Interview with Michael Berry
CTO of Wholesale Boutique
Currently the Chief Technology Officer with Wholesale Boutique/Viv&Lou, Michael joined the company as a business development and technology consultant in 2009 when it was a startup. In addition to overseeing all aspects of their technology stack, Michael also serves on the management team in a business development and strategy role. His career in technology started in 1999 with Sybase, Inc., as a Regional Account Manager.
“AlfaPeople proposed a solution using the mPOS to provide a Mobile platform that could be run on Windows 8 tablets, thus giving Wholesale Boutique the ability to, in real-time, create sales orders in AX from the Wholesale orders being placed at the trade shows.”
What was Wholesale Boutique’s challenge, pain point, problem?
We needed a way to take wholesale orders in a quick and easy fashion at trade shows during the year. Our previous solution was not integrated with AX and took a great deal of time and effort to be able to process the orders after the trade shows.
Why was Wholesale Boutique looking for a better way to do things and what did they hope to achieve?
We wanted to move to a more real-time creation of the Orders from the Trade shows. AlfaPeople proposed to use the mPOS (Mobile Point of Sale) from the Retail Module, thus giving us a mobile platform to be able to create Sales Orders based on Customer Wholesale orders at the show.
Why did Wholesale Boutique choose AlfaPeople?
We chose AlfaPeople based on reputation in the Retail world of AX. Specifically, Brent Fudala’s (AlfaPeople’s Director of Retail Solutions) background and accomplishments in the Retail AX world.
How did AlfaPeople solve Wholesale Boutique’s problem?
AlfaPeople proposed a solution using the mPOS to provide a Mobile platform that could be run on Windows 8 tablets, thus giving us the ability to, in real-time, create sales orders in AX from the Wholesale orders being placed at the trade shows.
In what period of time?
The initial project was an 80-hour proof of concept, which was completed on time and under budget. The solution has been enhanced and upgraded over the last 2 seasons and is in full use at every trade show Wholesale Boutique now does. We are up to 5 mobile mPOS stations that take hundreds to thousands of orders during the trade shows.
Why was AlfaPeople’s approach the best one?
AlfaPeople’s approach was the best one because they used the standard out of the box functionality of Retail mPOS and the functionality to add customers to a transaction and create a customer specific order. Only minor customizations have been done to receipts and email communications related to the orders.
Great statistics of performance before AlfaPeople came on the scene and after.
1. We cut down the time required to prepare POS for Markets from 2 days down to about 6 hours. Our previous POS solution was a third-party application that was not connected to our accounts receivable records (customers) or our products and inventory. This disconnected platform required a manual batch update before each Market of all customer records, in addition to the product and price records from the inventory system.
2. We improved visibility into the sales revenues and products sold during a Market to near real time, versus the prior timeframe of 1-2 days after the Market had ended. Our previous POS application required a manual batch download after each Market, which generally occurred 1-2 days after the Market event was over. This data then had to be converted into a format that would allow AlfaPeople to import it into their ecommerce environment. This entire process consumed 2-3 days after every market.
3. We dramatically enhanced our ability to manage orders with items that have different ship dates, since Retail allows us to take one order from the customer, then leverage the Pick List Registration and Packing Slip functionality of AX. The previous POS application required us to split the order if a customer ordered items with different ship dates, and import them into the ecommerce environment separately.
How did Wholesale Boutique save money, save time, and/or improve efficiency with the solution?
Retail has improved our pre-and post-market prep time by 18 hours. There has also been a significant improvement in the overall effectiveness of our customer service (CS) and sales people during the management and processing of the orders. CS and Sales did not have access into the third-party POS application, and could not make changes to an order once it was placed. With Retail, all CS and Sales people have visibility into the Market order, in addition to being able to manage and change the orders if the customer requests it.
What did this mean to Wholesale Boutique’s bottom line, morale or visibility?
The retail module has turned what was a highly manual, time consuming, error prone process into a low maintenance sales opportunity which gives us much more time to spend on the customer and customer experience while they are in the Showroom!