a popular bike trail.

The complexity of restructuring its strategy and growing physical operations was mitigated by the ease with which Retail Pro is configurable to scale with the company. Massey's Outfitters' authorized Retail Pro Business Partner, Retail Technology Centers (R-Tech), provided its expertise and implemented the Retail Pro software at each new store. "Working with Massey's – one of our first clients – and watching them grow from a single brick and mortar store to their current thriving multi-store, omnichannel business over the past 20 years has been a joy and our privilege," says R-Tech owner, Gary Waters.

The search for a new location was not a simple decision but one that had to be made in light of the reality of the company's greater environment – socially, economically, and physically. Louisiana was still licking its wounds from uthe tter decimation that Hurricane Katrina wreaked in 2005, which caused damages of around $108 billion in 2005, according to Time magazine. Nonetheless, Massey's owners decided to move its offices to one of the state's depressed areas, and helped it come back stronger.

Massey's investment into the community has proved effective, and as the economy continues to recover, the local area is bustling with great energy and enthusiasm for rebuilding and developing. Because of its deep community ties, Massey's has become a trusted and welcome face in the Louisiana retail scene.

How Massey's Outfitters evolved their operations to better serve customers
Studies suggest that most local businesses are more likely to direct e-commerce efforts at distant markets and the almost infinite audience online, instead of improving customer service on the home front. Massey's Outfitters' shift back to brick and mortar has made the company an exception to the typical retail case, and its local customers are enjoying the change.

Massey's structures its organization to be lean at the top, hiring many more sales associates than upper management personnel, so it can focus on the interaction that happens on the sales floor. Executives regularly check in with staff to see what customers might be asking for that they don't currently carry. The retailer's aim is to better serve the customers who regularly patronize stores, and much of Massey's strategic product decisions have been driven by this goal.

In addition, Massey's is building stronger relationships with its customer base by emphasizing customer engagement. The retailer puts on events in partnership with its vendors, doing Demo Days for kayaks and hosting movie nights screening documentaries from Teton Gravity Research, an action sports media company. The retailer holds locally-driven seminars on topics including how to rig your boat for kayak fishing, a sport which attracts a broader audience, since it's not just for the affluent.

Massey's recognizes the important of addressing shopper's requests and interests. "We're confident in our ability to respond to our customers' needs with Retail Pro, to give them what they really want," Fullington adds. Whereas in Massey's e-commerce-heavy strategy, the company saw much sales growth will little change in the margin, focusing on the physical locations has increased margins and the company is earning more profit.

What's more, the company continues to adapt its tools and operations to better serve customers' needs and interests. In the past 18 months, the retailer has integrated the new Cayan Genius payment processor to the Retail Pro POS, achieving additional customer security gains and decreasing retailer liability.

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