February 2008 - Stocked Up

Omniture outfits ReStockIt.com with online business optimization software that helps keep this supply company on top of its growing business. Thoughtful and efficient customer service is key to this successful partnership.

By David Lustig

No matter what business you’re in, whether it be as a handyman fixing garage doors or a service on the Internet that relies on its website to drive business, having the proper tools and knowing how to use them is critical for long-term success.

ReStockIt.com is a premier provider of restaurant, janitorial and office supplies and equipment. Run by co-founders David Redlich and Matt Kuttler, the four-year-old company, in Redlich’s words, caters to large households and small businesses.

The Hollywood, Fla.-based firm lets you purchase the necessary supplies with a click of a mouse rather than schlepping to the nearest store. ReStockIt.com keeps you and your employees working on the essentials rather than wondering which mop to purchase.

While today it may seem like a no-brainer, it took Kuttler and his partner about a year of writing business plans to create the idea that would eventually roll out as ReStockIt.com. Once someone places an online order for any of the 70,000 available products, the electronic ball begins rolling to strategically placed warehouses throughout the country to drop-ship the materials to wherever the customer needs them sent.

ReStockIt.com was impressed by the flexibility and reliability of Omniture’s analytics systems.

Shortly after starting up the business, Redlich decided the company needed to consult with a software firm that could provide web analytics solutions for Internet sites such as his.

“We wanted to have something that was scalable,” explains Redlich, adding that he believed having that ability was very important if the site was going to run efficiently and give them the information they required.
“We went to a lot of shows,” he says, “and looked and listened to a lot of companies.” He was very impressed with Omniture, remembering that its presentation was “very robust.”

“We wanted a tracking tool we could not only use, but rely on,” Redlich notes. At one show, Redlich says Salt Lake City, Utah-based Omniture was having an event where the winner would win an automobile. While he didn’t win the vehicle, Omniture definitely began winning him over.

“Two companies I give major kudos to are Google and Omniture,” he explains. “They’re leaders, constantly looking to make improvements and looking to their customers for feedback.

“Our business is very much tracking. It’s metrics. We want to know what’s working and why. Without Omniture, it would almost be like owning a hospital staffed with brilliant doctors, but not having the equipment to tell them what needs to be done.”

Redlich also notes that attentive customer service is very important when partnering with a vendor, especially when you know that if something is going wrong, you’re alerted right away.

“When everything is going great, it’s easy for a company to succeed,” he says. “I like problems because if you can identify them quickly enough through something like Omniture, you can fix it and get the market share now, where with other companies it may take weeks.”

“As an online retailer, it’s important to have the correct items and position them strategically on-site,” says Omniture senior consultant Josh Dahmer, who believed his company and ReStockIt.com were a good fit.

What Omniture brought to the table was online business optimization software, which is delivered to customers through hosted, on-demand services, offering an easier and more flexible way to manage online, multichannel and offline business initiatives without costly investments in IT infrastructure.

With the company’s analytics solution, large volumes of data generated by websites and other business systems can be captured, stored and analyzed to measure trends and customer behavior in real time, provide real-time analysis and reporting for all levels of business users, automate new online processes and optimize overall business performance. In a crowded Internet arena where business sites compete fiercely with one another, obtaining information such as this as quickly as possible, and being able to decipher it and use it to your advantage, is crucial.

“Omniture gives us the information on what is working and what is not,” says Redlich, adding that he was impressed with the company’s tools and its pricing. “It’s all about tracking and understanding your business.

“We had the site up and running before we brought Omniture in,” he says, adding that the reason for going with them was he wanted the true leader in his industry.

Notes Dahmer: “Anyone who has some sort of online presence can have it improved upon to be even more productive. There are a lot of resources someone can pick up online before picking up a telephone and taking up someone’s time.

“Most companies that have Omniture as a client already have their site up,” he says, explaining that often, a company like his can be incorporated into the online process during a redesign or upgrading.

Dahmer says that there are a lot of free tools available to provide basic, simplistic metrics, but they’re only of limited use.

When a company such as ReStockIt.com interfaces with his company, Dahmer explains that a carefully designed process begins, usually by finding the right person in the sales group to interface with.

“They would want to listen to what your online needs are and see what can be done to meet them,” Dahmer says. “At that point, Omniture’s staff comes up with a customized solution in terms of the products and features that we have.”

The next part of the process, explains Dahmer, is to have a sales engineer join in, with an emphasis on the more technical side-someone who understands the customer’s platform and the system currently being used to see how it would integrate. From there, it’s on to the consulting group, which takes on an intensive question-and-answer role with the business. Based on all the information that can be gathered, Omniture then puts together a custom solution.

“I lead the retail team,” Dahmer says. “We have a series of fundamentals that the retailer needs to start tracking whether he knows it or not. You need to have these things in place and we make those recommendations right up front. We’ve been around the block with retailers and we know what they want to measure.

“Every online presence has its own unique tools, features and/or objectives, so there may be additional things that we will ferret out during the interview process, explaining that ‘You could better optimize that tool or feature or better measure what is going on if we could do these two to three things during the implementation.’ That is the customization part that we refer to-distinct things that make our business different from everyone else’s.”
Redlich agrees that his team had to sit down with the Omniture people and go back and forth on various subjects, including price.

“They were very reasonable,” he adds.

“I’m not asking them to build me something,” Redlich says. “That’s the benefit of why we went with them. I have business requirements. I tell them what I want, what pages are getting the most hits and most importantly, where I am spending the most money. With Omniture, they have designed best practices based on what every customer has wanted over the years. Just by signing up with them, I’m getting what I want.”

“We first speak to the business folks,” says Omniture’s Dahmer. “They are the ones who are going to get value out of the tools. We want to make sure all of their requirements are met. They are the ones who feed you the information about how the business runs. At that point, once we’ve identified the solution, we go to their IT group and deploy the solution.”

Yet Dahmer will be the first to admit that everything does not always go down smoothly, adding that this is why every client has a designed implementation consultant who works with them and their issues until deployment.
“We have a distinct methodology that we follow that we’re constantly trying to improve,” he says. “There are different combinations of technologies that the company is deploying and there might be something on their backend, the operations of which we don’t quite understand.” Says Redlich: “One of the challenges is getting tracking set up correctly. We had to go back and forth a little to make sure it was right.

“I want to know every move my customer makes. I want to know where they came from, I want to know where they clicked on my site, I want to know what my top-selling categories are so I can change my navigation bar based upon what is working and what is not.” He adds that the analytics solution has helped him determine what to change on his site and when to make the change.

“Omniture tries to stay ahead of the game. They let us keep our eye on the ball,” he says. “We went to professionals for the results we wanted. And we got them.”

David Lustig is a contributing writer to Electronic Retailer magazine.


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment